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Registered Managers’ Think Tank: Our proudest moments through COVID-19

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Following the launch of HCI’s Registered Managers’ Think Tank last month, we kick things off with a positive discussion on registered managers’ (RMs) greatest achievements throughout the pandemic.

The think tank aims to stimulate debate on critical issues in the sector, from recruitment and training, to funding and social care reform.

But it also provides a means for RMs to share best practice with the wider sector and generate ideas that could trigger new ways of working.

Here, our members reveal their proudest moments through COVID and how these have shaped their teams for the better.

Claire Jackson, Good Oaks Home Care (Poole)

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“A big achievement here is the success we’ve had at keeping Covid to only a handful of cases and out of our service, and this is a testament to how well the team has implemented the infection control policies and procedures we have developed.

“When people have had to self-isolate, I have been so proud of my team for stepping up, picking up extra hours, and showing genuine care to not only their clients but their colleagues as well.

“We’ve continued to shape the service through continuous improvement, putting clients at the heart of everything we do, and keeping them updated with any changes and improvements we have made as a result of their feedback.

“I am really proud of the culture we have here at Good Oaks, with the team I am involved in shaping and, although shaping a cohesive communicative culture and ethos can be very difficult, I think it is more important now than ever. It’s the little things – recognition of people going the extra mile, or a quick phone call to check in that you can’t forget about while you’re also looking at the bigger picture and planning further improvements.”

Gemma Bristow, Radfield Home Care (Wakefield and Dewsbury)

“Our biggest achievement throughout the last 12 months, without being able to see a lot of people, is upholding our company core values. We are a family, we are proud to care and we are on your side.

“We have gone over and above to ensure we were finding alternative ways to keep in everyone in mind during these difficult times. We created lockdown treat boxes for our clients, survival kits for our care professionals, bingo sessions, virtual quizzes and sent out quizzes and puzzles to our clients.

“It shows we really do care about all of our people and felt it helped us all pull together better when it was difficult to physically be together as a team.”

Hannah Morgan, The Good Care Group (England)

“Undoubtedly the biggest achievement has been keeping rates of Covid-19 to a minimum; enabling clients to receive high quality care whilst supporting carers and head office team to continue working safely. 

“Fortunately we already had bespoke digital systems embedded, meaning that adapting to remote working and monitoring was straightforward. Use of technology has created opportunities to be more flexible and responsive to our clients’ needs – our compliance has even improved. Given all the challenges, anxiety and concern, we’re proud to say absence rates from stress have remained minimal as we found ways to connect and provide support from a distance.”

Helen Garland, Right at Home (Bournemouth and Poole)

“My biggest achievement during the pandemic has been keeping my clients and carers safe. Helped by the guidance provided by Right at Home National Office throughout, I’ve communicated clearly with clients to help them remain virus free. 

“Initially I was able to help many of my clients not to panic and decide to stop all care, by explaining how we could continue delivering safe care. After that, I was pleased that a gentle but firm message about sticking with the various lockdown measures kept my clients safe from well-meaning but potentially infectious friends and family. This helped reassure my carers too. For my carers, I may have sounded like a stuck record as I gently badgered and continually checked infection control measures.  Although I can never be complacent, these checks and reminders have made infection control second nature and I hope will keep my team and my clients safe going forward.”

Karen Rides, Bluebird Care (Camden and Hampstead)

“I am proud to say we have continued to support our staff in completing their Level 2/3 in Health and Social Care diplomas, and three office members with their Level 5 Leadership and Management diploma. We have had blood, sweat and tears due to change of assessors, but a record of 15 staff have completed their training and walked away with a certificate they are proud of. When speaking with my CQC inspector, she congratulated me as we have continued to commit to our staff development.”

Oona Corke, PillarCare

“The way that our care team pulled together to protect, and continue to provide care for, our service users through the pandemic has been an experience that has made us prouder than ever of our exceptional care team.

“We have had carers who have put their own lives on hold to ensure that they could minimise putting the person they care for at risk and prioritised their work during the hardest year most of us can remember. Our management team have also overcome the seemingly impossible task of delivering the ‘human touch’ we are known for remotely, to our service users and our care team, and this all-hands-on-deck approach has made us stronger than ever as a team.”

Robert Stephenson-Padron, Penrose Care

“Working along heroes is my proudest achievement during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020-21. This heroism has led to a number of positive things, which have provided light during this dark period in history.

“For instance, Penrose Care users have been COVID-19 free since the start of the pandemic –  a testament to the professionalism of my colleagues; we supported other health and social care organisations by delivering them PPE during lockdown one; and we became the founder of the Streatery movement in London by organising the Belsize Village Streatery, which allowed people to dine safely during the summer of 2020, including our own staff, and helped save over 100 hospitality jobs in our north London community of Belsize Village.”

Sarah Richards, Carefound Home Care (Nottingham)

“Overall, I am most proud of the fact that I have managed to successfully open our latest Carefound Home Care office in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. We have recruited an amazing team of carers who have shown resilience throughout.

“We have also seen that our locally-managed operating model and extensive use of technology have enabled us to maintain excellent levels of communication and team morale. As a result, we have not only seen excellent growth and quality across our service, but we have also prevented any cases of Covid-19 within our carer or client base to date.”

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Sarah Clarke

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