Meet Abbotsford Care's Senior Management Team
Abbotsford has an experienced Senior Management team who support our skilled and dedicated staff working in our homes throughout Fife. Our senior team has a wide range of experience in a variety of contexts from Acute Medical and Hospital Governance, Local Commissioning to Care Inspections. Their collective knowledge and operational experience at Abbotsford enables us to reach our 5 strategic aims of the organisation:
1. Identify opportunities for development to ensure our Residents are given best quality of care.
2. Work with Staff to identify and innovative with exciting opportunities to demonstrate best practice.
3. Provide financial, operational and clinical experience to enabling the successfulness of each home.
4. To facilitate sharing and co-operation between our homes and services.
5. Bring the unique family values to Abbotsford Care, to maintain a purpose-driven approach with quality care and support for each individual resident at its heart.
On this page you can review the Abbotsford executive biographies. Click on each member to find out more.
Karen McKechnie - Founder and Principal Director
As the director, I have been involved with Abbotsford since its inception in 1986 when my husband and I opened the first nursing home in Milton Road, Kirkcaldy.
I trained as a nurse in Glasgow then moved overseas working in hospitals in the Middle East and with children in the Far East before returning to England and working with older people in a care home on the south coast. Like all staff, I aim to update my knowledge and skills to provide best practice and have over the years updating my nursing certificate by completing a BSc advanced nursing degree, a post graduate management diploma and a BA degree covering needs of people with disabilities / difficulties.
Alyson Vale - Business and Operations Director
Abbotsford Care is close to my heart, as a family-run business, being part of the family is something I am exceptionally proud of. From the early days when my parents started the company a year before I was born, to being that toddler swung around by her dungarees by residents, growing up being inspired by the meaningful conversations with the residents and staff who come through our doors. I feel that this company has grown with me over the years and I have been fortunate to understand a great deal about the experiences of those involved by living it. Over the years I have helped in a number of roles from; occasional carer, seasonal housekeeper, office assistant and my very first job as a child jumping on bins to squash the rubbish for 50p a bin following my dad’s instruction.
My time spent in all these positions has informed my practice, which is centred around a relationship-based strategy not only for our residents but also for our staff promoting and encouraging the sense of family which I am so proud of. I am keen to continue Abbotsford growth and development into the future informed by those fundamental experience who made me the person I am today.
Though my qualifications are not sector based, they have greatly informed who I am today and how I operate. I studied Contemporary Performance (BA 2:1) (2006-2010) at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. It was a unique 4-year experience which nurtured my creative practice by fundamentally shaping my drive for collaborative and reflective practices. My degree not only supported my individual learning but also allowed me opportunities to hone my facilitation skills to support others. In 2011 my life took its next step, I got engaged and embarked on my Masters in Creative Producing for Live Performance and Theatre in Birkbeck in London. This was an amazing opportunity of living and discovery my sense of self in a new place. Throughout this programme I got the opportunity to work with theatre companies throughout the UK, learning and developing my business practice concentrating on developing a sustainable model of producing experimental work, allowing me a toolkit of transferrable skills which I utilise within Abbotsford Care.
As Business and Operations Director my role is continuing the legacy of my father and mother, merging caring compassion whilst promoting a sense of community and collaboration to ensure we create a sustainable business which will continue to grow from strength to strength. I pride myself on knowing our staff and residents, working with every unique individual to ensure they feel part of our family. I now have two beautiful children of my own who regularly already tell me they ‘work for Abbotsford’ which fills me with pride.
Hazel Dunsmuir - Clinical Services Manager
I trained as a nurse in 1983 at Bangour General Hospital in West Lothian and my first qualified nursing position was as a staff nurse at the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy. I worked with the NHS for 14 years in various older people's wards and my last post within the NHS before joining the private care sector was as a charge nurse in an over 65 admissions ward.
My first position within the private sector was working as a care home manager in a 60 bed care home for frail, elderly and older people with dementia and I worked in this position for 5 years. For the last 15 years I have strengthened my knowledge and experience in caring for the older people in various positions within the same organisation including working in the training department as a trainer, assessor and IV, as the clinical lead for the organisation, as well as working as a nurse and a care home manager during this time. Previously, I have opened a care home service and worked closely on a few projects with the NHS and with the care inspectorate in medication management.
I hope that I can support Abbotsford Care with the development of nursing staff, support improvement work and support with all aspects of clinical care within the organisation.
Ben Vale - Infection Prevention & Control Manager
I came to a career in nursing having previously worked as everything from an opera singer to a car salesman with a few stops in between. Studying Vocal Studies at the Royal Conservatoire is what brought me to Scotland. My life as a musician has instilled in me a discipline and attention to detail which has transitioned with me through my subsequent life choices. I worked alongside my studies to support myself and from these part-time positions that I was able to demonstrate my strong work ethic.
I left university with what I felt was a new career in Stage Management, which is at its core about caring and supporting performers to create their vision and fulfil their potential and leading varying sizes of teams deploying individual’s skills to reach a common goal. Having met my wife at university it was her who brought me through to Fife. I was introduced to her family's business at this point where I was struck by the crossovers and comparisons between the arts and care sectors. Healthcare was in my blood with my father being one of the first qualified paramedics in the UK and has excelled within his own career ever since. Though it was from exposure to the nursing care environment that I recognised my true calling of nursing.
Though I came to nursing after finding my way through many other paths, I am clear now this is the true vocation I was destined to have. My experiences and all other jobs I have had before entering my nurse training have allowed me to build on my life experience which I feel is one of the most important attributes of a nurse. This strong varied foundation supports and informs my practice allowing me to empathise with patients and residents alike.
I swapped from one theatre to the other with my first professional nursing position in the NHS Fife's Victoria Hospital’s Trauma Theatre as a Scrub Nurse. The fast-paced and disciplined environment reinforced my transferable skills into the Health Care Sector.
In my role as Infection Prevention and Control Manager, I can draw on all my skills from my previous posts in both the care sector and outside roles providing real-time, evidence-based support and guidance to staff and managers at all our homes ensuring our residents, visitors and staff can enjoy the safest environment to maximise the benefits of the person-centred, holistic care we pride ourselves on providing here at Abbotsford.