This week I have been meeting with the Senior Homecare workers and getting an update on the vital work they undertake.
Homecare workers often work in isolation, with no immediate connection to their colleagues. They can work for months and not meet, or bump into, their colleagues. Due to the nature of the work, it’s easy for homecare workers to feel disengaged from the companies they work for because they do not see them on a daily basis. It is easy for staff to fall into the trap of thinking they work for themselves as they do not see their line managers on a daily, or even weekly, basis.
To counteract this effect you need to have a good strategy in place, and that is where our Seniors step in.
The Seniors are responsible for a number of tasks including training and supervising new and inexperienced Carers working in their geographical area. Fundamentally their work is centred around supporting all the staff working alongside them and to act as a link between the Homecare staff and our office staff.
Communication between staff and Seniors is encouraged and the Seniors have one identified point of contact in the office to feedback any information.
Engendering good support networks is vital
The most critical part of the strategy is to ensure Homecare workers feel part of a team, and to let them know there is support for them from someone who can help and guide them. Colleagues that
they can identify with, who have perhaps experienced similar issues or concerns. Colleagues who have a broad knowledge of the industry and bags of experience, who can share stories of good practice when you are faced with a particularly difficult or complex case. Colleagues who can ensure their concerns are raised with the most appropriate person and to ensure their voice and opinion is expressed and considered.
Homecare workers are not highly paid, nor do they receive the national recognition they deserve which undermines the extraordinary and difficult work they do.
Making sure the workforce feels valued and supported and less isolated can often be difficult and having a Senior around to contact for support and guidance is all important. Homecare workers may not see their colleagues but it is reassuring to know that they are there for them if needed to provide a listening ear.
I believe that how well we care for our Homecare staff is reflected in the way they treat our service users.