A FORMER nurse set up her own care company when she spotted a gap in the market.
From humble beginnings working from her own home, Clare Drewell now oversees 40 carers, currently looking after 60 clients.
Mrs Drewell, from Ealing Common, set up Care Concern (Homecare) in the borough 17 years ago and has since expanded into Chiswick.
Explaining the secret of her success, she said: "It's listening to people, listening to what the carers have to say. They're the ones at the forefront and making the carers feel valued. It's hard work and they all give more than they're booked in for because they care about the people they look after."
The result, she says, is her carers are loyal to the company. Some have worked for it for more than 10 years.
Mrs Drewell, who is in her 50s, set up the business following a 20-year career in the NHS, which saw her train as a paediatric nurse at Hammersmith Hospital, and later work as a district nurse based at Acton Health Centre.
She added: "I never knew what I wanted to do. Then I went to visit my cousin in Birmingham. She was a district nurse and I thought I'd like to do that too. I loved it from day one."
The mother of two, who has a 29-year-old son and 24-year-old daughter, was introduced to home care work when she took on a second job.
She said: "I was working as a health visitor and took another job as an on-call manager for a large care company.
"When they closed the Ealing branch and made me redundant I saw an opportunity. I wanted a change and a new challenge."
Mrs Drewell has seen a lot of
change through the years. People are living longer and the average age of clients is now about 90.
She said: "Now carers are doing similar work I did as a nurse in working in a hospital. People don't stay so long in hospital and are sent to recover at home."
But there are also more unwelcome changes,
"With people living longer, dementia is more common so our staff have to be very highly trained," she added.
"And my manager and I have to deal with a lot more red tape.."
Despite all the work in the office, Mrs Drewell still finds time to meet clients personally.
She said: "I do the assessments and so meet them from the very beginning. I think that's important as they stay with us for the rest of their lives."