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  • 9 Dec 2020 11:59 | Anonymous member

    Strong leadership is at the heart of every good and outstanding care providing organisation, without good leadership we know the quality of care provision declines. Over the past few months, Skills for Care have been working with the sector to understand the challenges it’s facing around leadership and management and the support needed to develop strong leadership skills. Over the summer, 588 employers (including care providers, Local Authorities and learning providers) responded to a survey which asked about:

    • the priorities for leadership support and development for the sector both now and in the future
    • what leadership development support should look like, and how Skills for Care can make it as effective as possible
    • positive features of support and development for leaders and managers right now.

    Priorities in lead
    ership support and development needs

    There were five priority areas identified from the research:

    • Support with mental health and wellbeing for themselves, their teams and the people who they support, both generally and in response to a crisis.
    • Working across boundaries – respondents highlighted a need for greater cooperation with other agencies including greater knowledge sharing, mutual respect and understanding. They expressed a need to have a greater voice with other agencies and support for integrated working. This included an understanding of the importance of strategic planning and a need for support in that area.
    • Training and development needs - alongside support for managing teams effectively to support the retention and development of their workforce, respondents also reported a need for digital skills, for example to support remote working and management, support with diversity and inclusion, business skills and career progression.
    • Support and guidance – the need to receive clear, streamlined, accurate, up to date guidance, information and policies was a strong theme in the results. Support from peers through mentoring, supervision and coaching was also important for respondents.
    • COVID-19 specific support – especially support with infection prevention and control (PPE availability, training and advice) and support with testing.

    What should leadership development support look like?

    It was clear from the findings that a ‘one size fits all’ approach is not desirable. Support needs to recognise sector diversity and be tailored to meet the needs of different services. It needs to be inclusive, accessible, with flexible approaches and of high quality. Whatever the future support offer might look like, it needs to clearly communicate the tangible benefits of engaging in it.

    Peer support, coaching and mentoring, leadership programmes, webinars, networking, action learning and online leadership tools were all felt to be valuable approaches for delivering support. New channels and methods should also be considered using digital technologies.  

    It was clear from the findings that this support should be available for all levels – leadership isn’t defined by a job title and shouldn’t be restricted to those in managerial positions. Leadership is a valuable skill in roles from entry level to the most senior position.

    Positive features of support right now

    We also wanted to understand what support the sector values right now and we gathered many positive examples of a sector supporting each other during incredibly challenging times. Organisations have supported their workforce through good leadership and supportive line management, providing opportunities for remote working and using digital technologies.

    There’s been support from external organisations such as local authorities or clinical commissioning groups. Peer support, networking and joint working has enabled the sector to share challenges and good practice, resulting in a greater unity. And the existing support from Skills for Care was also acknowledged.

    Next steps

    It was clear throughout the research that there’s a real need for recognition and respect for the work of the sector, highlighted even more so from the impact of the pandemic and the importance of strong leadership in achieving this.

    Skills for Care are now working closely with several focus groups to further explore the findings of their initial discovery work and inform and shape their future leadership development offer.

    - Anonymous

  • 8 Dec 2020 17:44 | Anonymous member

    Here are 10 tips to help you respond when you’re in a conversation about care fees:

    1) It doesn’t matter whether your relative is at home, in a care home or somewhere else, no one should ask them to pay for care until it’s been properly decided who is legally responsible.

    2) NHS funding for care is called NHS Continuing Healthcare; it is available to people who meet certain criteria. Make sure you read the criteria.

    3) If anyone in health and social care tells you your relative has to pay for care, ask them why they are saying that – and on what basis they’ve reached that conclusion. They can only reach that conclusion after NHS Continuing Healthcare funding has been considered.

    4) You don’t have to complete ANY financial assessment forms – and certainly not before a Continuing Healthcare assessment. If you’ve had the Continuing Healthcare assessment and your relative is not eligible, you still don’t have to complete any financial assessment forms; you can simply choose to pay. Also, be sure to also appeal any Continuing Healthcare funding decision you disagree with. The health and social care authorities have no business looking into your or your relative’s finances until the Continuing Healthcare process is complete. It is none of their business.

    5) Some people working in health and social are have not had adequate training in the legal context in which they work. In other words, when they’re giving you incorrect information about care fees, they may not even realise that they may be in beach of their own code of conduct, and possible also the law.

