By Philippa Shirtcliffe, Head of Care Quality, QCS (www.qcs.co.uk)
Most of us have experienced a sense of deep satisfaction that comes from landing a new job. For many care managers, how- ever, this initial euphoria can quickly give way to anxiety on day one. That seems to be the view of many Quality Compliance Systems’ subscribers at least, who have chosen the QCS platform for their content, guidance, standards and compliance needs.
As Head of Care Quality at QCS, I know this because our fantastic customer care team, which is constantly talking to our 5,000-plus subscribers, says that one of the greatest challenges managers face when starting a new role is seamlessly hitting the ground running due to incompatible managerial frameworks and admin systems, which are radically different to the ones they left behind. This means that care managers who leave their role for a new one often struggle to quickly identify what areas need to be addressed and, also, the content that staff and service user’s files should contain.
There is also compliance to consider. Regulation 17 of the CQC’s Good Governance, for example, dictates that providers must meet specific criteria. They must maintain “an accurate, complete and contemporaneous record” of each service user they care for. Secondly, they should keep accurate and up-to-date records of staff, and thirdly, providers must show that all regulated activities are managed effectively and efficiently.
The question is, if the work environment is very different to the one that you left, where do you begin? The answer is very simple – with a list of course. Whenever I left one job for the next – I would start with blank and conduct in-depth Gap Analysis. Put simply, the analysis enabled me to establish the staff and service user documents that were already in place and the documentation that was missing.
Take staff documents, for instance. The first point to consider is whether there is comprehensive set of policies and procedures in place to recruit new starters. The key is to think laterally. When a new staff member arrives at work on their first day, what completed documents should you already have in place? Right to Work Information, proof of NI number and completed references should have already been collected, checked or filled out. But, in addition, it’s important to be able to scope out what the new recruit will actually be doing. Does their role require a driving license? If so, the provider may need to check to ensure MOT documents are in place and also confirm they have the correct levels of insurance.
Training is another key area. And I think the most important point is to think of all the different roles that people working in a care home will do. There are myriad of roles to think about. Have all staff, for instance, received the most up-to-date training? Do those whose job it is to order and administer medication have the right skillsets? Do kitchen staff know how to lift supplies with the correct technique. If not, then they will
require specialist H&S training. There’s IPC, Mental Capacity Act training, Safeguarding and training around Data Protection and cyber-security to also consider. Nutrition and Hydration, food hygiene and Health & Safety are areas which are in constant flux. They not only need to be on the list, but Registered Managers must ensure that the service is compliant but that the staff have access to the latest best practice guidance and con- tent.
Away from training, there are other documents too that need to go on the list. So what are they? Managers should consider creating a Recruitment pack that includes an application form and all documents needed to start the onboarding journey of a new employee.
And what about Service Users? When setting up a service user file, it’s important that the information about the person using the service is at the front. The first document, therefore, should be devoted to ensuring that staff are able to correctly log service user details. From a wider compliance perspective, there should be files contracts and Local Authority/CCG Plans. The Service User Checklist should also include care plans lists, Audit lists and a Communication list. Finally, I would advise making room for a specialist checklist for the Coronavirus and lists should also include a ‘Complaints Log’ and a ‘Reviews checklist’.
If you’re a manager reading this and want more information or advice, it’s something that we at QCS have thought about a great deal. Our con- tent team has created a Staff and Service User Files Checklist document. It includes every document that managers need and links those files to up-to-date policies and best practice guidance. You can down- load it by clicking https://tinyurl.com/388jpsw7