It’s quite common to hear about ‘person-centred approaches, ‘choice and control’, and ‘self-directed support’ in Adult Learning Disability and Autism services; but we don’t often hear about innovations and personalised approaches in the delivery of older people’s care & support arrangements.
Imagineer has been delivering training in person-centred approaches including support brokerage for many years; and recently we were approached by a forward-thinking provider organisation in Devon- Love2care
This organisation provides home care support services mainly to older people across the Torbay area of Devon. They are rated as ‘outstanding’ by CQC and have a really unique, creative and personalised approach to the way they deliver their services.
Traditionally there are 3 main types of service model adopted for the care and support of older people:
The founder of Love2care Devon- Maddy Bird was keen to train her staff team in the principles of self-directed support and to develop their skills as support brokers so that they could really open up the way they supported their clients both at home beyond the traditional models of support; and also when there were any transitions into a hospital environment or a change in their care & support needs. Love2care commissioned Imagineer to deliver the full accredited support broker training to an initial group of staff at the organisation. Due to Covid-19 restrictions the training was moved to online delivery, via the zoom platform.
Maddy talks below about their experiences of doing the training and the impact it is making on their work as an organisation:
Love2care has people at the very heart of the service, and when we talk about ‘people’ we don’t just mean the person we are caring for. We mean them – absolutely; but their loved ones also – the carers who provide paid and unpaid support. We also value our team and employees, as people. We focus on getting to know what matters most on an individual basis- not just feeling like we are completing a set of tasks for someone; but that we are facilitators and part of a support system, as advocates, listening ears, and objective eyes.
I often say to people that Love2care is a person-centred organisation, because although we may be juggling a lot of changes or difficult situations; we are disciplined in our practice, ensuring that others don’t feel that strain. We are careful to ensure that people feel listened to, heard and valued. We then support each person to look at ways to address what it is that they want to achieve.
Our service is very much focused on building & maintaining positive relationships, and having clear boundaries. We work hard to avoid getting caught up in bureaucracy. We truly try to work with the people we support, so that they can live the life they want to. For me the word ‘facilitators’ is very apparent within the organisation.
My work background prior to Love2care was in a corporate organisation, and my role was ‘brokerage manager’ – working under a ‘prime provider’ framework with my local authority. I loved being able to help secure care and support for people, but what I quickly realised was just how ‘un person-centred’ the processes were. I felt that (for me) care has been a vocation, and a journey, and yet throughout my career I was starting to come further and further away from the person. I was brokering care & support for people whose names I didn’t know, as it was done via an excel spreadsheet. For me, this just wasn’t ok.
I felt that I needed to do more.
I then established Love2care, and through my work, I have just always had a passion for changing that experience. I have been able to do that via Love2care in some areas, but I then had a vision that my team around me would have the competence and the desire to support people more, enhance their lives, and also have meaningful conversations.
I think within our service we regularly felt like we had more to give, but less autonomy through local authority contracts. We equally wanted to support our local community – so there were definitely feelings of restriction and limitations in our role. I developed an idea using support brokerage, and using our CQC registration, which explored a new model of care offering the potential to free up social care time & resources; and work in a much more personalised way with people to self-direct their own support.
We really enjoyed our training. There were a couple of things for me, firstly being able to invest in my team to develop them personally and professionally; giving them a skill set and knowledge base that not all front-line social care staff have the opportunity to normally receive. The training is giving them the confidence and competence to be able to have more in depth conversations, and autonomy to look beyond a task list for people.
Secondly, what I also took away really positively was that our care and supporting planning was really person centred already. Recognising that as a home care provider, we had the resources and we were utilising them; but through completing the training we were able to go deeper. I now have more resilience and flexibility within the service, to offer people we may not necessarily need to provide with direct support, but to offer them a brokerage service that means they are feeling heard, and that they can self-direct their own support.
My staff team have the autonomy and confidence to go beyond the norm. They understand how to look at different resources, so people remain independent for longer. Even just our conversations as a team have changed – I feel that we have given people more choice and control – allowing them to make the decisions they want for their lives.
Our local commissioners are really enthusiastic about us thinking differently. We are looking at developing Individual Service Funds (ISFs) within our local teams; however due to the restrictions of Covid (and now heading into winter pressures), I think there is some delay – even though in one sense and in an odd way, I also feel that because of Covid – we are years ahead.
We will keep doing our thing, and hope that people see that a new model of care could really make a difference.
Surely we have to try?
Are you interested in finding out more?
Imagineer offers accredited support broker training, mentoring and other training/resources relating to self-directed support & strengths-based approaches regularly throughout the year.
Visit our website for further information which can be found under the drop-down menu heading ‘What we do’’ for further details; and subscribe to our mailing list to be kept up to date with future training dates.
To find out more about the work of Love2care- Devon, visit their website: https://love2care.uk/about-us/
Liz Leach Murphy is the Founder of Imagineer Development UK CIC, Chair of the National Brokerage Network and a Freelance Consultant working on personalisation within the Health and Social Care sector/community space.
Sarah Holmes is a Freelance Consultant working on personalisation within the Health and Social Care sector/community space; and a Director of Imagineer Development UK CIC.
Maddy Bird has worked within Adult Social Care for 10 years, in various roles from Community Carer, Care Coordinator, Brokerage Manager in a prime provider commissioning model, and is now founder and leader of an Outstanding Rated organisation, Love2Care Devon – established in 2017.
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