As if the Christmas “wind-down” isn’t challenging enough: managing staff holidays and everyone wanting to spend time with their families while making sure clients still get the best care possible. Well, one of our teams got quite a surprise.
Our South Liverpool team, led by Diana Brady and Paul Williams, got the call that they were to receive a CQC inspection just days before the Christmas holiday.
However, these are professionals and take assessments in their stride. If you’ve got confidence in your work, there is nothing to stress about.
Therefore, it was a welcome Christmas gift to find out they had indeed maintained their overall rating of “Good”. Yet, that wasn’t all. The icing on the cake came in the form of “Outstanding” in the area of “Responsiveness”.
All of our up and running Apollo franchises have performed above and beyond in their recent inspections, achieving “Good” ratings, meaning their care is consistent, no matter who they are dealing with. Head office has been working with the individual teams to work towards overall ratings of “Outstanding”.
It’s no mean feat that South Liverpool have been able to break into one “Outstanding” category, showing that their efforts are paying off.
What is the CQC looking for?
There are five areas that the CQC inspect home care companies on:
Safety – Are clients protected from harm?
Effectiveness – Does the service achieve good outcomes?
Care – Does the service treat people with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect?
Responsiveness – Does the service meet the needs of service users?
Leadership – Is the service well-led?
What happens during an inspection?
A care company only has 48 hours’ notice that the inspection is going to take place. Routine inspections take place every two years.
The CQC assessor consults with the local authority and others who work with the company before the inspection. They also chat with the manager to understand what improvements they intend to make to the service in the future.
The assessor then interviews the managers and some of the carers, checks a selection of care and employment records.
Later on, the assessor will review training data and end of life care plans as well as chatting to service users and their relatives to establish their impressions of the staff and service as a whole.
Why did South Liverpool receive “Outstanding” for responsiveness?
As South Liverpool had already achieved “Good” previously, they were able to show that they had maintained their high standards, going above and beyond “Satisfactory”.
The assessment area of “responsiveness” determines whether the care offered by Apollo is in line with the client’s wants or needs. The report states that Apollo South Liverpool’s services “were tailored to meet the needs of individuals and delivered to ensure flexibility, choice and continuity of care.”
The report gives various wonderful examples of how the team set out to do this. One example testifies that a reclusive and lonely service user was able to gain enough confidence to take a holiday that was organised by the Apollo team and develop relationships with family members after a long spell of no contact.
Another example given is that the team were able to help a service user with dementia to carry on taking part in a weekly religious ceremony:
“One person living with dementia would often forget to prepare for a weekly religious ceremony, this would cause the person great distress. Staff understood this and would help the person make preparations in advance, so they did not forget. This ensured the person was able to carry on with what was an extremely important part of their life.”
The report goes on to describe that “staff understood the importance of knowing a person’s background in relation to providing truly individualised and person-centred care and support in line with their wishes.”
One service user interviewed is quoted as saying “If I’m going out, they change the times to suit me and my routine, they centre the care around me and are so accommodating.”
South Liverpool are praised for their use of care plans as helpful care planning tools:
“Care plans were not just used as a formal record of people’s support requirements but as an invaluable tool which enabled staff to care for people in the most effective way possible” including using these plans to record religion, culture and sexual orientation as well as any personal preferences.
One of the most touching examples for responsiveness in the light of end of life care describes how the Apollo team helped a service user realise one of their last wishes:
“The service organised and supported a person to attend a fishing trip in their final days. The person was taken on a stretcher to do this as it had been one of their final wishes. As the person had enjoyed fishing trips all their life, this final trip meant a great deal to the person.”
It’s easy to dismiss people’s desires as frivolous and pie in the sky. Some care managers may think, as long as they are getting their basic needs met, no effort needs to be made for making dreams happen, or even getting people to meetings that have been a staple of their life previously. But that’s not the Apollo ethos. Therefore, it’s highly encouraging for the South Liverpool team, head office and other franchises to see that the staff’s efforts are being recognised as truly responsive.
We hope this is a sign of further “Outstanding” achievements to come as we endeavour to implement best practices within all our branches.
A big well done to Diana, Paul and all the South Liverpool team!
More from the CQC Inspection report:
“The philosophy of the service valued the uniqueness of every individual and promoted the provision of care and support as individual as the person receiving it. Management were passionate about providing high- quality person-centred and dignified support for people, and empowering people to have a say in the care and support they wanted. This vision was widely shared by staff.”
“The service took the time to get to know about what was important to people. Staff were pivotal in the delivery of individualised care and support, and supported people to be a part of both their local and wider community.”
“People were supported in such a way that allowed them maximum choice and control of their lives and staff supported them in the least restrictive way possible and in their best interests; the policies and systems in the service supported this practice.
“People received care and support from staff who were genuinely caring and compassionate and who were familiar to them. Staff had not only formed strong relationships with the people they supported, but also their relatives.”
“Staff were well supported in their role with appropriate training and supervision. Staff had also received additional training to meet the specific needs of the people they were caring for.”