The Personal Touch!
It’s always gratifying to see a personal stamp on something, a uniqueness that resonates with you personally and is something to ultimately be treasured. For people within the social care sector having that personal stamp on the care that is being delivered is paramount and should be evident in all areas of the care process. It is also a key factor within the health and social care regulations, which have Person Centred Care at the forefront of the requirements that social care providers must meet. Achieving this personal approach can be accomplished in a variety of ways:
A robust, personalised care plan is the roots at which the personal touch begins, being able to document things such as a customer’s likes and dislikes, their behavioural attributes and ways they would like their care to be carried out is key to the success of any care being delivered. The care plan needs to be full of elements that make up the specific and individual requirements of the customer and how they would like things to be done. It should never just be a generic list of statements of what is required to be carried out.
As much relevant detail as possible should be encompassed in a robust care plan and specific personal details added. Examples of this personalisation include thinking further than simply stating that the customer would like a cup of tea. Ask the questions, how does the person like to drink their cup of tea? Is there a particular cup they use? Is the tea with milk and sugar, or do they prefer it a different way? We can never just presume that we know the way a customer likes things; all people have the right to receive the care they want.
Applying the ‘mum’s test’ is also important at all stages of care, but never more so when a care plan is being completed. Those completing the care plan should always have in the back of their minds the concept of what information they would want people to document if it was their mum or relative being given care.
Branching out from the robust and personalised care plan, care must also be personalised. Care workers will achieve this by following the specific instructions contained within the care plan; this forms the basis of the care being provided and allows care workers to form bonds with the service users as they complete the required tasks for them.
Continuity of care workers is also crucial to establishing and maintaining this bond and will ensure the personal touch remains. By keeping regular carers assigned to specific service users, this contributes further to the personalised nature and familiarity of the service being carried out and is less likely to create problems in the longer term. Carer workers will be able to build up a rapport and bond with a customer that would otherwise not form if a customer saw many different care workers over the course of a week.
Tips for the Personal Touch
As per the NICE Guidance on ensuring Person Centred Care, the following tips should be followed by social care providers to achieve person centred care:
- Ensure you support the goals and priorities of each customer, rather than providing a ‘one size fits all’ service
- Allow support to focus on what the customer can or would like to do to maintain their independence, rather than just on what they cannot do
- Prioritise continuity of care by ensuring the customer is supported by the same care worker(s)
- Have a clear process for ‘matching’ service users and care workers which considers the customer’s personal support needs, the care worker’s skills and if possible and appropriate both parties’ interests and preferences.