The project I have been working on is the development of a website for care home staff or independent care providers (and anyone who wants to access or would benefit from it).
The idea behind this was about having useful and relevant information for this care sector all in one place, at the touch of a button. For instance, local and national policy and guidance, frameworks, useful resources and tools, direct links to to organisations such as the RCN, NMC, CQC, SCIE, PHE, NICE and Skills for Care; in addition to the education/training packages, resources and learning opportunities that we (the care homes team) offer and which include study days, link groups, conferences, registered manager meetings and a quarterly newsletter which we produce.
The ultimate goal driving the project is to enhance the quality of life and death for some of the most vulnerable people in society in addition to preventing avoidable harm, hospital admissions and abuse
An element of my professional role is to share and disseminate useful links, information and resources to care homes and domiciliary care providers within North Devon, which I do regularly, sending them from our team generic email address. Doing this has highlighted to me the number of organisations who have relevant, useful information and resources to offer the independent care sector.
I strongly believe that creating a single point of access for this type of information and resources would make it easier for providers to access any and all of it whenever they need to, and increases the likelihood of them accessing it through ease of use. The obvious benefit to this being increasing their skills, knowledge and competence.
The ultimate goal driving the project is to enhance the quality of life and death for some of the most vulnerable people in society in addition to preventing avoidable harm, hospital admissions and abuse.
A substantial proportion of care homes and domiciliary care providers are private businesses who do not always have the same level of support or access to the quality assurance and governance processes that larger organisations such as the NHS or Local Authority have in place for their staff. I believe that by offering support with these key aspects of care provision will promote consistency across organisations and services, enhance collaborative working in addition to striving for a shared goal of improving the quality and effectiveness of care delivery.
A substantial proportion of care homes and domiciliary care providers are private businesses who do not always have the same level of support or access to the quality assurance and governance processes that larger organisations such as the NHS or Local Authority have in place for their staff
Aims and objectives
To offer relevant, robust, validated, evidence based education, resources, useful information and links to independent care providers within North Devon (and nationally), that are all in one place and available at the touch of a button.
Activity to date
I continually keep myself up to date with relevant information, resources and evidence based practice which I, and other members of the care homes team share with our (North Devon) independent care providers via email. I keep a running log of those I send then share them with our trust website manager (Northern Devon Healthcare Trust) who adds the information to a section of the trust website that he has created for this project (this can be accessed via a link under the name of our service - Care Homes Team).
Outputs to date
As an organisation we did not have the resources to fund and create a website, which was the original idea. Therefore, we have a section on our trust website (which can be accessed internally from the trust intranet and externally via a search engine) which will contain all of the relevant information and resources I have mentioned. This has been developed over the last year and is continually evolving.
I have encountered difficulties in terms of having the time that I would have liked to dedicate to this project to allow me to progress within the parameters of the RCN timescale.
Throughout this project I have regularly met with the website manager who has been adding the information, so we can discuss where it needs to be placed, however, I think time was lost by arranging the information on the page with each meeting. On reflection, it would have been more time effective to do this at the end when the page was as close to finishing as it could be with all the core information in place (bearing in mind this project will be continually evolving). This is because as more information has been added it became apparent that additional links, sections and sub-sections needed to be created to enhance and improve ease of use.
I strongly believe that creating a single point of access for this type of information and resources would make it easier for providers to access any and all of it whenever they need to, and increases the likelihood of them accessing it through ease of use
Reflections on impact
Although access to our section on the trust website is accessible through a search engine, I have not advertised it to our independent care providers yet as I want to get it as close to completion as I can (with core information and resources added in a user-friendly order). My aim is to inform our target audience at the end of February 2018 and to start monitoring ‘hits’ to the site from March 2018 (local and national).
In the future I plan to look at local data such as CQC inspection ratings, amount of whole service safeguarding concerns and enquiries, 111 and 999 contact/call outs, out of hours visits (GP’s and nursing) and hospital admission data to see if these have reduced since creating this resource.
Another way of evaluating the effectiveness would be to compare the scores of the pre-existing knowledge assessment (which is completed by the delegate prior to the delivery of our education sessions) to those prior to this resource being available.
Feedback from the services themselves is also another way of evaluating its effectiveness (questionnaire or survey).
In addition to improving the quality of life for older people, preventing organisational abuse as a result of poor care and omissions, reducing avoidable harm and hospital admissions, and improving collaborative working, having this information readily available could promote consistency in the approach to caring for older people and reduce unnecessary duplication of work at a local and national level.
In addition to improving the quality of life for older people, preventing organisational abuse as a result of poor care and omissions, reducing avoidable harm and hospital admissions, and improving collaborative working, having this information readily available could promote consistency in the approach to caring for older people and reduce unnecessary duplication of work at a local and national level
The way forward
A stand-alone website for independent care providers would be more accessible nationally and would offer more scope to add information and have added features in addition to relevant organisations such as the RCN and Skills for Care feeding into it and from it. It would also offer more credibility if a national organisation could host, endorse, or accredit it in addition to promoting consistency, enhancing learning and networking at a national and international level.
Ultimately, this project offers a medium to communicate to independent care providers which [...] is the single most effective tool in providing high quality health and social care
Alternatively, key organisations such as CQC, RCN, Skills for Care, NHS England, NHS Improvement, QNI, SCIE and NICE could provide direct links to the section we have on our website.
Ultimately, this project offers a medium to communicate to independent care providers which, I believe, is the single most effective tool in providing high quality health and social care.
Each member of the care homes team is on board with this work and regularly share anything they feel would be a valuable addition to our section on the website. In addition, colleagues we work closely with and who are aware of the project do the same. As a result, information is and will be continually added and updated.
We have the full support of our director and deputy director of nursing who have been instrumental in allowing me to add relevant trust policies, guidance, care planning and risk assessment tools. This offers transparency across organisations and will offer useful resources for others developing policies and guidance in addition to promoting consistency. I am currently in discussion regarding opening some of our trust’s training sessions to independent care providers (those within North Devon), which could also be added the section on the trust website; promoting a true collaborative approach to improving the quality of care, valuing and respecting all colleagues who we work in partnership with.
This project will be mentioned at our annual conference, study days we facilitate and as a rolling item for our quarterly newsletter so that our independent care providers are fully aware that is available to them via the trust website.
As a team we have discussed the benefit of adding a chat forum to encourage sharing of best practice in addition to a Twitter account in the future. We would also like to offer vacancy advertising (and guidance on values based recruitment), an agency pool and HR support and guidance.