The Swift Management Team have recently completed an assignment providing managed services to a care home in difficulty. A series of events meant that the operation could not continue as it was.
The home had been established for more than 20 years and had initially been managed by the current owner’s mother, who had died. The owner had very limited experience but wanted to maintain the legacy of her mother. She was supported by a deputy manager with experience for a number of years. At the same time as the deputy manager had decided to retire, the owner became heavily embroiled in family issues. The owner knew that the only real solution was to sell the home as she could no longer be so involved in the day to day management.
The process of selling the home commenced, but in the intervening period, the standards at the home had declined and concerns were being raised by outside agencies. The owner quickly found herself unable to cope with demands on her time, the regulators had inspected twice and the home had moved from being rated Good to being rated Inadequate. The local authority had also raised 16 serious safeguarding concerns. At the time the Swift Management team became involved the home was in extreme difficulty and was under immense scrutiny.
We were engaged by the owner to manage the service on a full time basis and we agreed to provide 7 days a week presence at the home. Our consultants often worked on a shift basis over a 24 hour period when the situation was at high point and the local authority had no confidence in the service when we were not present in the home. Training was key to restoring confidence and this we carried out using a mixture of face to face training and e-learning. Supervision was also key in making the changes happen. Staff wanted to do a good job as you would expect, they simply did not know what they should be doing. We began a significant change programme, submitted a request to CQC and the local authority to overturn a notice of proposal to close the home. This was agreed and we worked closely with both CQC and the local authority, keeping them informed of changes made.
Within a very short space of time, we were able to respond to the issues at the home, we worked transparently and positively with all agencies. The home began to turnaround, safeguarding issues were closed, and we won the support of relatives and staff.
Luckily for the owner the proposed new buyer was not put off by everything that had happed since they started the purchasing process. We worked to support the new provider to gain registration with CQC to allow the purchase to go through.
There were multiple visits from the local authority that could see the changes were being made and sustained. The large scale safeguarding process was closed and within six months the home was getting very positive reviews from all concerned including an infection control audit increasing from 35% to 96%.
The home moved in one inspection from areas noted as inadequate to good bypassing requires improvement completely which is very unusual. This demonstrated how good communication with the commission and the local authority can change the outcomes.
We supported the home, during the sales process, obtained provided support within the registration process, and undertook all the transitional processes such as resident and staff consultation and the TUPE transfer for staff along with the transfer of local authority contracts.
From commencing our assignment to completion, we provided ongoing support for 9 months. The new provider has refurbished the home, with our support, the occupancy has increased from 50% to 100% and the staff are able to cope now they are adequately trained and supported. The home has also increased the number of registered beds during this time facilitating a greater financial stability.