Expert by Experience, Gail Golding talks about her telephone interviews with people who use services, and their families.
Gail Goulding has worked as an Expert by Experience since 2013, working on inspections of mental health services, home care services and care homes.
“Working as an ExE has been important for me. It has allowed me to use the knowledge and experience I have about services that I, or my family have used. For example, when speaking to care home residents and their relatives it is more than just empathy. It is a real and shared understanding of their concerns and comments. It is a real desire to be part of an inspection that is going to make their lives better.”
During the pandemic, she has focused on carrying out telephone interviews with people who use services and their families.
Contacting people has sometimes been a challenge. Gail says she’s heard more answerphone messages in the past few months than in the rest of her life combined. Even so, she says: “Mostly, people are very willing to talk … they want to share their stories and are happy to be part of the inspection.”
Although working remotely, Gail says it is possible to discern good and bad care. “When you hear from both residents and their relatives that there are significant delays in answering the call bells, you start to see a pattern …”
Gail is clear that she prefers on-site inspections, recognising how important it is to read a person’s body language as much as listen to their words. However, she says that recently telephone interviews have tended to be longer, and more in-depth, than she’d previously experienced. Possibly this is a result of people staying at home and isolating due to COVID-19, and not seeing as many people as usual.