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Achieve the best outcome for your nursing or residential home

posted 10 May 2015, 10:32 by Ina Sutton   [ updated 10 May 2015, 10:41 ]

Nursing and residential homes face many challenges in the current climate. This creates pressure on home managers and providers to achieve compliance in several legislative areas, optimise occupancy, deal with staff issues, recruit, and work within budgetary constraints. Trying to navigate through this maze of inspections and bureaucracy is a daunting prospect for both registered managers and providers. Managers feel the insurmountable paperwork they need to complete to be compliant is taking them away from looking after their clients and what is actually happening in the home. This can be a double-edged sword where the paperwork is complete but the quality of care may be neglected.

During the past few years, we at Sussex Elderly Care have had the opportunity to assist many homes in improving standards and guiding them to achieve compliance while addressing safeguarding issues and their internal investigations. We have travelled across the South from Hampshire to Rochester helping homes in the absence of managers, with crisis intervention, non-compliance and poor performance.

Although many homes face a number of challenges they all share a common thread. In most cases the manager is inundated with surmounting paperwork to complete, daily management of the home, audits, staff shortages and so on. They work under stressful conditions especially if the home is challenged by a complex client group requiring nursing or dementia care. This is further exacerbated should an unannounced Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection take place.

Often, managers find it difficult to embrace the findings to improve the service; they can view this as added pressure and more work. In many cases, the findings entail cost implications such as improvements to buildings, purchasing, maintaining equipment or staff recruitment all adding costs to the service. In some cases, managers or providers have had the business for a number of years where they have always been compliant except of late and cannot understand the need for change. They might argue that it worked in the past so why does it need to be changed or fixed now?

Inspections reflect the inspector. Although inspectors have guidelines to follow they are also influenced by their own experiences, culture, values and expectations. The standards are open to interpretation, where one inspector may find failings in a home, another may find the service adequate and fully compliant. On one occasion at a home we were working with we were aware the home was not compliant and we put recommendations in place to improve the standards in the home and meet statutory requirements. However, before all of our recommendations were put in place, to our astonishment, the home passed an unannounced CQC inspection and was deemed fully compliant!

Recently, CQC has received bad publicity in response to complaints. This has put the regulatory body under greater scrutiny and criticism and has led to a more stringent approach to inspections that are now taking place. We foresee many home closures due to managers and providers being unable to cope with the changes and finding themselves in sinking mud holes.

At Sussex Elderly Care, we try and support managers and providers to rise above the overwhelming work that is drowning them. We take a systematic approach and guide them through the maze of paperwork to help them take back control of their homes. We take some of the burden by providing recommendations and support with action plans and administration. We go the extra mile to be as flexible as possible and flow with the needs of the home.

We are a small team of professionals with experience in management, clinical practice and administration. Our team includes registered nurses, home managers, trainers, a pharmacist who deals with the safe administration of medication, a chef, an administrator and a health & safety officer. We encourage professional involvement of our outreach teams to improve services and achieve a better outcome for service users. We encourage a culture of personhood which is reflected in care plans, activities, home environment as well as resident and staff engagement.

We believe in a culture of respect for all individuals because, ultimately, we will all become elderly one day. How would we like to be treated?