Reading the Headlines today it’s no surprise once again to see that a few Residential Care Homes have achieved some negative publicity. Of course there is a tendency to concentrate on the negative simply forgetting the excellent service that is provided overall, and the quality service that is delivered each and every day, by dedicated caring staff who’s work is on long shifts and short on pay.
When you consider the efforts put in to deliver a safe and effective person centred caring service, it often seems that the negativity is at complete odds. Yet here are the headlines again and again. I have just been reading some, which include the inquest into a resident who had fallen from a hoist while being transferred. Care Home Operators were fined £16000 with cost of £9500 after a resident received serious injuries falling down stairs. Yet another Care Home put into special measures and under Police Investigation after allegations of Abuse.
In one recent case in Northern Ireland a report was published stating in the findings that treatment of residents had been horrific, in this case the staff then endured physical attacks and death threats.
How on earth do things become so extreme? While every case is different, and of course accidents happen. Every effort should be made to prevent them, often this is the case as reputable providers take the steps that they deem necessary to prevent accidents and maintain very high standards of quality person centred care. Time and again, with one eye on the budget the possibility of not seeing the standards dropping is increased. A pound saved on staffing costs, training or maintenance can result in costing hundreds, or even thousands later. The cost in human terms can be severe. The whole process should remain in sharp focus, staff are your biggest asset without them you have no more than a building. Correct and robust employment procedures from the references, DBS, interviews and quality up to date training through to the supervision and support and disciplinary procedures should be second to none. As tempting that it may be to cut a corner, perhaps save a little on the training or start somebody before the references are returned such things should be avoided at all costs.
With the introduction of electronic management systems you could be forgiven for believing the all singing and dancing system ensures that you are delivering a high quality service, it provides you with reports ensuring that you can manage all aspects of service delivery from your desk top computer. Wrong! Does the system tell you how staff rushed through the personal care of Mrs H in room 18, or if they spent extra time ensuring her wellbeing? Does the system tell you that a tablet was dropped during the medication round and to save time it was picked up and administered contrary to procedure? Does the system tell you that the food when delivered to resident’s rooms is cold?
The management of the standards, policies and procedures is function that can only be completed satisfactorily with a hands on approach and very good communication from a competent and caring management team.