Merryl Eagles, Head of Housekeeping at Gracewell of Ascot, discusses her journey with Gracewell Healthcare and what she has learned from her years of service.
I have been lucky enough to have had a very long and rewarding journey with Gracewell, one that has never been short of new, exciting challenges and fun. I have worked for the company for a total of seven years and started at Gracewell of Ascot in Berkshire in August 2018. Malcom Hague, the Director of Operations at Gracewell, employed me originally and has been a mentor ever since, offering invaluable advice and guidance over the years.
When I joined Gracewell, I became the first Head Housekeeper for the company in the UK. I worked hard to make the job my own and built up our high standards with my Manager. In recognition of these efforts and the progress I helped to influence, I was delighted to be given the Managing Director’s Award in 2017.
I love working with the entire team at Gracewell of Ascot and I feel lucky that I get a lot of support from the heads of department and my line manager, who I regularly update on everything that’s going on. I really appreciate being in a commissioning home and we have been able to build a warm and welcoming home from the ground up. Having a new and modern purpose-built environment with 80 beautifully-designed en-suite bedrooms, all in such a great condition, is an absolute delight. My team and I want to ensure it is kept at this standard for many years to come.
The most rewarding part of my role is when I get feedback from residents and their families about just how amazing the home looks. In fact, visitors always comment on how lovely the home smells and how well it is presented, something which I am incredibly proud of.
When it comes to the residents, I meet each new resident when they move in, as well as their families, and spend time with them to find out as much as I possibly can about their lives. Getting to know our residents and getting a smile out of them is always so rewarding – this is their home after all and I want to make sure that their rooms, as well as the communal spaces, all look their very best. I also like to get involved in activities across the community to ensure our residents stay active, happy and healthy. It’s important that we develop relationships with each of them so that they appreciate calling Gracewell of Ascot home.
My team and I are committed to ensuring that Gracewell of Ascot looks the best it can. We want to provide an immaculate space and plan every single day, week and month out ahead of time so that everything is kept on top of. I am incredibly lucky to have Renee and Tracy in my team, as both have a real passion for what they do. There is an incredible amount of attention to detail and we really do work so well together.
I was stationed at Gracewell of Ascot a couple of months prior to its grand opening in October 2018. Ahead of the official opening, my team and I made sure that the home was in perfect condition. Even though we had to get 80 bedrooms ready, there wasn’t a speck of dust left! I also enjoyed helping to decorate the community and get it ready for our guests on the day, who included the High Sherriff of Berkshire and our CEO Natalie Jane. The Ascot race day-themed party was a roaring success, and everybody had a wonderful time celebrating.
In terms of what I’ve learned about ensuring a new care home is best prepared for an opening, I’ve found that it’s all about teamwork and prioritising the whole home approach. Everyone really does have to muck in and work together, all to a strong plan, to make sure everything is ready to go ahead smoothly. Whilst this was my first commissioning home, my experience in established homes meant I knew what needed to be done in order to meet the expected standards. However, joining forces across the community can help to ensure that any team member, no matter their experience, feels ready to get to work and see out a plan’s success.
Once we opened our doors, it was such a delight to see the hard work of the entire team pay off. After our first residents moved in and started making use of everything the community had to offer, it began to really feel like such a warm and vibrant environment. We now can’t wait for even more individuals to make Gracewell of Ascot their home.