Sadly, the care home profession is too often in the media for the wrong reasons. Earlier this year, many reported on an “alarming rise in reports of care home abuse”. Stories such as these often overshadow much of the excellent care that so many care homes provide. However, they are also a reminder that things can go wrong.
What can Care Homes do to ensure, as best they can, that serious incidents don’t occur, and what should they do if they find themselves at the centre of a serious event?
Performance Management of Staff
Managing the performance of staff is key. Good management promotes a supportive workplace culture and the health and well-being of staff, all of which has a positive impact on the quality of care you provide and the success of your business as a whole.
Unfortunately, mistakes do occur, and sometimes they are serious enough to justify a formal warning or even dismissal. In the care home sector especially, mistakes can have a serious impact on the very people you care for, and their wider families. When staff do not perform to the standard required, it can negatively impact those in your care, and cause wider reputational damage for your business.
For these reasons, effectively managing poor performance of staff can go a long way to preventing serious incidents occurring. Should a mistake be made, handling the situation correctly is important if you are to minimise damage to your business and reputation whilst also being fully compliant with current legislation and the law.
Preparation is key
The importance of having the right policies and procedures in place can’t be overstated, as is effectively communicating these policies and procedures to all staff. If management aren’t consistent in their approach to capability and/or disciplinary proceedings, you can run the risk of an employee seeking compensation for unfair dismissal or discrimination. For this reason, it’s advisable for all managers to have training to fully understand how to manage any poorly performing staff, handle capability and disciplinary problems, and to ensure that the handling of poorly performing employees is consistent, no matter who is involved.
As well as following correct procedures, you also need to be aware of regulatory requirements. This is especially important should any serious incidents occur. For example, if there are any allegations of abuse, the Care Quality Commission must be informed and, in certain circumstances, the police notified. Ensuring management have a thorough understanding of the regulatory and legal requirements surrounding serious incidents will ensure that, should a serious event occur, it is handled correctly, and well.
Highlight Positive Performance
Of course, good people management isn’t just about managing poorly performing staff. Rewarding those who are performing well is equally as important. Having clear job descriptions can provide an excellent benchmark against which performance can be evaluated. It’s also an effective way of making clear to all employees what is expected of them. Recognising and rewarding good performance can pay dividends in boosting staff morale and inspire those who aren’t performing well, all of which helps create a workplace culture where everyone aspires to perform at their best.
By Emma Edis, specialist in employment law, Moore Blatch