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working in care blog posts

  • 23 Dec 2020 13:41 | Anonymous

    Always ask ‘could it be sepsis?’, that’s what we have learnt over recent years when noticing any of the insidious signs so easy to miss yet so life threatening for those living in care homes.

    I have said throughout this year dominated by coronavirus that the virus hasn’t cured sepsis and in fact even as I type this sepsis remains the world’s biggest killer above Covid and cancer too with 11 million global deaths in 2017.  In the UK we see 56,000 deaths and 144,000 cases each year (box1).

    Over the 9 years of the Devon Care Kite Mark, the predecessor to the Devon Care Home Collaborative, of the many things we have done together as a Devon residential care provider led initiative, introducing the reciprocal peer review programme has perhaps been one of the most impactful elements.  During all this time we have visited and been visited by many colleagues who understand the challenges and the importance of ‘sharing our treasure’.  Every peer review I have done has included asking appreciative inquiry based questions of the senior team being visited about sepsis (box 2).

    DCKM Sepsis Peer Review questions:

    1. Score your home on a 1-10 scale re overall re SEPSIS recognition and management…… Talk about this..
    2. Have your staff had any training? Tell us about this..
    3. Are you aware of the tools and material provided by the UK Sepsis Trust? Speak to 2 staff members about sepsis…….
    4. Have you dealt with any cases at your home?
    5. What learning, what went well & what didn’t?

    I know there is greater expertise in our NHS system and working together in how we skill ourselves us is vital – we are so grateful to Pippa Richards for example – the Sepsis lead nurse at Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton, who as a friend of the Kite Mark gave time to support us with key facts and do’s and don’ts on sepsis recognition, response and care including a talk at last year’s annual DCKM December ‘Jamboree’ also joined by Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector at the Care Quality Commission.  Whilst we have had our first year without our annual celebration of work, welcoming friends and guests as well as the marvellous festive cakes we always share, we do intend to make sure 2021 has lots of opportunities to come together and share work including our own best practice top tips on how we address Sepsis in our work.

    All of our staff have been very receptive to the key message in this piece – if concerned about signs of decline or deterioration in any of our residents we must raise an alert and when speaking to colleagues or seeking external help and say “we are not sure but it could be sepsis”.  Reporting this as a risk could save a life mindful of another of the things I will always say when talking about sepsis; “every missed hour that passes where we don’t get help for a person with sepsis, the chance of fatality increases by 7%”.  So just to say again- always ask ‘could it be sepsis?’. 

    - George Coxon
  • 8 Dec 2020 17:24 | Anonymous

    I’m not good enough. Why did I do that? I’m wasting your time. I’ve done it wrong. They don’t believe me. Why did I say that? They don’t want me here. What is wrong with me?

    Many of us live with a mental health problem.

    I live with anxiety. Often my thoughts get stuck on loop and I struggle to break a continuous feeling that I am inadequate in both who I am and what I do. Even as I write this, I do so wondering whether this will be worth the time I’m spending on it.

    I’m fortunate in that I work for an employer who recognises the importance of acknowledging that I can suffer from poor mental health and encourages me to be open about it. I am told that the strength of a group relies on the strength of the individuals within. By understanding each other we can work together more effectively to support those who live at our homes.

    That encompasses all professional relationships within the home - carer to carer, carer to manager, manager to catering staff. After all, how can we expect to take of others if we cannot look after ourselves. By coming together, we can achieve and sustain the outstanding standards we set ourselves in providing care.

    When I started with the Evolve Care Group, I was encouraged to be open and embrace my identity. I must admit that this made me feel somewhat uncomfortable. I didn’t want to present my baggage or air my dirty laundry in full view for all to see. But by embracing the openness and honesty bred throughout the company I now enjoy a two-way relationship that benefits both my employer and I. This ‘culture of comfortability’ created in my place of work allows for others to recognise when I am struggling and give me either the space or reassurance I need for me to operate to the best of my abilities.

    - Josh De Witt
  • 27 Nov 2020 12:57 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    For me family has always been the people around you that you can rely on – the ones that are always there, the ones who don’t judge, the ones that you will do anything for.

    When designing a model of care we wanted to instill these family values in the team; into the community that we called a care home.

    We have found that the language that we use, the labels that we attach to both people and interactions are extremely important. The word that is used to describe a person can set the tone of the way in which we approach them.

    The label family immediately gives a different status to the person about whom you are referring to. You give your family member more importance than the unnamed person that you met on the street two days ago. If someone is your family member there is a social expectation that you will know everything about that person. If I asked you when your Aunt’s birthday is, there would be an expectation that you would know.

    These values are values that we want to actively encourage in care communities.

    So we dived into the world of sociology and found the generally accepted definition of family member to be:

    “We’ll define family as a socially recognized group (usually joined by blood, marriage, cohabitation, or adoption) that forms an emotional connection and serves as an economic unit of society. Sociologists identify different types of families based on how one enters into them.”

    At the time it made perfect sense. We want to create families within our communities where the barriers are broken down, people are important to each other, and love and bonds are created through knowledge of each other's life histories. It is our hope that our families will then be able to share their dreams and desires with each other.

    So in place of the word service user, resident or client we asked our teams to refer to those people living with us as their family members. The label creates the attitude and drives the values and behaviour that one would expect in a care setting; trust, happiness, openness and love. To be a family member in an Evolve Community does not mean that we are replacing the original family – we simply become an extension of each other’s families in order that we can work together to support the person in care.

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