A guide to meeting Care Certificate standards: duty of care

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The Mid Staffordshire inquiry

The Veilstone and Gatooma care home convictions

The Baby P case

Each and every one of these health and social care cases shows just how badly things can go when there is a failure in duty of care.

In Part 2 of our Care Certificate Series we’re taking a look at the duty of care standard, which your carers must meet.

What do your carers need to know?

As a quick reminder of what this standard entails, below are the main areas of focus.

Your carers must understand:

1) how duty of care contributes to safe practice in their work

2) the support available for resolving conflicts and dilemmas between duty of care and individual rights, and what their role is in this context.

This standard also requires that your carers know how to handle:

1) comments and complaints, in line with legislation and agreed ways of working, as well as how to learn from these situations to improve quality of care

2) incidents, errors, and near misses, and their reporting, in line with legislation and agreed ways of working

3) confrontation and difficult situations, including where to access support, reporting, reducing risks, and using communication for resolution.

Duty of care is not optional. Your carers must strive to provide high quality care to the best of their ability, and if they can’t, provide reasons as to why. Duty of care lies at the heart of homecare and without it there is a high price to pay.

Why the duty of care standard matters

The examples at the start of this blog show extreme cases of failure in duty of care, but even small lapses in duty of care can have significant repercussions.

A failure in duty of care doesn’t necessarily mean intentional neglect or carelessness. All it takes is not keeping up to date with current best practice, not handling confrontation or complaints appropriately, not responding to the changing needs of a service user, or not raising concerns about the potential abuse or neglect of a service user.

In each of the above examples, the service user’s health and wellbeing is put at risk, the very thing you as a homecare agency is tasked with protecting. This leaves your agency vulnerable to legal action and complaints, with the resulting damage to your reputation crippling your agency.

How can On.Board help?

Satisfying the requirements of duty of care means ensuring your carers receive complete, up to date care training, which enables them to effectively respond to service users’ needs. It also requires creating a workplace culture that encourages communication, such that carers are comfortable to raise concerns about the care and wellbeing of their service users. On.Board promotes each of these by:

1) Providing a flexible, customisable training platform

E-learning is a significant part of care training, but it doesn’t automatically keep up with the latest changes in policy or updates to best practice. On.Board allows you to upload new policy documents or embed online content to address what’s happening in the homecare industry right now.

You can then assess how well your carers have taken on board these changes through the use of customisable forms, prompting carers to apply and reflect on this knowledge. Customisable quizzes can also help you determine if they have grasped the key take home messages.

2) Helping carers develop soft skills

Responding to service users’ needs requires effective communication skills, empathy, and compassion, as well the ability to adapt theory to everyday situations. These soft skills are best developed through one-to-one mentoring. On.Board enables this through its Performance Hub, which connects users to their mentors and managers, who are reminded to provide regular, digital feedback on their carers’ training.

This level of feedback helps reinforce learning, passes on valuable experiences from those more seasoned in the homecare industry, and encourages positive approaches to care provision.

3) Facilitating a culture of communication

By connecting service users to mentors and managers and promoting regular, digital feedback, On.Board helps keep lines of communication open, as well as providing a supportive network for each carer.

This all goes towards ensuring carers feel able to raise concerns about the care that they or others are providing to service users. For example, when they feel unable to deliver high quality care or notice signs of neglect or abuse. This fosters a culture of transparency at your agency, which supports your duty of care to service users.

Make sure your agency meets its duty of care with carers who deliver the best possible homecare. Make it happen with On.Board, request your free demo here.

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