One of Balhousie Care Group’s core philosophies is to allow residents to have a say in their care. So when Balhousie Monkbarns care home in Arbroath was recently conducting interviews for care staff, one of its residents sat in on the panel.

Maureen Swankie, 89, fired questions at one of the job candidates during a recruitment drive to fill care vacancies at the home.

The sprightly 89-year-old only moved to Balhousie Monkbarns is February, but is making her mark. Says Home Manager Sarah-Jane Patterson: “Maureen never stops. She’s involved in our bingo and pub quiz and loves socialising with the other residents. She loves to keep busy.”

When it came to interviewing job candidates, Maureen took it in her stride, says Sarah-Jane. “These are the people carers are looking after, so we thought it was only right for a resident to be in on the recruitment process.”

Here are some of the questions Maureen asked:

  • I shower daily. I do not like to bother staff, but I need staff support to keep me safe. Would you be prepared to help me even though I am mostly independent?
  • Are you prepared for all nature of people?
  • Do you get on well with the elderly?
  • Are you prepared for the bad bits and the distressing bits about the job?
  • Would you call on the more senior or experienced staff if you needed them?
  • Could you cope with a resident who became upset or distressed?
  • There are some demanding residents – how would you deal with that?

Says Sarah-Jane:  “Maureen gave some candid advice and told the candidate that this was not a job that anyone could do. She said ‘You can’t come into this job just because it’s a job – it’s a job that must come from the heart.”

Staff then consulted with Maureen about the candidate and jointly decided to offer the candidate the job.

Maureen Swankie with her interview questions.