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‘Compassionate, committed, happy colleagues make our service good,’ says Louise Watson, Abbeymoor’s Registered Manager

“I’ve always been a people person,” says Louise Watson, who’s worked for Lifeways since 2018.

And it’s great Louise loves to support people: if she didn’t, Louise wouldn’t today be the Registered Manager for Lifeways’ Abbeymoor Neurological Centre, situated in Gateshead.

“I like to be in the company of others and found I had an aptitude for listening to others with an overwhelming feeling of empathy and a want to help,” says Louise, recalling her background.

Rewind a couple of decades, back to when Louise received bad news. Her step-father was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, a condition that stops parts of the brain working properly over time.

‘Spurred on’

Keen to understand more, Louise says she was ‘spurred on’ to study Mental Health Nursing.

In 2003, Louise graduated from Stirling University, up in the Scottish highlands. She then worked as a staff nurse in an acute hospital ward, working also in a mental health hospital, before relocating back to her hometown, Newcastle.

Back in Newcastle, Louise worked as a staff nurse in a nursing home for older adults who live with mental health conditions. She then worked her way up to be Deputy Manager in an adult mental health unit.

“This role was very challenging due to the complexities of the individuals in the service,” Louise recalls.

A new challenge

In 2014, Louise became a Registered Manager at a service which needed stabilising. After successfully stabilising the service, Louise craved a new challenge.

“I needed a new goal,” Louise remembered. “A goal that would not only invigorate my passion for providing a quality service but to also to make a positive difference in the lives of those individuals we support in services, including their loved ones, families and friends.”

Louise quickly got her wish. When she moved to Abbeymoor, a residential service for up to 40 adults who live with acquired brain injuries and neurological disabilities, change was needed.

When Louise joined the service, inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) had just rated Abbeymoor as ‘Inadequate.’ After months of hard work from Louise and her team, this rating was upgraded to ‘Requires Improvement.’

Then, in December 2019, on its next inspection, the CQC rated Abbeymoor as ‘Good,’ which stands today.

New heights

Under Louise’s leadership, Abbeymoor has reached new heights.

As well as its CQC rating, the service is currently a finalist in the 2021 Care Home Awards for transforming Abbeymoor’s conservatory into an innovative COVID-safe visitor pod.

Secret to success

So how did Louise transform Abbeymoor? As well as many practical measures, Louise strongly believes in making sure her support team are happy and satisfied at work.

“A happy support team who are confident and knowledgeable in their working roles are the crux of a good service,” she says.

Louise adds: “This helps provide a warm inviting atmosphere, conducive to a relaxing environment, that you want to be part of.”

About Abbeymoor:

Situated in Gateshead, about ten minutes’ drive from Newcastle, Abbeymoor supports 40 adults with acquired brain injuries and neurological disabilities.

The people we support at Abbeymoor benefit from the services of a physiotherapist who visits the service on a weekly basis. The physiotherapist works with individuals tailoring their programme to ensure they reach their maximum potential. The service also has a dedicated activities coordinator.

Abbeymoor is part of Lifeways, the UK’s largest team of professionals who support adults living in the community.

Across England, Scotland, and Wales, our 11,000 colleagues currently support almost 5,000 individuals who live in our 1,500 supported living and residential services.

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