Eleanor Demanuele Farrugia’s very first job with CareMalta, as a receptionist at Roseville, fitted her like a glove. She is a bubbly person and loves being in contact with people, so “this role was perfect”.
More roles with more responsibility followed, first as facility administrative assistant, then as facility coordinator. “This gave me the opportunity to learn a great deal about operational management and get to know better other team members and facilities,” says Eleanor, formerly assistant manager at Hand in Hand, the Group’s therapeutic arm which supports children with behavioural difficulties.
A decade years down the line, she is truly happy with what she has accomplished and ecstatic to form part of “a great team of people who understand each other and work well together for the common good of the company and our residents”.
“Even though this past year has been extremely difficult for both residents and staff, we went the extra mile to uphold our core values – placing the residents first, offering them quality care tailored to their individual needs and showing them our utmost respect,” Eleanor says.
Having always taken a keen interest in other areas of work, she has developed the right skills and attitude, thus excelling at being of service to others.
In her current role at Casa San Paolo, Eleanor is the manager’s right-hand person. Her duties include supervising staff, monitoring certain issues in the manager’s absence, identifying training needs in different areas and ensuring that all standard operational procedures are adhered to by the staff.
“I am also constantly in touch with the residents, and this is so rewarding! I listen to their needs, empathise and help out as much as possible. I also wholeheartedly believe in having a close relationship with the residents’ family. Now, particularly during the pandemic, I feel that we need to be present more than ever before.”
Despite returning to CareMalta only last year, Eleanor didn’t think twice about joining the team at Casa San Paolo in its final week of the company’s live-in initiative with residents. “This was a fantastic experience, one which I will never forget. The dedication of all those who took part, in one way or another, is what makes CareMalta so unique,” she says.
Eleanor also spent the first three weeks of the live in at Villa Messina, where she worked as a receptionist and where her husband was based. “Having been reassigned my old duties, I went back to basics and really enjoyed my time there, including sharing the workplace with my husband 24/7.”
Eleanor’s mantra is to listen to what residents have to say, “especially those who are shy or hesitant to speak out. This is the true meaning of care,” she says.
“When a family expresses their wish to place their loved ones in care, I call them, meet them, explain what we offer in detail, show them round the home and its amenities, introduce them to our team members and, if there’s an activity going on, I invite them to join, so they get a first-hand picture of daily residential life.
“It’s important for the family to know that their loved ones will not be on their own but will form part of a lively community of residents who still do what they enjoy – whether it’s going out, celebrating a special occasion with family, deciding to remain with us to engage in one of the many events organised, or being actively involved in the running of the home itself,” says Eleanor.
“Active ageing, a highlight in all our homes, is an avantgarde concept cleverly introduced by CareMalta 28 years ago – through the role of the Group’s first active ageing coordinator at Casa Arkati.”
Placing a relative in care is not an easy decision. “But once family members actually witness how other residents live and the care they receive, they feel reassured, knowing that their relative will be in safe hands.”
Playing a crucial role in ensuring that such a difficult transition runs as smoothly as possible gives Eleanor a great sense of satisfaction. “It is understandable that relatives feel a sense of guilt. However, in order to support and comfort them, it is important for them to understand that family forms an integral part of our homes’ daily life,” says Eleanor, who is also studying to obtain a Higher Diploma in Gerontology and Geriatrics from the University of Malta.
Eleanor says she is over the moon to have come so far in her working career. “I’m so glad I came back to CareMalta. I missed the contact with our residents… and their precious feedback. Once they let you into their hearts and confide in you, they become part of you and vice-versa. You yearn for their closeness, a sense of belonging. When I close my diary, leave Casa San Paolo and arrive home after a hard day’s work, as a person I feel complete.”