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It’s no easy task to gain an ‘outstanding’ CQC rating, yet Resolve Care which has two homes for people with autism and learning disabilities who have restricted rights, has achieved the accolade twice.  Owners Anne Graham, a qualified social worker, and David King, a qualified nurse, explain how its innovative approach struck a chord with the inspectors.

Since we opened our first care home in County Durham in 2009, we have worked incredibly hard to deliver a first-class level of care and support.  Our two homes are for adults with autism or learning disabilities, most have their rights restricted under the Mental Health Act and have had limited life-opportunities.

We were drawn to the challenge of supporting this unique client group, both in light of the limited provision available, and also due to our skills and experience as healthcare professionals.  Driven by a passion to support people, our ethos is to provide service users with the best possible life so that they do not revert to offending behaviour.

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Outstanding CQC ratings are incredibly difficult to achieve, and being awarded the highest status for both our homes is a success that our entire team celebrate.  In fact, following our award we received correspondence from the Deputy Chief Inspector, Debbie Ivanova, at the CQC stating: ”The staff at Resolve Care should feel very proud of the work they do.  I would recommend all other providers ask Resolve about how they achieve what they do.” This is an enormous compliment, we are very proud, and our team shares a commitment to continue to find ways to improve the service.

Like many care providers, one of our top priorities is recruiting and retaining staff and having a stable and dedicated core staff team has allowed us to develop strong relationships with service users.  Our philosophy is to recruit people who have a strong fit with our service users, and this has so far stood us in good stead; resulting in low turnover.

Building trust   

One of the aims of our service is to ensure that the environments don’t have the feel of a care home, and we’ve created a bright, modern, clean, homely feel.

Involving service users in the entire process, listening to their views and opinions, and responding quickly is very important.  Relationships are key to the Resolve way of working, and growing trust and an open relationship with each service user, is central to this.

Service users are an integral part of the decision-making and their care. We involve them in the writing of care plans, and in doing this, service users’ anxieties are reduced and it allows new experiences to be introduced at their pace.  In case plans don’t go as expected, we even create contingency plans, which again service users are involved in.

Regular ‘Taking Part’ meetings seek our service views and ensure our service is in line with their best interests.  This means that, as well as providing an opportunity to discuss areas such as safeguarding or health and safety, it allows feedback and praise to be shared between each other.  Service users are also encouraged to chair meetings to help develop their communication skills.

Better ways of working

Innovative technologies can deliver significant improvements, and investment in this area has a real impact on the service we provide.  Solutions that help improve outcomes and that support us to work smarter, better and more efficiently, are imperative to our future sustainability in the market.

Our previous approach to record-keeping and administration, for instance, was a challenge.  Largely paper-based, laborious and time consuming, a better way of working was needed, a more accurate way of working to ensure all our information was in one place.

To overcome these issues, and make life easier, we implemented an online case management system.  ECLIPSE from OLM has helped us achieve greater efficiencies and had a positive impact across both homes, not only for the staff and managers, but also for our service users.

Low House

We have maximised staff efficiency and improved care by simplifying and speeding up the day-to-day management and processing of service user records.  ECLIPSE also impressed the CQC inspectors who stated in their report that our “new system means that people’s health and well-being can be monitored closely and any changes identified, and treated without delay.  People’s care plans were very person centred and clearly described their care, treatment and support needs. The care plan format was easy for people who used the service to understand by using lots of pictures”.

Removing all paper-based records, has not only saved an enormous amount of space, it means that accessing records is much quicker and more secure.

These improvements have resulted in staff spending less time on admin-related duties.  Instead, support workers update records directly onto the case management system on their tablets, anytime and anywhere, which omits the need to go into an office and type up notes. In turn, this enabled the reallocation of time to our service users, maximising face-to-face time.

As our service users have varying levels of verbal communication skills and ability to understand written documents, we ensure that information is presented in a way that enables them to understand.  Our system allows services users to sign and input into their own care plans, which simplifies the process for those who struggle with reading and writing.  What’s really nice is that they can now share memory books with their families which contain photos, videos and even audio recordings of their activities.

Evidencing has improved greatly and we use ECLIPSE to provide real-time information on what the service provides for commissioners and purchasing authorities.  There is a clear audit trail for commissioners to easily see where their money is being spent, and we upload photographs as additional evidence too which wasn’t possible when paper-based.

Our overall approach to the business has enabled us to create a profitable, twice-rated outstanding CQC service; and we aim to ensure it remains a sustainable, ground-breaking care model.

Tags : Best practiceCare Home ManagementCQCInnovationlearning disabilitiesOutstanding
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The author Lee Peart

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