It is such a difficult and challenging time across the whole Health and Social Care industry and, on closely monitoring the national crisis, I have honestly struggled to comprehend the situation let alone write a blog for the industry where the absolute priority is for everyone to be kept safe and well. It goes without saying that care and support providers are delivering the highest quality of services in the most challenging circumstances and in unprecedented times that none of us have even seen nor even imagined in our lifetimes.
As a mum of 2 teenage boys, I have turned some of my attention to keeping a ‘compliant’ and structured approach to our family in lockdown and applied my care and support project management approach to our family, initially to the absolute dismay of my boys.
I instigated a weekly Family Lockdown Review Meeting and for those who know me well, I always need a plan, so devised a suitable agenda, timing (following a good brunch on a Saturday), as I know that well fed family members would potentially be more receptive to the meeting agenda items and details of any outstanding actions that needed to be addressed. It soon became apparent that I was actually applying all of the tricks of my trade to provide a caring, supportive, communicative, engaging, respectful, honest and structured approach to improve all of our lives, through the power of effective communication.
I consulted and engaged with my audience and, as a result, now cover all outstanding actions from the previous weeks’ meeting to check on progress made, review of the week for all, roles and responsibilities around the house (as we all need them), routines including school, exercise and our virtual work and social arrangements and to finish off to ask everyone how we can all make things better, for all. I have only just stopping short of creating my much loved compliance tool of a service improvement plan, although as the weeks progress, this is always a possibility!
With my Xceed Care Compliance head on and with quality assurance and compliance in mind, I give everyone the opportunity to produce ‘evidence’ often in photo format of things that may or may not have gone so well in the week. We would evidence the successes and achievements made including improvements to the house, garden, school work completed but we would also evidence where improvements could be made such as mounds of shoes dumped near the back door, towels left on the bathroom floor for the bathroom fairy to pick up, plates and pots left abandoned in the lounge and generally where things needed to improve for the happiness and comfort of us all.
The first few weeks were quite tough going. The boys (including my husband!) were not really engaging and finding all the excuses in the book to delay or even avoid the meetings but as the weeks have passed, we have all settled into our weekly Family Meeting routine and it has really brought home the importance of the following things that we all often take for granted in life, it also provides a platform to laugh at the ‘not so appropriate behaviours’, of which my husband seems to be the consistent league leader and again, for those who know him, this will come as no surprise!
The meetings have also led to a daily text or e-mail to everyone to cover ‘family schedules and updates’, where we all contribute to the structure and routine for the day ahead, so everyone knows what to expect and when to expect it and how important their contribution is. Again, it started as a slow burner but now I get pulled up if the family update has not been sent by a certain time, so I see this as a definite success!
The process has highlighted that no matter what setting we are in whether it be social, family or work that positive, engaging, transparent, open, honest and effective methods of communication are essential, enabling everyone to have their voice, opinion be heard and for all to take responsibility and to make changes to improve all areas of our lives.
Roles and responsibilities, we all need them. We all need to know what is expected of us, by who, by when and what the expected outcomes are.
New routines and structures are essential as we all adapt to our lives in lockdown and above all else, to make sure that everyone knows that we have many things to look forward to, despite the daily challenges that we are all facing.
Quality assurance and compliance is more important now than ever and see this as a good time to reevaluate and review their effectiveness, identify any gaps and plan to improve!
Regulatory and Commissioner requirements expect the highest standards and levels of communication and the more this can be evidenced, particularly in this incredibly challenging period, the greater the level of assurance for service users, staff and stakeholders.
In whatever setting, it is so important to receive the appropriate level of information in the right format, at the right time and by the right source. All in all to make things better. To make life easier. The power of effective and positive communication has no limits. Never under estimate the positive impact of effective communication.
Thank you to all of our carers, key workers and to everyone working in front line services. You are all true heroes.