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The most awful Game of Chess…
The care brokerage team have been on the phone constantly these past few weeks. There are lots of new cases to be sourced and urgently. The hospital is under huge pressure to discharge people and they are coming to Homecare providers wanting hourly updates on whether a care package has yet been sourced.
Along with trying to source new packages, Providers will inevitably lose packages for a number of reasons. The turnover of cases can be quite high due to the nature of the business.
In order to accommodate new cases quickly and effectively there has to be an element of flexibility within your service. But this flexibility is a major problem for providers and can cause complaints and concerns when any even slight changes are made.
Continuity of Care is the key to providing a high quality service. Everyone knows that. Older people like to see the same faces coming through the door and over a period of time Carers become familiar with the client and their needs and can spot signs of medical deterioration and early warning signs of possible abuse. But there are some occasions when making changes to a regular care team is necessary and inevitable.
The analogy I use when trying to explain the situation is a game of chess. You can pick up individual pieces and move them around the board carefully and strategically. Let me explain. As a Manager you are aware of how many people you have in your workforce. You are aware of the times that they work and the areas they are familiar with. You are aware of the skills and capabilities. And sometimes you have to make the decision to change a team of carers in order for the greater good.
But you are also acutely aware of how these changes impact on your service users. There is no easy way to tell a service user that Julia who has been visiting for 12 months is no longer coming. But communication is absolutely critical. You need to talk to those service users affected as early as you can about possible changes to keyworkers (and even on some occasion their usual call times). Explaining why you are making these changes and explaining the context usually helps. You need to let the service user and their family’s know who is coming in replacement of their regular and at what time they should expect them. This also helps alleviate individual worries and concerns. It is never an easy task for any Homecare provider but unfortunately at times of high demand it is unavoidable.
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