Doug Staff Spotlight

Meet the Team: An Interview with Doug Mutenha, Director & CEO

At Hibiscus Care Services, we are driven by a shared passion for delivering outstanding care and support to individuals with complex care and support needs. Our commitment to positively impacting people’s lives is exemplified by our co-founder, Doug. His journey and dedication have played a pivotal role in shaping the vision and values of Hibiscus Care Services. I had a chance to sit down with him, and here is his story.

Can you provide a brief overview of Hibiscus Care Services and its mission?

We are currently a small organisation that provides supported living services to individuals with complex care and support needs, such as learning disabilities, autism, mental health impairments, and behaviours that challenge. Our mission is to enable these individuals to live independently within their own homes while going beyond the basics of care. We strive to improve their well-being and enhance their overall quality of life.

What inspired you to establish Hibiscus Care Services, and what were your motivations behind it?

My inspiration for establishing Hibiscus Care Services stems from my five years of experience as a support worker and team manager, primarily collaborating with individuals who have profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD). During that time, I developed a strong passion for making a difference in their lives. I pursued an academic journey, acquiring multiple degrees in nursing, social work, public health, and program management.

Throughout my 16-year career in various public service organisations, I worked in different settings and gained diverse skills and experiences. However, I felt a powerful desire to bring together all my qualifications and experiences into one job. I partnered with Ronnie, who shared the same vision and professional values, to establish Hibiscus Care Services. We wanted to create a supported living service organisation where we could utilise our collective skills, knowledge, and experiences to truly make a positive impact.

What influenced your passion for providing care and support to others?

My passion for providing care and support to others was deeply influenced by my personal journey. As a young caregiver, I looked after my single mother, who lived with a long-term condition. This experience instilled in me a strong desire to work in health and social care, with the goal of making a difference in people’s lives. It is a deeply rewarding field where I find meaning in every workday.

What core values or principles drive the work of Hibiscus Care Services?

At Hibiscus Care Services, one of our core values is ‘Offer Compassion’. We believe in taking an imaginative perspective and treating others as we would want ourselves or our loved ones to be treated. This means considering how we would rate the care we provide if we were in their position. Our values guide our behaviour, shape our organisational culture, and ensure consistency across our team. They help us navigate challenges and celebrate achievements.

What sets Hibiscus Care Services apart from other support providers in the industry?

What sets us apart is our holistic approach to care. We go beyond the basics of care and focus on improving individual well-being and enhancing their overall quality of life. We are driven by bravery, passion, determination, commitment, innovation, and strong work ethics. While other providers may focus on price, we aim to compete in terms of quality. We strive to deliver personalised services that are tailored to each person’s unique needs and preferences.

How do you ensure that each person’s support plan is tailored to their individual needs and preferences?

We passionately believe that the individuals we support, along with their families, are the experts in their own lives. To provide personalised services, we take the time to understand their individual experiences, cultural backgrounds, beliefs, traditions, habits, and preferred ways of being supported. We actively involve them in every decision concerning their care. By empowering them to shape their own lives, we can truly tailor their support plans to meet their specific needs and preferences.

Can you share some success stories or examples of the positive impact you have been a part of?

Absolutely. Let me provide a few examples. While working as a children’s social worker, I successfully organised funding for significant house adaptations that included installing an elevator/lift within the house. This improved accessibility for a child with complex mobility issues, making a tremendous difference in their daily life.

In another instance, while working as an adult social worker, I collaborated with an occupational therapist to secure funding for extensive house adaptations, including a downstairs wet room. This adaptation was specifically tailored to meet the needs of a young adult with a complex bowel condition, enhancing their quality of life and independence.

Are there any specific instances where you have witnessed significant personal growth or transformative experiences among the individuals you work with?

I recall a particular case where I worked as a support worker with an individual who had profound learning disabilities. This person had struggled to put on clothes and leave their house for years. Through dedicated support and building a strong rapport, we were able to help them develop their confidence. Eventually, they started keeping their clothes on for longer periods and began venturing out into public gatherings, even enjoying meals at cafes. Witnessing their personal growth and increased participation in community life was truly transformative.

What are some of the key challenges you have encountered in the care sector?

One of the most significant challenges I have encountered is working with individuals who have experienced abuse but lack the ability to communicate verbally. As a practitioner, it becomes a puzzle to piece together fragments of information and establish as close as possible what happened. These cases are complex, requiring a sensitive approach and a commitment to seeking the truth while ensuring the well-being and safety of the individuals involved.

How do you navigate the ever-changing landscape of regulations and policies to ensure the highest quality of care?

Staying up to date with regulations and policies is crucial to providing the highest quality of care. To navigate this landscape, we prioritise continuous professional development. This involves attending relevant seminars, participating in networking forums, and staying informed about industry guidelines. By keeping our knowledge and skills up to date, we ensure that Hibiscus Care Services remains compliant and capable of delivering the best possible care and support.

What are your aspirations and goals for the future of Hibiscus Care Services?

Our primary aspiration is for Hibiscus Care Services to be recognised as a market leader in terms of providing high-quality, individualised care and support services. We want to expand our impact and establish a group of companies under the HCS umbrella. This will allow us to open branches nationwide and diversify into different sectors, such as children’s homes, and day centres enabling us to reach and support a wider range of individuals.

What advice would you give to individuals considering a career in health and social care?

My advice would be never to make assumptions when working with people. If you are in doubt, always ask questions. There is no such thing as a silly question in this field. It is essential to gather accurate information to ensure the best possible care and support.

Based on your experiences, what are some important lessons you have learned about providing care and support?

From my experiences, I have learned that documentation and report writing must be spot on. Attention to detail is crucial, and understanding policies and procedures is essential. By maintaining meticulous records and adhering to guidelines, we ensure the highest standards of care and support.

Is there any message or insight you would like to share about the importance of care services?

Care services provide a fulfilling and rewarding career. Each workday offers an opportunity to find meaning in what we do, and we encounter opportunities that stretch our abilities. The work we do has a significant impact on the lives of those we support, and it is a privilege to be part of their journey toward a better quality of life.

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