Among the many services that we offer, one of the most important lies in helping to manage care homes achieve higher CQC ratings and uphold better standards that are up-to-date with current regulations. Fulcrum Senior Consultant, Trish Kelly, explains the processes that we take when managing a care home turnaround, as well as how the Fulcrum approach can help to overcome any potential challenges along the way.
When it comes to supporting care homes that have slipped in compliance rating due to changing regulations and need improvement, care home owners and providers may often search for expert advice to support the transition to new management processes.
Senior Consultant, Trish Kelly, is a first point of contact for many of our care home clients. Having worked in the care sector since 1993, she is an experienced care professional who is passionate about promoting best practice, whether it’s with a single care home or across larger care home groups.
“It’s not an easy task, but we love the challenge and being able to show that we can truly make a difference with the standard of care. We can support homes not just going from Inadequate to Good, but to reach Outstanding and that’s always been the key motivation to see what we can achieve with our clients.”
Our turnaround approach
When managing a care home turnaround, Trish will always look to first identify the expectations and needs that the care home provider is looking to achieve.
“Once a date has been arranged, I will always go into the care home to have a general chat and get a proper feel of the place, answering any initial questions that the provider, consultants or manager may have, and how Fulcrum can support them,” Trish explains. “It’s not an ‘I’, it’s a ‘We’ — we are always a team. We will cover what steps we’re going to go through, the tools and resources available and how we can help the management team grow and develop past our involvement.”
Trish will also use the opportunity to train new consultants that can continue overseeing the turnaround with confidence of best standards, even past her involvement.
“It’s important that our consultants have direct experience with the care homes that we help,” she says. “When I go out for a service, I will always bring somebody else with me and that’s how I’ll induct them, explaining what we look for when it comes to compliance and our recommendations on how the care home can meet the key lines of enquiry.
“Knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses is incredibly important; we’re always learning and educating each other to better support clients with our varied skillsets from different backgrounds.”
Promoting sustainable care home practices
A key aim of any care home turnaround is to ensure that new practices can be carried forward sustainably by the existing management teams as part of their own systems.
“Not only are we supporting the staff team so that the residents have the best quality of care, we work alongside the management team in close proximity and give them tools to better investigate their own process, in areas like safeguarding,” Trish explains. “We’ll demonstrate our systems the first time, then guide the management team through it so they can keep delivering best results for themselves.
“What we don’t want to do is go in for 12 weeks, get it to a very good standard where everyone’s happy, walk away and find that old habits have returned! We train them to be able to work on their own initiative and be able to complete the things they need to do to ensure compliance.”
Some of the core areas that are also covered involve:
- Dependency levels, care plans & risk assessments
- Staffing structures
- Improving commercials
- Quality assurances
“9 times out of 10, we’ll do a turnaround and they’re so happy with our service they’ll ask us to come back and do a compliance check, or to ensure they’re sustainable.
“With Fulcrum, they have an expert consultant who is impartial and can make recommendations that help them address the issues they’re having; we want to inspire them to keep delivering the best standard – not just treat it as a single instance of help.”
Overcoming challenges with care home management
When it comes to approaching a care home that needs improvement, there can often be some initial obstacles. Having worked as an Operations Manager for many years previously, Trish understands how to best engage with care management teams that may be weary of new changes.
“It’s common for us to meet resistance due to our role as an outside consultant, as many teams will immediately fear that their jobs are at risk, or question why any change is needed at all – having used the same practices for the last 20 years,” she says. “That’s why communication is so important from the start. We explain that we’re here to work with them and highlight the value they’re already bringing to the home and where it can be promoted even further.
“I’ve been a manager, so I understand their concerns and why trust is fundamental in that relationship to create the best working environment between us. We show that we are here to support them, working together to establish better standards and are on call 24/7 to help provide advice, resources and tools to always help them in their development,” she continues.
And it’s not just for care management teams, either. To achieve results that last, new processes, requirements and knowledge needs to be implemented from top to bottom at all levels of the care home team.
“Where a new owner has taken over a care home or care home group, we’ll do due diligence and risk assessment of policies, so that everyone has a better idea of where work is needed. It may be that some guidance hasn’t been updated from old ways of practice, or there are barriers against change, but we always overcome them by demonstrating our value.
“Some of the managers we have worked with are still contacting me after a year! It just goes to show that we know what we’re doing and have built our reputation on those relationships.”
Join the Fulcrum team
At Fulcrum, we are always looking for experienced care professionals from a variety of backgrounds to help us continue to support best practice across the UK.
“It’s very challenging, but it’s so rewarding. When you go into a service and support them in their turnaround, the feedback from the families of residents, staff morale and new confidence in the management team makes it all worthwhile. We nurture them and build such a good relationship, it’s often hard to leave!
“Anyone who feels they have that skill, knowledge and mindset would be a great asset to Fulcrum. We know what good care is, and how can we help people to achieve this – and that’s what our team shares. It’s about helping people and making sure that the highest, up-to-date standards are in place with the best support possible.”