‘We want to ensure that each client’s dignity is respected’

Aurum Home Care founders Lucy-Anne and Lynda Febers Picture: SUPPLIED BY AURUM HOME CARE

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The founders of Aurum Home Care explain how important it is to keep to their values and provide gold-standard care

WHEN Lynda and Lucy-Anne Febers sat opposite me this time last year, they were full of excitement but also slightly apprehensive as they announced that, just days after the interview, they would be opening the doors to their new business, Aurum Home Care.

And while their pride in their new venture was evident, that excitement was also tinged with an element of sadness, as Lynda recounted a key part of the inspiration behind their entrepreneurial decision.

“My father was a huge source of inspiration to us both and he passed away just a few weeks before we launched Aurum,” she explained. “Just before he passed away, we were sitting with him and he said: ‘You girls have always worked for someone else. Why don’t you set up together and do it for yourselves?’”

Thus inspired, and drawing on their past experiences of working in other care agencies as well as being impressed by the level of care which Lynda’s father had received in Glasgow as he approached the end of his life, the mother and daughter duo started setting out the values which would underpin Aurum.

“The name represents the gold-standard care which we aim to deliver,” said Lynda. “It is important to us that people living at home get the best care and that their choices and wishes are respected. While we have to recognise and minimise any risks, we fully appreciate that a lot of people prefer to remain in their homes and maintain as much of their freedom and lifestyle as possible.

“Critically, we want to ensure that each client’s dignity and rights are respected at all times, something which you can only be achieved if you have the right team around you.”

Central to building that team, say the pair, has been the emphasis that they place on staff wellbeing.

“We have built the firm at a steady pace, making sure that we have the right staff to support both our clients and the team,” they explained. “Our objective when we launched Aurum was to deliver excellent care and also to focus on our staff to make sure that they had a good amount of downtime so that they could enjoy a work-life balance.”

That goal, say the women, is one which they feel they have achieved over the past 12 months.

“We ensure transparency throughout the organisation, and everyone gets two days off every week,” said Lynda. “This approach, coupled with the fact that Lucy-Anne and I go out on the road with them and are always available to talk to them if they are concerned about anything, means that we have built a team which is committed both to our clients and to one another.”

With such an approach having resulted, Lynda adds, in very low levels of staff turnover, she says clients and carers benefit from the consistency of care and relationships which they are able to develop.

“We have built the business gradually, choosing to maintain a relatively small client base, so that our carers really get to know each client and so that Lucy-Anne and I can also visit clients regularly,” she said. “Although I naturally spend a lot of time in the office, I make a point of seeing at least one or two clients every day, not only because I love that side of the job but also because it gives me a chance to talk to them and make sure that they are happy with the care they are receiving.”

In that respect, says Lynda, she has been “overwhelmed” by the positive feedback she has received.

Lucy-Anne Febers, of Aurum Home Care, supporting a client Picture: SUPPLIED BY AURUM HOME CARE

“All the comments centre around how fantastic the team is and what a brilliant job they do,” she said. “Our focus is on building trust and friendship with our clients, so that we can change their lives for the better, and all of our clients are full of praise for the staff who are making that all-important difference to their lives every day.”

And it is not just directly to Lynda and Lucy-Anne that clients have given their feedback, with the agency having recently received its first annual inspection from the Jersey Care Commission, which also gives them the opportunity to share their views with the inspectors. The process was also, said Lynda, a useful experience for Lucy-Anne.

“This was the first time that Lucy-Anne had been involved in an inspection, so it was good for her to sit in and be involved with speaking to the inspector, seeing the process and assisting with answering questions and explaining how we run the business day-to-day to ensure that we are following the standards correctly,” said Lynda.

Lucy-Anne Febers with a client Picture: SUPPLIED BY AURUM HOME CARE

With a focus on Islanders over the age of 60, Aurum also offers dementia care and end-of-life care.

“Sadly, everybody will be touched by dementia and cancer in some way and supporting people who are affected by either of these illnesses is very emotionally demanding,” Lynda added. “We therefore have trained specialists in this area and, in keeping with our dual focus on client and staff wellbeing, we have built up a team to ensure that we can operate a rota to maintain quality of care while protecting our staff members’ wellbeing.”

While admitting that the role of a carer can be “emotionally and mentally draining”, both Lynda and Lucy-Anne maintain that it is also “the best job in the world”.

“You do have a lot of fun and it is also very interesting, as you hear people’s life stories, which are fascinating,” they said. “However, it is also a job which can be immensely challenging and stressful. Some of our clients have recently lost family members and are very lonely. They can be happy one day and emotionally distressed the next. As a carer, you have to be able to adapt to every situation, recognising that every day will be different and that clients may require a different type of support from one day to the next.”

But while every day may be different, something which has not changed over the past year has been the women’s focus.

“It can be very easy to set up a business with an initial set of values and then lose sight of those values as the company grows,” they said. “People say how big is big and, in pursuit of growth or increased profitability, some of those values can fall by the wayside. For us, though, it’s a case of growing steadily and remembering why we went into this professional originally and why we founded Aurum. It’s not all about profit; it’s about looking after our clients and our staff. After all, it’s the clients and carers who make the job fun.”

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