Dec 20

The importance of having a support network and connecting with other managers

Posted: 8 December 2020

Mark Topps is a registered manager at Eastern County Care Ltd.  Here he talks about how being a member of the Skills for Care Facebook group has allowed him to connect with other managers to share ideas and resources and help reduce the pressures and loneliness of being a care manager. 

Being a care manager, you have so many different jobs rolled into one and if you don’t have good support from your own directors, managers or deputies then it can be a very lonely place. 

Having that support network of people who are going through the same issues as yourself – including staff absence, managing COVID-19 and an outbreak, infection control – is so important as we’ve all got the same stresses and challenges.  By being able to reach out to somebody who can give you that golden nugget of key information can alleviate your anxiety. 

The Skills for Care Facebook group for social care managers has helped me massively.  I had a lot of local support network connections, but it has helped me to connect with other managers and now we follow up with one another, checking in regularly and helping to relieve the pressure.

There are so many different managers in the Facebook group that we can all help one another.  There was another manager who was going through a COVID-19 outbreak at the same time as my service, so it was great to be able to share ideas, the cleaning schedule and checking that we were abreast with everything.

Sharing COVID-19 resources

I noted from the Facebook group that other managers were keen to know what risk assessments and other resources they should have for care homes and domiciliary care.  I’ve been managing for 10 years and it is hard to find resources.

I had produced our own in-house COVID-19 risk assessments, but I was one of those managers at the beginning of the pandemic that was unsure if I had everything that was needed. 

I was conscious that there were a lot of managers who were struggling under pressure and had outbreaks in the first wave of COVID-19, and I thought it would be helpful to produce the documents we all needed and share them.

Having had an outbreak during this second phase, I’m very conscious how writing documents and policies takes so much time out of the service.  I also know what it’s like to be a manager unable to find a document that you need, your anxiety starts to build.  Even if the resources I was aiming to produce alleviated just one person’s worries, that would be enough.

Originally it was a team effort on the Facebook group of putting together a list of what we all felt was needed and should have. 

As I began this process, more and more managers from the Facebook group reached out to me and the list grew from an initial 5 resources up to about 40. I tried to include as many as possible as I recognised there was a need amongst managers for a wide range of different documents, although I amalgamated some together.

The resources are now available on the Facebook group and I’ve said to the other managers on the group to let me know if we need more.  Either they can produce them, or I can help to produce and share them on the platform.

The idea is for other managers to download and amend these documents to suit their service but as I update my own documents, my plan is to update the online resources further.  What I hope is that the resources provide other managers with a base of where to start and build on them.  Once you have got a base of resources like this, it is so much easier to build and expand to fit your own service.

By using and adapting the resources now available, other managers can focus on themselves, their staff wellbeing, and the people they support as opposed to being away in an office somewhere writing their own risk assessment templates and documentation.

Help other managers

I think the Facebook group can help managers to connect with one another and share resources.  It’s important when being part of these groups that managers do give back and if you see anybody else struggling and you have a policy or form that can help them, upload and share it with the group. 

I know from the Facebook group it is often the same people sharing documents so it would be good if we can encourage more of the group to share what they have. Together we can build a platform of support for one another.

It’s nice to know that there are other people out there that you may not have ever met face-to-face, but it can help you to connect.  If you are feeling isolated as a manager, please reach out.  There will be loads of other managers who will reach out to you and even if you connect to just one person, this will help you.  The Facebook group is a non-judgemental place and the support is there for you.


About the Social Care Managers Facebook Group

If you are a frontline manager and wish to join the group, please follow this link to find out more.  Skills for Care will need to verify new Facebook group users before you can connect with the other managers using this service, a process that usually takes 2-working days.

Once approved, you can raise questions and connect with other managers, share ideas and your own resources that you think could help others.

The resources that Mark Topps helped to coordinate can be accessed from the Facebook groups’ files section called ‘COVID Resources (Multiple Templates).’