The voice of the care sector is important at all levels to ensure the new care models are fit for purpose.  The Care Home Programme recognised a lack of care home representation which was a major concern.  Through our Care Home Champions programme we felt that positive steps were taken to engage staff.

Within the team we recognised that communication was key to ensure staff at all levels understand the programme. To communicate with each care home, a peer support network was developed through the Care Home Champions Programme. A community group was established on What’s App and a ‘buddy’ system naturally evolved with champions exchanging contact details on the first day. A budget was set aside to pay for a representative from each care home to allocate one full day to the Care Home Programme on a monthly basis. However not many care homes claimed this money showing a desire to be involved beyond financial compensation. The Care Home Champion spent three hours a month with the Care Home Programme Team to be briefed or discuss challenges faced. They were then asked to distribute this information within their care home. They were able to allocate this time how they like, whether it’s part of a team meeting or one to one sessions. Initially Care Home Champions met bi-monthly but this felt too slow and the break in between meeting was too long. We asked the Champions if they would prefer to meet more regularly and they agreed a monthly basis felt right, allowing more momentum.

Heaven and Hell Exercise

Our Care Home Champions took part in a Future Backwards exercise, also known as Heaven and Hell.  This exercise allows participants to consider their working environment and the sector which they work in. It provides the opportunity for staff to consider their workplace operating at its optimum and at its worst, it helps understand the past and the possibilities of the future whilst identifying external and internal factors which may have an impact on the journey to heaven or hell.
Following the exercise the group themed up the information recorded, these themes are listed below:

  • Regulation

  • Workforce

  • Care Planning

  • System

  • Clinical

  • Family

  • LTCs

These themes were carried forward within the Care Home Forum which was delivered in partnership with Gateshead Council and Newcastle Gateshead CCG.