Social Care services are rarely out of the media spotlight and occasionally we witness a highly charged and emotive event which seeks to highlight the worst possible mistreatment of our country’s most vulnerable people.
In a free and democratic society this is welcomed as an attempt towards transparency, integrity and truth to which any law abiding and compassionate citizen would wish to applaude.
The down side to this is that it also causes fear and undermines confidence, creating a global sense that ALL our care and support services reflect this uncaring approach.
David Pearson, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services has attempted to offer a balanced view to the Panorama programme (Wednesday 30 April 2014) which was seen by millions of viewers, many of whom will either be users of care services or families of people who are considering care options for their loved one or currently receiving services.
David Pearson reports: ‘this case emphasises the importance of vigilantly safeguarding the wellbeing of residents, and of ensuring that whistleblowers are always carefully listened to and protected. Panorama has again drawn attention to the importance of sound management, and investing in the training and supervision of social care staff’.
Safeguarding, listening, effective management, staff support and supervision are at the heart of providing high standards of care.
Those of us who manage frontline services are acutely aware that our staff, as individuals and teams, deserve the best possible person-to-person support, with managers working alongside their workers to solve problems and create a culture where every member of staff recognises their manager by name and witnesses their involvement in frontline practice as consistent in the everyday.
At Springhill Care all our staff receive regular, high quality training and supervision which extends to regular forums for clinical and associated staff to have an on-going dialogue about our standards of care and how we can continually update and enhance our services. This not only increases the professional delivery of care but enables staff teams to both feel and be involved in the service delivery –‘my name is on this’ gives a sense of ownership to everything we are involved in and a collective sense of responsibility and accountability. ‘Not on my watch’ is then embraced by all in the most positive sense.
Springhill Care strives to do this through its value-based services. Our commitment to person centred care begins with our staff – they have a right to expect that they will be treated as an individual, known by name and acknowledged, praised and rewarded for their personal contribution to the team effort. When this is visible staff experience a personal sense of value, not only for their contribution but for who they are. In a world which often does not see the immense good our nurses and care staff are doing every day and night of the year, this is paramount for maintaining excellent standards of care and effective staff morale.
Our core values, which guide our mission, begin with our staff and cascade through the care we offer at all levels, extending to our families and all we are in partnership with. A climate of openness, which extends to a real inclusion of everyone’s contribution, including residents, families and our finely tuned processes of audit and evidence based practice, increases the checks and balances so integral to a service which is designed to serve those most vulnerable in our society.
At Springhill we are aware that we are achieving much success in our many innovative practises. Delivering complex services certainly brings its challenges - the need to keep our values at the forefront continues to be as important as ever!