At Florence we love meeting people who use our products to chat about how they’ve helped them. This time we sat down with Darren, a care home manager from Glasgow about his experience using Florence Flex. Here’s what he had to say:
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Darren Kelly, I’m the Care Home Manager at Oakbridge Care Home in Glasgow.
How long have you been working in care?
I started as a carer in a care home in Barrhead in 1990. I then went to work in a hospital in Paisley for two years as a nursing auxiliary.
In 1993 I did my nurse training and after I qualified I left the profession for a few years. Then in 1999 I came back to it and I've been working in care homes under one guise or another since then.
Tell us about your day-to-day working life
It’s rich and varied, and it’s drastically different to what it was a few years ago in relation to covid. It’s really about managing all aspects of the care home: from a care perspective, from a quality perspective, and from a business perspective as well.
It’s all encompassing, never boring!
It’s always very interesting, always very engaging, always something needing to be done. The last two years have been particularly difficult at times.
We've had to think on our feet an awful lot but in terms of supporting staff and supporting residents - in a strange way it’s been quite a rewarding time as well.
It’s the best job in the world, and it can be the most difficult as well.
What's the best thing about working in care?
The best thing about working in care is the people, without a shadow of a doubt.
The team we have are absolutely dedicated to what they do, the residents who have lived a life that many of us can only imagine!
The sharing of wisdom that they have on a daily basis, if I don’t have an opportunity to speak to a resident I consider my day wasted.
What’s the worst thing about working in care?
I don’t know. I think often people’s perspective of what we do is not always positive, I don’t think the nurses and care staff are particularly valued by society unfortunately.
Being on call 24/7 can be a bit grating at times and trying to get cover quickly can be difficult, especially when people are isolating.
What Florence product do you use?
We use Florence Flex.
When we’re on call at the weekend we have to cover five homes so I speak to the Florence team quite frequently.
What sold you on using Flex?
That’s a difficult one to answer.
One thing is, the people I speak to are brilliant. Whenever you need support, there’s always someone on the end of the phone and there’s a real personal touch. I’ll give you an example, one of your competitors takes a different approach, when someone cancels a shift it’s like “oh well they’ve cancelled it, you’ll need to deal with that”.
You never get that with Florence to be honest, it’s always about “how can we help?”. The personal touch from the team is amazing.
They’ll happily be texting me at 8 or 9 o’clock at night because they’ve got somebody to cover a shift, it really makes a difference.
How has using Florence Flex changed your work?
It’s led to us having much less staff shortages.
The amount of time we’ve had staff drop out at the last minute and Florence is always able to cover those shifts, any day or time.
We don’t have those times where we’re having to run short staffed.
I honestly can’t remember the last time we were short staffed!
What’s your favourite thing about using Florence Flex?
It’s really easy to use, and I’m not the most tech savvy person to be honest! It’s really simple to use.
For example, if you’re posting a last minute shift and it gets filled, a text goes to your phone and that’s hugely helpful. You know that your shift is covered and you can rest easy; especially when I'm on call at the weekend.
I can have up to five homes needing cover at once.
It’s freed up a lot of time, you’re not having to call on call staff which means you can focus on what matters, which is giving the best care.
What’s your biggest success story from using Flex?
I would go back to the fact that we’re not going short on staff, and the quality of the staff is really good as well.
We’ve managed to get some continuity going with staff. It’s nice for the residents to know who’s looking after them.
How would you describe using Florence Flex in one word?
Life-saving; particularly the weekends when you’re trying to get cover for care homes and people haven’t turned up for shifts and things.