The very first thing Roslynn asks relatives wishing to place their loved one in care is: ‘How can we help you?’
“This might sound like the most obvious question, but knowing why the family are here is crucial,” she says.
“Fear and guilt are emotions that every family caregiver will generally experience at some point during their journey. When you take on responsibility for another person, there is an enormous amount of pressure to consider all factors and make the best decisions regarding their health. Unfortunately, care decisions are rarely black and white.”
Before joining CareMalta two years ago, Roslynn, a social worker by profession, worked mainly with children and managed several projects in the education and social policy sectors. Now, she is fully devoted to working with the elderly.
The 40-year-old manager, who oozes personality and character, likes to use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as her point of reference. “First and foremost, we ensure that basic care is given to all our residents. But it does not stop here. I like to focus a lot on the residents’ journey, on developing meaningful relationships with other residents and staff, as well as on enhancing the relationship with their family,” she explains.
“Most family members are keen, often emotionally overwhelmed with the given unknown of the care experience and would want to maintain their relationship with their relative in a care home, while also acknowledging that their role and involvement may not be intense. I believe that families who feel secure in their relationships with staff are more likely to be involved in the home and can make a vital contribution to humanising and personalising residents’ lives. This is what makes Roseville so special.”
When relatives of a resident visit Roseville in Attard for the very first time, the home’s front office team is usually their first point of contact. The family is then referred to Roslynn or to John Sciberras, assistant manager.
“The family knows their loved one best, definitely more than we do,” says Roslynn. “So our relationship with them is extremely important and we try to build it right from the start. Moving their loved ones to a care home is a new experience that can be frightening, so relatives need to feel comfortable with us, with the environment and with the idea. This is a journey towards end of life and can be a painful exercise. However, the family is welcome to pop by at any time in order to visit or take out the resident, obviously depending on one’s medical situation at the moment. On the other hand, if their loved one is unhappy or cannot settle down, they are free to change their mind. Nothing is set in stone. We discuss, adapt and try to find workable solutions which ultimately would be of benefit to the resident.”
Roseville has a team of nurses and professional care workers working round the clock to offer residents the very best of care. Other teams from the housekeeping, kitchen and maintenance departments also offer their support services. The home also enjoys the services of visiting professionals, such as physiotherapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, podiatrists, geriatricians, psychiatrists and GPs. A number of beauticians, hairdressers and activity coordinators also visit the home daily to further enhance and stimulate the residents’ quality of life.
“Even though group activities at Roseville are currently limited due to COVID-19 restrictive measures, our active ageing coordinator goes out of her way to focus all her energy on one-on-one interaction with the residents. Helping a resident make a cup of tea, or simply having a chat, go a long way towards combating feelings of loneliness, especially during these difficult times. Those residents who have green fingers are also encouraged to take part in the upkeep of our beautiful garden, a haven of peace and tranquillity.”
Roseville does not feel like a workplace for Roslynn but a second home, and the residents are her “extended family”.
“I feel very strongly about caring. You must reach out to the residents whenever they need you. You need to be practical, hands-on, flexible and ready to go the extra mile to keep them happy. You need to adapt easily to the needs of the company and the home you manage to ultimately find the right balance. You need to be all-rounder and a good communicator with everyone from all walks of life. I am here to help and serve the residents. I owe it to them.”