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It probably goes without saying that having robust policies and procedures is an essential element for providing an effective and quality service in your domiciliary care agency.
Policies shouldn’t be filed away and only dusted off when an inspection is due or when a problem arises. They should be working documents that are easily accessible to staff and they should be updated regularly.
Staff need to know what is required of them and what the correct procedure is for any given function of the home care provision. Without this, they can’t carry out their roles effectively.
Clear key domiciliary care policies should be a roadmap for what the service needs to do to achieve the best quality service possible.
With over 100 policies to contend with, it is important that they are regularly updated and used in a meaningful way. Without them, there is no way to ensure compliance, safety and the delivery of quality care.
It is important that they are well thought out, frequently updated and routinely referred to by staff.
Here are a few examples of important domiciliary care policies, what they mean and why they are important.
Accessible information and communication policy
The Accessible Information and Communication policy (AIS) was issued in 2016 to meet NHS requirements.
The aim of the policy is to improve the quality and safety of care for individuals with information and communication needs relating to a disability or mental health condition.
The policy is made up of five steps:
- Ask – staff should identify if the person has any communication needs relating to a disability. If they do, find out what they are
- Record – record the information in a clear and standardised way either electronically, on paper records, or both
- Flag – this is about making sure that the needs are highly visible on the records
- Share – data sharing where appropriate with interested parties about the communication needs of the individuals
Examples of clear face-to-face communication include making sure you have their attention before trying to communicate, identifying yourself clearly, and keeping face and lips visible.
In printed communication making sure you use a minimum font size of 12, use a sans serif font, and ensure plenty of white space can all be helpful.
Good governance policy
Governance is a term that is used across all sectors to describe a measure or benchmark that ensures transparency and openness of decision making.
Governance policies are generally put in place to show that a company is committed to working collaboratively, inclusively and constructively both internally and with external bodies.
Good governance practices can help organisations to provide strong leadership by:
- Ensuring delivery of organisational purpose
- Working effectively as a team and individually
- Exercising effective control
- Understanding their role
- Behaving with integrity
- Being open and accountable.
The policy should also explain that board members must take care to be inclusive, respectful, courteous, and open to listening to all points of view while learning from each other.
A well-implemented governance policy will help to ensure that service users receive the highest quality of support and care and have a say in the running of the organisation.
They are also able and free to complain about any aspect of the service through a robust and transparent complaints procedure.
Spot checks for new staff
Monitoring new staff during the onboarding process is very important in the domiciliary care sector.
Service users need to feel safe, well-looked after and taken seriously by professional staff.
The spot checks benefit staff too, as they can help to identify any training needs or the need for additional support from line managers.
The general consensus is that spot checks take place weekly for new staff until the end of their probation period. The kind of things that are noted on spot checks could include:
- Presence of identity badge
- Familiarity with the care plan
- Communication skills
- Awareness of confidentiality guidelines
- Professionalism and friendliness
- Appropriate recording
- Assistance with personal care
- Promotion of self-care
- Assisting with eating and drinking
- Assistance with moving and handling
- Supporting those who lack capacity
- Respect for privacy and dignity
- Training needs
Confidentiality, record keeping, and data protection
There are seven principles covering the use of personal confidential information that were set out by the Caldicott Report in 1997.
It is obviously important to be able to share relevant health-related data in a care context but it is also important to protect the rights of patients and service uses.
A review of the Caldicott Principles was carried out in 2012 and the rules are as follows:
- Justify the purpose(s) for using confidential information
- Only use confidential information when absolutely necessary
- Use the minimum information that is required
- Access to confidential information should be on a strict need-to-know basis
- Everyone must understand their responsibilities
- Everyone must understand and comply with the law
- The duty to share personal information can be as important as the duty to have regard for patient confidentiality
Using these principles as a guide, health and social care colleagues should be confident to share information in the best interests of patients and service users.
Accidents, incident and emergencies reporting
It is important that domiciliary care staff report any accidents or incidents immediately after they happen or are discovered, no matter how minor.
They should be reported to a manager, recorded and investigated. The purpose of this is not to apportion blame, but to ensure that similar accidents are avoided in the future.
As well as internal accident reporting, employers must also conform to the duties outlined under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR).
A full and accessible policy should be in place for each of these mentioned, plus over 100 other domiciliary policies so that staff have the tools they need to carry out their jobs in a professional, safe and respectful way.
uRoster Domiciliary Care Software
Here at uRoster, we are developing a comprehensive care management system for domiciliary care providers, launching in 2022.
Our complete solution will support providers to stay connected with their employees and clients, while easily recording and sharing compliant and accurate care records.
The uRosterCare system will also be able to help with evidencing these domiciliary care policies.
It has been designed with the CQC Key Lines of Enquiry (KLOE) as a framework, meaning the data fields, reports and actions available to you to complete, record and report on throughout the system will help evidence your practice.
If you’d like to know more, get in touch with us today - we’re always keen to chat.Contact Us
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