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SAFETY & SECURITY SYSTEMS


Feedback Loop


When it comes to home care, the only effective way of monitoring and maintaining standards is to get frequent and honest comments from end users, says Paul Botsford, Head of Assisted Living Technology & Services at Secure Meters.


Like all branches of healthcare, home care has faced staggering challenges over the past 15 months; forcing us all


to consider improvements that will guarantee


quality services for the future. Those receiving home care have faced unprecedented isolation and disruption, increased health risks and the accompanying impact on wellbeing.


Home care professionals have had to adapt like never before, adopting new ways of working almost overnight, while shouldering the burden of colleagues taken ill or even lost to COVID-19. Media reporting of the wider care sector’s response during the pandemic has been stark, and oſten imbalanced, damaging the public’s trust in this most vital of healthcare services.


LOOKING AHEAD


The best way to protect and repair the reputation of the care industry is by ensuring services are optimised for safety and quality in the short term, closely monitoring standards ongoing and - most importantly - acting quickly to address any shortfall in service to safeguard for the future.


When it comes to home care, we believe that the only effective way of monitoring and maintaining standards is to get frequent and honest feedback from end users.


Other industries, such as hospitality and retail, have become adept at gathering feedback to ensure services continue to meet the changing needs of customers. Through gamification and other incentives, customers feel increasingly empowered to effect positive change from business.


With increased competition in the home care sector, we believe the best way to assess, maintain and improve service levels is through more effective engagement with customers.


CHANGING NEEDS


The benefits of regular and honest feedback are clear; offering early identification of issues and efficient intervention wherever necessary, insights into proactive service improvement, and clear data to enhance a provider’s Care Quality Commission (CQC) reporting.


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As well as playing a vital role in assessing the safety and quality of care, the CQC also monitors business leadership, organisational effectiveness and the willingness of care providers to respond to people’s changing needs.


The CQC is clear in this regard; it wants to see care providers regularly asking customers their views on the services they receive – and the feedback should be consistently good. We believe technology will be key in achieving this goal, and enabling tech will be increasingly encouraged by the regulator.


FEEDBACK AND CARE


Establishing a consistent feedback loop for the home care sector requires three things. Firstly, any new mechanism needs to be easy to use, to ensure uptake and frequent contributions. There’s only one chance to make a strong first impression and a poor experience of new tech could be disastrous.


Secondly, feedback needs to be frequent in order to develop a picture of performance over time, so that any shortfall in service can quickly be identified and action taken swiſtly before things escalate.


Thirdly, any insight gathered needs to be unbiased and reliable. No one should feel pressured into providing feedback that doesn’t present an accurate picture of their circumstances. This final pre-requisite can be especially difficult to guarantee in home care, due to the nature of relationships and established routines.


Oſten it falls upon an individual carer to conduct the majority of visits as part of a round-the-clock service, making it harder for outside observers to identify any shortfalls in the quality of care. This challenge has been particularly acute during lockdown, with staff numbers depleted by COVID and restrictions on the logistics of household visits.


In our experience, the cared-for and carer oſten develop a strong and lasting relationship – which can make it harder to provide honest or critical feedback when needed.


www.tomorrowscare.co.uk


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