Christine, Head Housekeeper

“We help and support each other – which is something that I really enjoy about my role”

As Head Housekeeper, Christine’s work is crucial in managing her team of housekeepers to ensure that Rowcroft’s Inpatient Unit and other buildings and facilities are clean and that infection control procedures are in place to keep our patients, families, staff and volunteers safe.

“The Housekeeping Team keeps the environments and facilities clean and fit for purpose in three of Rowcroft’s buildings in Torquay: Rainbow House, the Outpatients Unit and the Inpatient Unit,” says Christine. “As Head Housekeeper I’m specifically in charge of infection control cleaning processes. We contribute an enormous amount to patient care. We have to keep the hospice clean in order to prevent infection, so we need to know about how infections are transferred.

“I’ve worked for Rowcroft for over 20 years, starting in July 2000. A lot has changed since then. When I first came here, Outpatients was just a big empty building to be refurbished. It used to be the Coach House and did smell of horses for quite a while. I worked in hospitality for a while, and then I worked as the Shop Manager in Rowcroft’s Torquay shop for two years, before coming back to the Inpatient Unit to work in housekeeping.

“The Housekeeping Team is quite a small team. We help and support each other – which is something that I really enjoy about my role. I feel privileged to work for such a well-respected, professional organisation, with such dedicated and committed staff. It’s reassuring that Rowroft isn’t afraid of change – we’re always looking for new and innovative ways to get better at what we do.

“The COVID pandemic has had a huge impact on us in the Housekeeping Team. Our workload has increased massively; we’ve had to be much more rigorous in our cleaning systems.  It’s been a steep learning curve; we’ve taken on board all the latest government advice on COVID and infection control, and we’ve adapted our processes in line with this.

“We have a lot of communication with patients and their families. Relatives often speak to us as we are cleaning the ward; they sometimes tell us things that they haven’t told the nurses, and we can pass this on to the clinical team and we are another pair of eyes on the ward. The longer you work here, the more you notice and look out for patients and their relatives.

“I enjoy the variety: I manage the Housekeeping Team within the three buildings; do admin; I cover staff on annual leave; and I also order and control stores for the Housekeeping and Nursing Team. I’m starting to do less on the wards after doing it for 20 years, which is making me enjoy the organisation/admin side more.

“I think the audits from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) are a big achievement for the Housekeeping Team, as we score very highly. The CQC inspectors come and say they are very pleased with the cleanliness of the hospice. Even relatives of our patients come and say how nice and clean it is. There’s a big misconception about housekeeping; there is a lot more to the role than just coming in and cleaning toilets. We work hard and it’s rewarding when we get positive feedback.”

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