The Apollo team goes beyond simply the head office, franchisees and care staff. Apollo relies on the expertise of a number of consultants to help our care offices grow and become a force for consistently outstanding care across our territories.
Lisa Hitchcox from Xceed Care Compliance has been part of this journey working with Apollo for eighteen months. She’s a compliance consultant and is advising the head office and franchise teams on how to go from “Good” to “Outstanding” in their CQC inspections.
We caught up with her before lockdown for a chat about compliance, care management and the franchise support available at Apollo.
It’s not the most typical career choice, so how does one get into a career in compliance?
It all began for Lisa when she entered the housing industry after university. She soon moved into care and support in Liverpool and Warrington and became a member of the Quality Performance and Compliance Team for a housing organisation where she thrived as a quality lead for over 100 care and support agencies. After 15 years, she took the decision to go solo and set up Xceed Care Compliance. As founder, she now works with many care providers offering bespoke consultancy and training designed to help, assist, guide and instruct in relation to care compliance.
Her work with Apollo Care focuses on the “Good to Outstanding Project” and delivers workshops to explore key lines of enquiry with each of the franchisees.
When asked to pinpoint exactly what Apollo does that stands out from other care providers she has worked with, Lisa notes the enthusiasm of all staff. However, it’s something else that really strikes a chord:
“I really think that the Apollo Academy really is an outstanding opportunity for staff members, and when Cheryl and Dawn and the team went through the Academy, it just blew me away with regards to the opportunities that they provide their staff for further development and engagement and consultation… The staff will get so much from that, and that really is the outstanding aspect of Apollo for myself, when compared to other organisations.”
Apollo Academy is a training opportunity for staff members who have been selected by franchise managers for exhibiting a good attitude and willingness to learn more. They get more insights into the Apollo mission, values, CQC and skills development. The “Good to Outstanding” project includes staff on the front line as well as those in the office, as it’s only with everyone pulling in the same direction that Apollo can achieve its goals to provide best care across all branches.
On what support a franchisee can expect, Lisa believes that head office is an essential backbone for franchisees and that management is adept at helping all teams work to the same objectives.
“All of the franchises can maybe work a little bit more individually but the central head office pulls them all together and it means that the franchisees have already got that peer support, that central support, all of those specialisms that sit within the head office.”
Lisa has seen the good, the bad and the ugly of the domiciliary care sector, and as such is perfectly placed to tell us what makes an exemplary care manager: “They need to be a really strong leader, they need to be operational as well as strategic, so you need to have that real skill base of being able to flip between both of those… They need to have a depth of understanding of the Care Quality Commission inspection framework and the requirements and they absolutely need to be able to work along with their whole staff team to be able to advise and guide.”
In addition, they need to possess empathy, compassion, dignity and respect and a desire to collaborate with others.
So, what should a potential franchisee do to find out if taking on a franchise is the right decision? Lisa has the following advice:
“Go and spend some time with Cheryl and the team at Head Office, and maybe meet a few of the actual franchisees and find out from them exactly what it means to be a franchisee.”
Apollo is happy to accommodate this if you’re considering coming on board and you need more information.
Having worked so closely with Apollo Care, is Lisa likely to recommend it to someone in her own family?
“I would be extremely happy with any member of the Apollo family delivering care and support to any member of my family and I have absolutely highly recommended the Apollo Care franchisees to a number of my friends who’ve got elderly relatives requiring support and care.”
We’ll be publishing a second part to this post later in the year which focuses solely on CQC standards, so keep a look out for that.