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Here you can read updates and insights from Advantage Accreditation. Our posts feature a range of topics, relevant to industries from health and social care to construction, to hospitality. Browse our recent posts below, and see our Resources for more information.

Old man and carer

Choosing the perfect care home

BBC News have published an article online today advising people on ‘how to choose the perfect care home‘. We liked the article because it included a checklist from Age UK on what to ask potential residential or nursing homes before you or your family member moves in.

The list is useful for providers though, too. Very often we focus on complex issues and forget the basics. This checklist is great for bringing us back down to earth, and ensuring we have the fundamentals of care right:

  • Can residents choose their daily routines?
  • Are senior staff on duty at all times?
  • What is the ratio of staff to residents?
  • What is the annual turnover of staff?
  • What dementia support is available?
  • Do GPs visit the home?
  • What is included in the fees?
  • What meals are provided?

Is DoLS set to be replaced?

This may have slipped under everyone’s radar. A report that received little attention in the news from the Law Commission has recommended scrapping the current Deprivation of Liberties Safeguards, which it describes as “in crisis”, and replacing them with a new Liberty Protection Safeguards system.

Although this may seem like semantics, the new system is notably less onerous that the current safeguards. Although this may prove much more beneficial to a courts system struggling to deal with the massive increase in DoLS cases since the 2014 Cheshire West ruling, some will highlight that it poses a risk to the vulnerable. One notable change is the scrapping of ‘best interests’ assessments for all cases.

Law Commissioner Nicolas Paines QC has argued, however, that the current system is failing families because of the backlogs it creates: “There are unnecessary costs and backlogs at every turn, and all too often family members are left without the support they need.

“The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards were designed at a time when considerably fewer people were considered deprived of their liberty. Now they are failing those they were set up to protect.”

Read more about the changes here.

Old lady

New report shows the importance of basic skills

A number of news outlets are leading today with the news that the CQC has found that 32% of nursing homes in England and Wales are failing on safety:

Inspectors making unannounced visits to care homes found medicines being administered unsafely, alarm calls going unanswered and residents not getting help to eat or use the toilet. Some residents were found to have been woken up by night-shift care workers, washed and then put back to bed, apparently to make life easier for staff.

Training, recruitment and retention of skilled staff was cited by the CQC's chief inspector of adult social care, Andrea Sutcliffe, as one of the key causes for failed safety standards across the sector:

“Many of these homes are struggling to recruit and retain well-qualified nursing staff and that means that this is having an impact on delivering good services to people who have got very complex needs".

This shows that staff training is still a difficult issue for many facilities. It is likely that this is going to become a hot issue for the CQC over the coming months and years. 

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Mountain climbers

The biggest problem with training, and what you can do about it

We've all been on a training course of some form or another. It might be something compliance based - like health and safety - or something that really impacts on how we perform in our role. The problem, however, is that it often isn't built around the learner.

The reason why is clear: training and education has traditionally been a process of passing knowledge from one person to another or to several others. Consider the typical set-up of a classroom: the teacher stands and speaks, authoritatively, the children sit and listen as subjects. The teacher is focused on passing on the knowledge, not on addressing its meaning and application to the learner. 

It is well established, though, that people who discover their own learning are better for it. Carl Rogers, one of the founding thinkers of 'student-centred learning', stated that "the only learning which significantly influences behaviour is self discovered". If you're a tutor a small proportion of any classroom will be able to take in what you say and remember it. A much larger proportion will keep it with them if they have discovered it themselves.

That's why inductive learning, otherwise known as guided discovery, is the big fashion in modern teaching and training. With language, tutors often now provide learners with an example of a phrase or sentence and facilitate learners to work out the rules for themselves. Even in football, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is a well known practitioner of guided discovery, coaching his players to be able to make decisions for themselves on the pitch based on an overall model of play. 

So, when you're building your own training programmes, think about how you can aid learners to discover facts and patterns of behaviour for themselves. For example, you can give them real world scenarios, and ask them how they would react. Rather than explain the Social Model of Disability to them, get them to empathise and see things from the perspective of those for whom they care. If you are able to observe them working afterwards, talk to them at intervals and ask them how they think they could improve based on the training. It's only little details, but they can add up to make a big difference to changing behaviours for the long-term. 

 

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The best health and social care resources

Finding up to date information on health and social care can be hard. If you're in a position where you're responsible for providing training into the sector, it can be time consuming trying to keep track of regulation and best practice changes, as well as keeping your own CPD going.

So, to give you a helping hand, we've assembled some links to online resources that will help you keep on track. Get them bookmarked! 

