What carers expect from their managers (Part 1): Training and information flow

Nowadays a home care manager’s most important role is to facilitate the work of their employees so that they can do their job as good as possible. When care workers can concentrate on their main tasks and not worry about unnecessary things, the quality of the service will improve remarkably.

Who’s better to suggest changes than carers themselves? Employees want to be heard. We’ve listened care workers on social media and gathered comments on what they expect from their managers, and most of all, how can managers facilitate their work.

Due to such a positive response we’ve divided the comments into four bigger themes and blog posts. This first one is about training and information flow. We’ll give managers 5 tips on how to meet their employees’ expectations.

 

Ensure proper induction and training

When a new home care manager asked for tips on being a good manager, several care workers wished for proper induction and mandatory training. As one carer said it carers want “opportunities to better one-selves”.

Think about it. Home care clients trust their well-being to the hands of a care worker – a total stranger (at least in the beginning). Trusting in that stranger’s training and experience, a huge pressure for new carers. The situation can be stressful for the care workers whether they are new in home care and/or have a new client.

When care workers are introduced properly to their calls and know they have sufficient training they will be more confident that they are able to do their best for the clients. After all one of the biggest motivator for carers is the work itself and therefore feeling of accomplishment at what one is doing allows you to give the best kind of care.

TIP1: Give care workers proper introductions to their calls.

TIP2: Keep note of training to ensure everyone has the right and updated knowhow. Compliances reports are useful for this.

Information & technology brings certainty

I’m sure you’ve heard about information flood. It is most certainly familiar to me, you and your care workers. Every carer has so many customers that it is impossible to keep on top of schedules and duties.

The old-fashioned way of solving this problem is to have documents to be printed before each visit or worse to have a folder at the customer’s home. The latter is nowadays questionable thanks to GDPR.

A Case Officer in the Information Commissioner’s Office told us: “Under the General Data Protection Regulations, data controllers are required to take steps to protect personal data. The GDPR doesn’t say that records can’t be left in client’s homes, but if they are then they should be kept physically secure – steps should be taken to protect them from inappropriate disclosure, loss or damage.” Client folders include medical and personal information which need to be protected. How can you secure that an old-fashioned client folder won’t get inappropriate disclosure, loss or damage in the client’s home? NB’s guide to GDPR

Care workers need the right information at the right time and place. First time visits especially need information beforehand. Luckily technology has made it possible to have all the information safely nearby whenever you need it. Whenever you need it, giving carers the information they need at their disposal creates a sense of confidence in their schedule and tasks.

TIP3: Ensure your care workers have an easy and secure tool to access to all the needed client information whenever they need it.

 

Information flow is needed because change is constant

How often have you heard saying: “The only thing that is constant is change”? This quote is from a Greek philosopher Heraclitus, and even though saying is old, it is still very much valid!

Care workers come and go, clients can have several different carers taking care of them, sudden sick or maternity leave turn upside down rota plans made just a moment ago and councils change their regulations. Managers and care workers need to be flexible so that these changes won’t affect the quality of the service.

Flexibility demands information flow. It’s easier to jump into another person’s call if you know some of the history of a customer beforehand and it’s easier to adjust to organisational changes when you know what’s going on in the company.

Ensuring communication is good within and between teams and departments (face-to-face, apps, calls etc.). Have plenty of carers meetings. Face-to-face communication is important especially when a company is facing big changes as carers need a chance to comment and give feedback. Many of the carers hold tacit knowledge important for the job, but as changes may occur some of the important information can be lost if only one person holds it. Ensure that tacit information is written to notes whenever in a client call or verbalised.

TIP4: Organise weekly/monthly carers meetings to ensure information flow.

TIP5: Communicate diary notes in app to see progress of care and service from other carers and to ensure tacit knowledge won’t be lost.

 

Tips for home care managers:

  • TIP1: Give care workers proper introductions to their calls.
  • TIP2: Keep note of training to ensure everyone has the right and updated knowhow. Compliances reports are useful for this. 
  • TIP3: Ensure your care workers have an easy and secure tool to access to all the needed client information whenever they need it. 
  • TIP4: Organise weekly/monthly carers meetings to ensure information flow.
  • TIP5: Communicate diary notes in app to see progress of care and service from other carers and to ensure tacit knowledge won’t be lost. 
NurseBuddy at the Care Show 2018 Birmingham