We have received an increased number of enquiries from care home providers because of the changing relationships between staff and care home manager throughout the pandemic. Whilst they understand why relationships have been tested, building bridges at the current time seems almost impossible.
From the managers perspective, they have been faced with challenges on almost a daily basis. Managing sickness, absence due to isolation, implementing testing for residents and staff, additional risk assessments, arranging visiting arrangements and flexing with government guidelines often at very short notice are just some of the situations that care providers have tackled over the last year. Everything that has changed for the registered manager has brought with it significant additional paperwork.
Managers have needed to be focused and determined on occasions just to hold the service together. This has meant significantly less time to devote to the care of staff, not because they have changed as a manager, but the need to prioritise has.
The staff have also gone through a difficult time as well. They have had to adapt to working in PPE, working long hours to cover shifts and care for residents dying from a cruel indiscriminate disease.
Many staff around the country have even lived in the care homes they work in to avoid bringing the virus into the home. They have tried to work to protect their residents and their families all at the same time. They have certainly gone through a lot, this coupled with the often negative press about social care staff, has taken its toll on everyone.
The good will of managers and staff alike is beginning to wane. Many companies, large and small are looking to reset as the country moves forward and out of lockdown.
Some providers are reporting a split between the staff and management, with an increase in the number of grievances and anonymous complaints from staff to regulators and local authority safeguarding teams. This is exacerbating the divide between staff and management and in many cases has been counterproductive as managers become consumed in even more paperwork to address the issues. One provider stated, “it is a self-perpetuating downward spiral”. Finding a way to re-energise the relationship can be tough!
Many managers have benefited from working with the Swift Management Team, some have found our retained services invaluable, as they get support when they need it along with regular visits assistance with investigations and action planning. We bring a fresh pair of eyes! This has also helped reset the relationship with the staff, as they feel there is an external oversight, and they have somewhere to take their concerns.
We have also found that giving staff a way to raise concerns, to be able to say how they feel anonymously has helped to. We offer a staff engagement survey which enables everyone to say how they feel, responding to specific questions tailored to your service. We provide a report, which whilst anonymised can be given to staff and regulators, to show a provider is taking things seriously. We then work with you to create an action plan, keeping that staff informed on a “You Said We Did” monthly newsletter. This has really helped settle things down after what can only be described as a turbulent year for care services.
To find out more about all our staff and resident engagement surveys why not read more.
The Team at Swift Management Services are happy to help any care provide to implement recovery packages to support managers and staff.