    6) Familiarise yourself with the Care Act and how it helps you with Continuing Healthcare funding.

    7) It doesn’t matter what diagnosis a person may have; this does not affect their eligibility for Continuing Healthcare. It is their day-to-day care needs that count.

    8) If your relative receives Continuing Healthcare funding, this covers ALL their social care needs, too. It also covers the costs of accommodation, food etc in a care home.

    9) Don’t let anyone discharge your relative from hospital until a Continuing Healthcare assessment has taken place.

    10) Just because your relative may have been paying for care up until now doesn’t mean they should be – or that they should be in the future.

    …and an extra tip:

    11) Don’t let anyone put you off having a Continuing Healthcare funding assessment. People are likely to tell you it’s “not worth it” or that you’re “not eligible” or that they “don’t have time to do an assessment” or that you “have to start paying first” – and many other untruths. Get informed. Read as much as you can in advance.

    So if you find yourself having conversations about care fees with people in health and social care – and also care providers – be vigilant. Don’t let them steer you into paying for care before it has been properly ascertained who is actually legally responsible for paying. Never assume it is your relative.

    - Anonymous

  • 8 Dec 2020 17:24 | Anonymous member

    I’m not good enough. Why did I do that? I’m wasting your time. I’ve done it wrong. They don’t believe me. Why did I say that? They don’t want me here. What is wrong with me?

    Many of us live with a mental health problem.

    I live with anxiety. Often my thoughts get stuck on loop and I struggle to break a continuous feeling that I am inadequate in both who I am and what I do. Even as I write this, I do so wondering whether this will be worth the time I’m spending on it.

    I’m fortunate in that I work for an employer who recognises the importance of acknowledging that I can suffer from poor mental health and encourages me to be open about it. I am told that the strength of a group relies on the strength of the individuals within. By understanding each other we can work together more effectively to support those who live at our homes.

    That encompasses all professional relationships within the home - carer to carer, carer to manager, manager to catering staff. After all, how can we expect to take of others if we cannot look after ourselves. By coming together, we can achieve and sustain the outstanding standards we set ourselves in providing care.

    When I started with the Evolve Care Group, I was encouraged to be open and embrace my identity. I must admit that this made me feel somewhat uncomfortable. I didn’t want to present my baggage or air my dirty laundry in full view for all to see. But by embracing the openness and honesty bred throughout the company I now enjoy a two-way relationship that benefits both my employer and I. This ‘culture of comfortability’ created in my place of work allows for others to recognise when I am struggling and give me either the space or reassurance I need for me to operate to the best of my abilities.

    - Josh De Witt
  • 27 Nov 2020 12:57 | Anonymous member

    For me family has always been the people around you that you can rely on – the ones that are always there, the ones who don’t judge, the ones that you will do anything for.

    When designing a model of care we wanted to instill these family values in the team; into the community that we called a care home.

    We have found that the language that we use, the labels that we attach to both people and interactions are extremely important. The word that is used to describe a person can set the tone of the way in which we approach them.

    The label family immediately gives a different status to the person about whom you are referring to. You give your family member more importance than the unnamed person that you met on the street two days ago. If someone is your family member there is a social expectation that you will know everything about that person. If I asked you when your Aunt’s birthday is, there would be an expectation that you would know.

    These values are values that we want to actively encourage in care communities.

    So we dived into the world of sociology and found the generally accepted definition of family member to be:

    “We’ll define family as a socially recognized group (usually joined by blood, marriage, cohabitation, or adoption) that forms an emotional connection and serves as an economic unit of society. Sociologists identify different types of families based on how one enters into them.”

    At the time it made perfect sense. We want to create families within our communities where the barriers are broken down, people are important to each other, and love and bonds are created through knowledge of each other's life histories. It is our hope that our families will then be able to share their dreams and desires with each other.

    So in place of the word service user, resident or client we asked our teams to refer to those people living with us as their family members. The label creates the attitude and drives the values and behaviour that one would expect in a care setting; trust, happiness, openness and love. To be a family member in an Evolve Community does not mean that we are replacing the original family – we simply become an extension of each other’s families in order that we can work together to support the person in care.

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