The same simple philosophy
Home Care Services, South Oxfordshire
We approach every situation with the same simple philosophy – what is in the client’s best interest, taking account of each client’s specific circumstances. The most important factor in providing high quality home care will be predicated on the calibre of the care staff. Staff recruitment forms a key element in ensuring that we only recruit people with the right moral attributes and a natural caring nature.
We often recruit people that have never provided care before, they are usually easier to train to our standards as they have not picked up bad habits and attitudes (which can be difficult to overcome), due primarily to poor levels of support and training at a previous care provider. We have a huge file of examples where carers have gone “above and beyond” often small things that mean a lot to a client. We also have folders of compliments from clients and their families.
1 to 1 Care provide personal home care from 7am to 10pm every day 365 days a year. Prior to any care being provided we will undertake an individual assessment. The purpose of the assessment is to gather information about the client, their environment and their support from family and friends.
We have found many clients are in denial regarding their home care needs and don’t want to be any bother, consequently we encourage close relatives to attend and be involved with the assessment to ensure a realistic view of the client’s needs can be achieved. We will review any equipment already in place and make recommendations where appropriate, which may include making referrals to Occupational Therapists. We will need to understand all current medication and have absolute clarity as to responsibility for all aspects of medication. The client’s mobility and capacity will be fully assessed. As an integral part of the assessment a personal support plan will be developed that aims to meet the client’s specific support needs which will be agreed before care commences.
When a new home care package begins, it is not unusual for clients to take a few weeks to adjust to the changes which can be quite daunting for some. We will tread softly, encourage, support, and show respect to build friendships and trust. It is possible that the home care package may need adjusting as the client adapts to the changes, we will endeavour to accommodate moving call times, changing lengths of visits and any other aspects of the home care package that would be beneficial for the client.
We will call in other health care professionals as needed, Doctors, District Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists, and Emergency Services. We liaise closely with family to ensure we all work as a team towards a common goal of the client’s best interests.
Home care packages are kept under review as client’s needs can sometimes change quite quickly, we will always use reasonable endeavours to accommodate the changing needs of our clients.
Every home care client is formally reviewed at least every 3 months as standard, if a client’s circumstances change, a reassessment will be undertaken as often as deemed necessary to ensure the client’s needs continue to be met.
Outside of normal office hours, we have a messaging system that is monitored regularly. Messages are picked up remotely, our phone system automatically emails a .wav file to our email system which is also monitored remotely. A mobile duty phone with a separate number operates outside of office hours which is available to all clients and their families for issues that need to be addressed urgently.
Whilst we use several normal recruitment methods, many of our carers join us through personal recommendation from current and past staff. We do not recruit from overseas, unlike many larger home care providers. Staff recruited directly from overseas usually arrive with ‘clear’ enhanced criminal record searches (no convictions), unfortunately these are often not worth the paper they are written on, as it is impossible to have a UK conviction if the person has never been in the UK. The enhanced criminal record checks only search the UK data base, so these people may have convictions from other countries (including all EU Countries) which make them at best unsuitable and potentially dangerous to be in the care sector.
Our staff retention is very strong as we now have eight carers that have been with us for over 5 years. Our current average retention rate for all staff is currently 3.8 years with a very low staff turnover (the current care sector average staff turnover is 27.8% per annum).
All staff have an enhanced criminal records search prior to providing any care, we will always try to obtain at least two independent references. There is currently no legal obligation for a past employer to provide a reference, and many will only confirm a start and end date, so often not very useful. As we are a local home care provider in South Oxfordshire, we have a large network of local contacts, and maintain contact with many former members of staff. We are also very familiar with the standards of other local home care providers and care homes.
All staff have an in-house interview with a senior member of management. An important element of this discussion is to understand the values, aspirations and ‘drivers’ of prospective staff to ensure they will be able to embrace our values and care standards. These discussions will take as long as necessary as they provide a powerful insight into the person.
We do not currently use psychometric evaluation, although we did pilot a scheme and have reviewed two other providers of these evaluations, we found no benefit as the reports were usually generic, providing very little useful insight into individuals personal values.
Many Care Agencies pay at or around the National Minimum Wage, after induction our carers will earn over 30% above the NMW.
Carers are all our employees, working on variable hours contracts. Each carer provides an agreed availability schedule and how many hours they would like to work each week, and this is scheduled into our systems.
Our schedulers work diligently to try and meet client and staff expectations when allocating planned visits, this is a very complex operation as there are many variables. Schedules are prepared a week in advance and as part of the process the hours allocated to each carer is monitored against the hours they have requested for that week. Consequently, our variable hours contracts work very well for our staff, for the record we have never had a single complaint about their use.
All staff are always welcome to come into the office before or after their rounds where they can help themselves to tea, coffee biscuits and some highly unhealthy snack food. This also provides an informal basis for communication and bonding which is very important to a small team.
When carers, particularly those that have joined from other care agencies, fully grasp our philosophy of ‘what is in each client’s best interest’ and that we mean it, life becomes very simple. Carers are expected to advise of concerns as soon as they become aware, whatever those concerns may be. This could range from client’s medication issues, suspected UTIs through to inappropriate client behaviour everything is reported to the office and handled accordingly. As a result, our whistleblowing policy is all but irrelevant as we have no barriers.
1 to 1 Care have a comprehensive specialist home care insurance policy with a market leading provider, that covers all aspects of our operation including the following specific cover limits:
- Employers Liability: £10,000,000
- Public Liability: £10,000,000
- Medical/Malpractice: £10,000,000
- Professional Indemnity: £5,000,000