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My daughter comes to me often. A pain in her side, around her knees. Every bone imaginable has some kind of pain at some point! I have a standard answer (after I have imagined all sorts in my head and calmed myself back down), ‘You have growing pains’, I say.
She doesn’t like that. She doesn’t like it at all. ‘No it's SERIOUS’ she says. ‘I know love’, I say. ‘But it’s still growing pains’. It’s that annoying ache that won’t go away, followed usually by clothes an inch too short. A trip to buy clothes, and the inevitable pair of shoes that put us out of pocket.
Sometimes I bulk buy. I get the next size clothes up for her in the sale in anticipation. I can just go to the cupboard and get her something that fits.
So let’s get down to it. You are a small business let’s say, but you are growing... That has to hurt sometimes. Don’t let the stretch get too great before you realise what is happening.
Here are some top tips to see you through growing pains
Plan plan plan (yes it is worth saying it 3 times). It doesn’t happen overnight – there are signs and stretching as your service expands beyond your capacity.
Risk assess the changes. If you are delivering more care to more people and you think you can manage – it is always worth risk assessing. What if an individual needs additional support? What if a member of staff goes off sick?
Prepare people for change
Prepare people for change and listen to their views, staff, service users and their families if the change will impact them. They well may have issues you have not considered.
Check your forecast and ensure you have recruitment ready to roll in advance of the stretch. Recruitment can take some time and you are not guaranteed to fill a position the first time. Ensure you use safe recruitment processes and the checks are in place to ensure the right people are in the right jobs.
Induction takes time as well – you are not guaranteed to have an ‘up and running team’. Make sure your induction processes are sound. People new to care should undertake the Care Certificate as best practice, and information can be found here. New staff should be shadowing experienced members of staff – remember this means they will not be counted in the numbers as they are learning.
Check your registration certificate
Do you need to apply to vary any conditions of registration? If you are adding a room this will constitute a change. Remember changes to the service will need to be reflected on your statement of purpose also.
Update your policies
Don’t wait until changes have happened to look into what additional policies you may need. When a business grows, more infrastructure may be necessary. Check through to see if any additions or amendments need to be in place or additional monitoring to help you manage the difference. If you are signed up to the QCS system – a whole suite of policies are available to you.
So, hopefully like my daughter – growth is inevitable… let’s just make sure we plan for it (before she steals my socks!)
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