Jemma Thompson has been working as the Operations Manager at Westall House for around 5 years now, having started as a Care Assistant from the age of 18, she has an amazing story to tell.
Can you tell me the story of how you came to work at Westall House?
“I started working at Westall House at the age of 18 as a Care Assistant every Sunday around my full-time job. I fell in love with it, so I moved over to work full-time at the house. I worked all over to begin with, as a Domestic Assistant, Care Assistant or in the kitchen washing up, whatever was needed really! Shortly after, I trained to become a Senior Care Assistant and at the age of 21 I became qualified.
“When I had my son, I changed my working pattern to night shifts so that I could work around my husband’s job and share childcare duties. I ended up having three children and when all three started primary school, I decided it was time that I went back to working day shifts. After a short time working day shifts, I was ecstatic to have been promoted to Head of Care – after which, I moved across to our Sheltered Housing and Care at Home service at Westall House.
“It was when the Care Home Manager retired that I decided to go for it and apply for the role, I had been covering the role for around 6 months anyway. I was over the moon to be offered the role of Operations Manager of Westall House! As the Operation Manager it was my job to oversee and manage the operations of all three services – Care Home, Sheltered Housing and Care at Home.
“We are now about to open our brand-new Dementia Care wing, created specifically for those with more complex care needs. So, three is about to turn into four!”
What is it like to work at Westall House?
“Every day is different – I’m a real team player and always ready to pitch in with anything that is needed. I could be in a finance meeting one moment and helping a resident with personal care the next. That’s the beauty of my job, you never know what to expect!
Westall House is my life. It’s my second home – my second family. The thing I love most about my job is spending time with the residents, they are incredible people, who have all lived remarkably interesting lives.”
Abbeyfield is the best family in the world to work with, rewarding, hard work but so worth it.
Tell me more about the Dementia Friendly unit opening soon?
"We decided to build the unit so that we could provide a safe, tailor made environment for residents living with dementia. The unit is small and friendly, and the rooms have been specifically designed to have a calming effect on residents. There will also be regular activities that are proven to help those living with Alzheimer's and dementia. Those working on the unit are also specially trained to take care of those living with with dementia.
"The unit is small and intimate, allowing personalised and highly attentive care for all residents. Some other features include quiet rooms, activity rooms and spa bathrooms. We will be opening soon, so keep an eye out for more updates!"
Do you have any more developmental plans for Westall?
"In 2021 we will be opening brand-new, fully accessible apartments that have been designed taking into account both the current and future needs of older people. There are 24 apartments available to buy or rent, all with secure entry, their own front door, a fully fitted kitchen with washer/dryer and a wet room – as well as an on-call system for added peace of mind.
"The apartments have been thoughtfully designed to support a vibrant community of like-minded older people who value their independence. We have just started phase two of the build, which involves knocking down our current sheltered housing facility.
"We can't wait to open up!"
Join the Westall House Facebook Group here to see regular updates from the house including Westall's famous year-round calendar of activities and events! If you'd like to register your interest in our new dementia friendly unit, get in touch with Westall House via email or phone; 01825 791157.