 

1. Skills for Care/Skills for Health

Granted, they're not the easiest websites to navigate, but they're a must read if you want to keep track of the latest best practice. The best thing to do is to follow the blogs, which should make sure you're capturing everything important.

www.skillsforcare.org.uk

www.skillsforhealth.org.uk

 

2. CQC

When researching regulations, you may as well go straight to the source. The CQC have a number of interesting resources available on their website. They publish the majority of the research and surveys they undertake, allowing you to form your own opinion on the findings. There's also the latest guidance easily accessible for providers across the sector.

www.cqc.org.uk

 

3. SCIE

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) provides a wealth of resources on every topic imaginable in the sector, including explanatory videos on a lot of them. It's all helpfully arranged by region and letter too!

www.scie.org.uk

 

4. CareTalk

CareTalk is an online magazine that covers the care sector. We like it because it's often upbeat and emphasises the good things going on in the sector, which is refreshing when you consider what usually makes it into the mainstream news. Definitely worth following!

www.caretalk.co.uk

 

5. Care Industry News

Exactly what it says on the tin. If you can get past the garish background, there's some really good content that is regularly updated. In fact, if you get our newsletter, you'll see that we link to them a lot.

www.careindustrynews.co.uk

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No stop for health and social care integration efforts

The head of NHS England has signalled that there is no intention of ending plans to more closely link the British health and social care systems.

A report from the National Audit Office earlier this year suggested that health and social care integration was not being carried out effectively enough to deliver the desired results, although where it was done well there were undoubtedly benefits.

Addressing the NHS Confederation in Liverpool, Simon Stevens reiterated that the course had not changed, and said that his priority was to end the “fractured” health and social care system, with nine areas covering 7 million people to be targeted as priority areas for integration.

The integration at a local level will be driven by ‘accountable care systems’ (ACSs), which will bring together local NHS organisations with voluntary groups and care organisations. The intention is to build on those local areas where successes have been made, which has had a particular impact on hospital admissions.

Although many will, without debt, criticise some integration efforts, but the evidence from the NAO’s report does suggest that there are benefits when it is done well. Experimenting across different localities may not always be pretty, but we can all acknowledge that our care system needs a shake-up, and we should welcome any moves that improve welfare whilst alleviating burdens on overstretched public services.

A look at Teeside’s ‘outstanding’ care home

Nunthorpe Care Home in Middlesbrough has just received the highest rating possible from the CQC of ‘outstanding’. How did it do it?

According to its residents and the CQC report, a “homely” feel, stimulating activities, and a passionate workforce.

Take a closer look by clicking here

New start-up presents new model for care

A new start-up is seeking to let more people with dementia live in their own home by using technology.

Adam and Daniel Pike started SuperCarers in response to their own family’s experience with dementia. Their grandmother suffered with the disease, but preferred to stay in her own home. Lacking the finances to pay for private carers, the family relied on local authority carers until eventually Adam and Daniel’s mother took over. As the condition worsened, however, the family had to turn to residential care. The Pikes’ grandmother, they say, resented the decision, and made their mother feel guilty about it until the day she died. The impact is still with their mother even ten years later.

Recognising that 90% of over-50s who need care would rather stay in their own home, SuperCarers is attempting to reduce the costs by linking carers and families online directly, eliminating the need for agencies and their associated costs and overheads. SuperCarers acts as an introducer, and as such is not regulated by the CQC.

The Pikes argue that this gives more families more cost effective care over which they can exercise more control. Further, since SuperCarers is an introducer and not an agency, carers are self-employed and can set their own rates, meaning they will typically earn more than if they were part of an agency.

This new model has led to calls from some, including the UK Homecare Association, for the government to introduce new regulations to take account of changes in the health and social care market. This does not seem to be on the horizon, though. Further, SuperCarers seems to be taking its role seriously, with its team of advisers including luminaries from the CQC, the National Dignity Council, and even an ex-minister. It’s next step, according to the founders, is to build relationships with the NHS to help speed-up discharges and reduce the 445,000 days a year elderly people to spend in hospital while waiting for in-home care.

 

 

Care crisis: funding alone not the solution

A piece in The Guardian has highlighted that funding alone will not be the solution to the country’s care crisis. Instead, focusing on talent within the sector will be the key.

The article by Paul Dosset calls for a radical rethink of “our strategy towards the health and happiness of the British people”. A shift in thinking from focusing on the problems to the solutions is required. The country should not “just see health and social care as a burden on the budget”, and we must “learn how to do more with less” to ‘future-proof’ the sector.

In particular, the piece argues that talent within the sector is essential to improving its efficiency and raising standards. The Government has signalled an end to reliance on low-skilled labour from the EU and a willingness to nurture homegrown talent. There must therefore be moves within health and social care to “safeguard talent”.

These arguments echo comments made by Leon Williams, General Manager of Advantage Accreditation, earlier this week. Leon called for a new emphasis on skills development and improving training programmes in care organisations.

“Any increase in social care funding will no doubt be widely welcomed throughout the health and social care sector”, said Leon. “Ensuring that care trainers and care workers have the latest knowledge and skills, however, is the best way promote efficiency and achieve better outcomes for service users.”

Advantage Accreditation work with training companies and care organisations across the UK, providing quality assurance and verification against external standards. For more information, contact 020 7405 9999, or email [email protected]