Reshaping Care for Older People

Our Care Manager  was invited to speak Argyll and Bute Conference on Reshaping Care for Older People Partnership held in The Corran Halls, Oban on 28th May, 2013.

“Background  Carers Direct Ltd is based in Helensburgh and has been providing domiciliary care services since 1997. We also operate in the Dumbarton area. In 2005 the company started a service in Oban and its surrounding areas. We operate live-in services in the Western Isles, mid Argyll, Oban and the Cowal Peninsula.  We currently employ around 70 staff for over 100 Service Users.

“The Care Inspectorate Theme of “Excellence” In 2009 the company scored as “good” in the inspectorate’s theme of Management and Leadership Skills. This was our starting point: we put in place a management plan to achieve a score of “excellent” in this theme, which we achieved in February 2013.

“Passion  It takes a passion in what you believe in order to achieve excellence! Passion is core; we as managers must have a strong belief in what we do – a clear Vision in what we want to achieve. Early in 2013 we set a new Vision – “Providing Outstanding Personal Care and Support”. Everything we do has this Vision specifically in mind; it is becoming core to our way of thinking.

“Passion starts with recruitment – getting the best people on board. Passion means nurturing the existing staff and sharing our vision with them. Passion means encouraging pride in appearance and wearing the uniform. Passion means quality training, ongoing – ensuring staff are confident in their ability, displaying empathy and patience, and able to carry out all aspects of care, thus ensuring that the service users are receiving the very best of care and attention. Passion means we monitor our activities carefully and closely, with staff appraisals that are aligned closely with relevant and up-to-date job descriptions, and conducting ongoing staff supervision and spot checks.

“As Care Manager I believe it is vital to have the confidence that the staff we employ to care for our service users are the best. They must be cheery, skilled, not over-caring but supporting the service users to enable them to achieve all that they can, giving them encouragement to make full use of the resources available to them and to help them make the most of their lives.

“The Care Inspectorate said,“The Management has worked very hard to create a positive and inclusive ethos through the service. There is evidence of an open and responsive culture throughout the service.”

Motivation  I believe this is essential for success. Motivation is the desire to do. Motivation is generated through interest in achieving, and/or through incentive or inducement. Listening to and taking a real interest in what the staff and team issues or concerns are, and responding in a timeous manner.

“Supporting staff who have yet to be qualified and registered.  Some staff embrace developing their skills whilst others are reluctant to because they are fearful of being judged, or because they have been away from a learning environment for a long time.

“Staff showing management skill are given the opportunity to become Team Leaders; good care staff who are happy to stay in their present positions are supported and valued.

“The Care Inspectorate said, “Staff said they feel well supported, and the management team have successfully promoted a service in which people feel free to express their needs or concerns.

“There was strong evidence that the people who use the service, their relatives and staff are all encouraged to be involved in the management of the service.”

Enthusiasm  A “can do” approach and an approachable management team.

Communication  Effective management needs excellent communication between ourselves and service users, social work, health professionals and stakeholders.

“The Care Inspectorate said, “Service users told the inspectorate that they felt very happy about the way the service was managed and they felt confident that issues raised with the manager would be addressed efficiently and sensitively”

“The inspectorate also noted that we had good systems in place to ensure that we have effective communication between staff to discuss important matters relating to each service user they support. There is a thorough and accountable approach to the management of the service in all aspects of its operation.

“The Challenges We Face

“We need a registered qualified staff team in the timescale allocated to care at home by 2020.

“SDS – training for management plus staff in the options where service users can take responsibility for managing their own services.

“Reablement Training – Better ways of supporting people who live at home by helping people to for themselves rather than doing for them. This is a focus on service users’ strengths and abilities rather than on their weaknesses and deficits. Doing things for service users takes less time than helping them do for themselves.

“Of major concern to me is that care packages being referred by social services are becoming increasingly tighter in terms of shorter time allocated to the services, meaning that our ethos of working with service users rather than for them is under growing pressure. The 15-minute service is becoming increasingly the norm and the quality of the service is undoubtedly being compromised as a result.  We have resisted moving to 15 minute services thus far, but see it as being only a matter of time before we have to offer them simply to survive in business.

“We are finding that these short service periods are demoralising for both staff and service users alike and are bound to have an impact on the quality of services and care at home. Despite this, managers will have to keep the care staff motivated as well as ensure that the quality of care, and the dignity and the safety of service users are not put at risk.

“We do work hard to maintain an excellent relationship with social services and health professionals. However, we will continue to listen to staff concerns about the pressure they are under to deliver the same or better care in less time, and we will report these concerns to social services ongoing on an individual service user basis.

“It is our aim to continue to build positive relationships with all parties involved with service users to ensure continuity of care, and we will continue to offer a high quality service, with service users’ needs and desires remaining central to our approach to care.”