Esther Boers – ”Really listen to what a person wants. Their goals may be simpler than you thought”
About Esther Boers (cohort 1998, BA)
Having moved from hospitality to healthcare, Esther now carries the title Manager of Hospitality. Though she’s not keen on the word manager, she loves the word hospitality and carries it through in her work to make Topaz more proactive in the provision of specialised elderly care.
It’s the little things that make the difference
“The desire to make people happy was why I went to the hotel school. What I learnt was how to become a gentle leader, to leave ego aside and take responsibility. And I developed empathy. Empathy is essential, whether you work in hospitality or, as I do, in healthcare. It’s what makes your guest feel seen and welcome. It’s hostmanship.”
“Hostmanship has such a different value in the health industry for the elderly. We become the guest in their home, yet we’re acting as their host, so we need to make sure they have as much autonomy as possible. They choose what they want and when. After all, they’ve had their own rhythm for 80 years or more. We have to provide a really caring environment and are constantly having to adapt to the behaviour of the people we care for. In that respect, it’s just like the hotel industry dealing with lots of different guests and moods.”
Add value to care
“Medics are taught to think they have to make everyone better, but if we listen, really listen, to what our guests are saying, the goal could be different. It could be that they say they don’t want to be in pain. That they want to be able to walk up the stairs. The goal can actually become simpler and easier to attain. Right at the start, we make a mood board with them that covers everything from how they like to wake up to what food they like and dislike. It helps our work to be led by people rather than protocol, so that there is more value in the care we give. It means we move from being a care home to being a home.”