Providing care and support at home

Staff member supporting resident in the kitchenWe’re the country’s largest voluntary sector provider of social care services for disabled people. Every year we support thousands of people by offering:

Whenever we are asked to support an individual, we start by listening to what they want to achieve and how they would like any support delivered.

What we achieved last year

Supporting disabled people in the best possible way

At a time when the care sector came under increasing scrutiny, we wanted to make sure our services were not just compliant, but the very best they could be. Of course, it’s important to note that we work hard to maintain our ratings from all our regulators, but we constantly looked for ways to improve.

We ran extra surveys with disabled people to find out how we could make our services better. These gave us a snapshot of particular services and areas. For instance, our ‘friends and family’ surveys examined the perceptions of how we provide support to their relative or friend — further evidence of how well our services are working.

At the same time, we rolled out our own unannounced visits to homes with care, to help us identify any issues or opportunities at an early stage. These visits are now ‘business as usual’. We also set occupancy targets for our residential services and supported living and were very pleased to exceed them. On average, our services were well over 90% full. This means we’re reaching the people who need us. Even so, we’ll keep striving to fill services wherever there are vacancies and to open more where there is unmet demand.

‘Thank you for the great care provided to my mother in your respite centre at The Grange. She looked so well after her stay and you treated her so kindly.’ — family member

Starting our Future Choices programme

We laid the groundwork for Future Choices, the most ambitious programme we’ve ever developed, to ensure that disabled people’s views are always at the heart of what we do. Through this ‘co-production’ project, we’ll speak to every single person using our services to understand what they want from their future. We’ll then take what we’ve heard and examine any overarching themes, both at a local and national level. For instance, we might discover that people in a particular community need extra support with employability training, while people across the whole country are concerned about accessible transport. We can use what we learn to inform all our work — not just in terms of the services we provide.

It quickly became evident that there was huge interest in Future Choices from the care sector. So, we expanded our initial research programme and strengthened our evaluation criteria to ensure what we learn can inform not only all our own services, but other care providers too. We also developed a video to explain the scope and ambition of the programme to all our staff and volunteers. We will now launch Future Choices in the summer of 2015, starting with our homes with care and then with supported living to follow in subsequent years.

Making sure we have the right staff with the right skills

We worked hard to make sure that our staff have the right skills to support disabled people, particularly those 6,100 team members working on the front line. We ran an extensive training programme for staff to help them understand their obligations under the new Care Act, particularly around the duty of candour, safeguarding and whistleblowing. The training also covered the new inspection regime of the Care Quality Commission in England. We also found ways to celebrate the exceptional work of our people. We launched new staff recognition awards, to highlight great team members and inspire others to aim even higher.

‘Thanks for the kind and considerate nature that all the carers at Wiltshire Care at Home show, and for the vital role that you play for end of life care.’ — family member

What we will do in the next year

  • Launch the Future Choices pilot in a group of care homes.
  • Look for new opportunities to support more disabled people.
  • Work hard to improve the physical environment of our properties.
  • Enhance our clinical leadership by creating a medically qualified advisory post and a new multi-disciplinary clinical forum. This will give us ready-access to leading clinical advice and support.

‘The care that Lurgan Cheshire Mews provide for people suffering with dementia is absolutely brilliant. There is a high level of professionalism and a great relationship between the service and families.’ — visitor

Spotlight on volunteering

Expanding our one-to-one volunteer programme

Volunteer sitting with wheelchair user outsideWe started a national project, not just to recruit more volunteers but to match the right disabled people with the right volunteer.

We asked disabled people in our services what support they wanted. Some wanted simple things, like a companion to go with them to the shops. Others wanted support with improving their skills, like language and literacy.

Through a recruitment drive, we found 500 more volunteers who could offer the right support. Now, more disabled people can enjoy the company and friendship of people who share their interests.