30 Jun 2017

Care Home Management: An Interview With Tui Shirley

Care Home Management: An Interview With Tui Shirley
Tui Shirley - Director At The Oasis Care Home in Plymstock, Devon

Tui and Steve Shirley have been providing high-quality care from The Oasis care home for the best part of 20 years. They provide their residents with friendly and professional care in a homely setting. The team at The Oasis always aim to care for their residents as they themselves would wish to be treated, which is why their levels of care go above and beyond.

We caught up with Tui and found out all about what life is like running one of the South West's best care homes.

What is your background in?

Steve Shirley and I have been providing care services from The Oasis for over 15 years now. Prior to that, I had a long career with British Airways - including my dream job of representing the best of British as a 747 Air Stewardess but I was horrified by the level of waste generated in flight and joined the newly set up Environment Department where I set up inflight recycling systems…. That was ‘a biggie’, this naturally led to working in Catering Logistics and then Flight Despatch - managing over 80 heavy goods vehicles and a team of 223 delivering everything that goes onto every departure out of Heathrow. After a short break (to be with our son) I became Auction Accounts Manager for British Car Auctions which (at that time) was the largest privately owned company in Europe..., When I reflect on the diversity of my career, I cannot help but encourage others (especially youngsters) to just get out there, do it, give your best, learn and take that learning to the next stage.

The Oasis Care Home from Home

What is your job role & what does it involve?

As Director, our responsibilities are to be accountable for the company itself as a legal entity and all of the statutory responsibilities that entails…... too long for here, I think!  In care though, the responsibilities are 24/7. We are responsible for people, human beings who are to be protected and cared for, not just to meet legislation but to the standards that The Oasis care home sets as our ethos. Since we first became involved our ethos has always been ‘to care for others as we would wish to be cared for ourselves’. This sets the bar high - and we work relentlessly, striving for those standards. I get involved with serious issues, managing staff to maintain expectations, investigating complaints (not many thankfully) and following these through, supporting the Registered Manager with any issues - these days care homes (along with hospitals) are under constant scrutiny. Rightly so, as care homes (along with hospitals and other services) are entrusted to care for people who are in need of support, usually due to physical or mental frailty. I am heavily involved with how we modernise and develop systems, processes and events as well as the general presentation of the home.

What made you want to start/manage your own care home?

To be honest, I did not want to get involved at all, I was concerned about the obvious level of responsibility and having never worked in healthcare I didn’t think it was for me. Friends of ours were looking at care homes as she was a nurse, we ended up looking at homes that were on the market as well - I was so shocked by the (poor) standards we witnessed and I impulsively decided something had to be done about it. I knew we could make a difference and do it well (although it has been tougher than I anticipated) and here we are 15 years later…. We have a good reputation in the community, with Social Services, the Health Service and our Regulators the Care Quality Commission - but there is no scope for complacency at any time.

What do you find most rewarding about working in the care sector?

Gratitude from the people we care for and their families and friends, is definitely the best bit, followed very closely by working with an awesome team. We have a number of long serving staff and several who left and then came back. If everyone is committed to doing their job well, it makes for a dynamic team and an enjoyable working environment.

What would your best piece of advice be for anyone launching a care home?

Be prepared to really throw yourself into it - to be a part of it, working with the team to deliver the best for the people you provide services for. You have to genuinely care - about every aspect of what you are doing.

How long have you been using CLH’s products for?

With the exception of a gap for a couple of years, we have used CLH for the 15 years we have been operating. We came back to CLH, Don promised us best value and we wanted to use a local organisation that we could trust. We really do trust CLH on best pricing and reliability and to sort out any issues (although there have not been any issues). Don has been ‘a rock’ throughout - phone him and he gives you the answers, finds the products and offers his best price. I’m still learning (and even kicking myself) for example, just in the last few months we have had a really frustrating situation via VAX and Amazon - and then I learnt that CLH sell carpet cleaners - I wish we had just ordered from CLH in the first place. Now, when we need anything at all, I ask myself - can CLH provide this? If so, I am happy to send all of our procurement to CLH.

Chairs From CLH Supplied To Oasis Care

Why do you like CLH’s products and service?

Consistency in quality and pricing of products and as for the service - well that’s a ‘no brainer’ - it is because a human being answers the phone and you can speak to someone who knows you and cares!  

Take a look at our extensive range - browse through now by clicking the following button

Browse Products

© 2021 CLH Healthcare - All Rights Reserved CLH Group Ltd - Company No. 10026607