Guest blog: Doing Care Differently

Christ Tanner, Manager of Doing Care Differently, has kindly written us a guest blog on how his team are taking a radical approach to domiciliary care:

There has been a great deal of media coverage in the past couple of years about social care, and in particular homecare – sometimes referred to as domiciliary care.  Sadly, much of it has been negative, highlighting the consequences of chronic underfunding, poor quality service and the difficulties in recruitment and retention.

However, there are very few reports about the positive impact that good quality homecare can have on an individual, nor is there a celebration of the thousands of hard working homecare staff who make a real difference to people’s lives every day, often in poor conditions and for little reward.

In the planning, design and delivery of this service equality and coproduction have been key ingredients to ensure we live our values and create the best service we can. From the onset we hosted pop events in the local community and spoke to all stakeholders including potential customers, staff and commissioners. The insights gleaned from these conversations have guided, and continue to influence the shape of the service. Crucially the staff team have a powerful voice and influence in how the service is designed and delivered. See the Person benefits from their priceless insights and challenges the historical culture of undervaluing this vital and admirable role.

There is no magic wand coming to homecare anytime soon, and there is a real risk that losing the dedicated, passionate staff that are currently holding it all together will only accelerate the crisis.

There has never been a greater need for doing care differently.

South Yorkshire Housing Association are setting out to change the status quo. Maybe even the world!  But let’s start with South Yorkshire.  SYHA are launching an innovative new homecare service called See the Person.

See the Person aims to change the way we think about, organise and deliver homecare.  Inspired by a wildly successful Dutch model for nursing called Buurtzorg, which means “Neighbourhood Care”, we will be building self-managing teams of well-trained, well-treated Support Coordinators to deliver services in local communities.

But not only deliver care, but to coordinate care.  See the Person is removing remote, detached office teams and putting the resources and investment into the people who are best placed to respond to client needs – frontline staff.  We are empowering and equipping them to be actively involved in planning and reviewing the care services that they are delivering, as well as having the time and resource to coordinate services around the individual and to support them to connect to their networks.

Their networks may be informal – such as family, friends, neighbours – or they may be community based – such as local organisations, charities and events – or they may be formal – such as their GP, District Nurses, Social Workers etc.  By connecting people to their networks, care and support becomes so much more than just getting dressed and having breakfast. 

It becomes independence.  It becomes meeting new people. It becomes trying new things.  It becomes making a meaningful contribution. It becomes more confidence. It becomes learning new skills.  It becomes a new lease of life.

See the Person is recruiting a new type of care worker.  We are delivering a new type of service.  We are taking a new type of approach.

We are doing care differently.

Emma Ward