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Partners 1st July 2024

ImproveWell

By Lorcán Murray

Social care technology grew rapidly over the past 5 years. A variety of digital and technical solutions for the range of challenges that care providers face every day. In the rush to provide effective solutions suppliers created a new problem, replacing analogue silos of information with digital ones. The Nourish Partnership Programme addresses this problem by building a comprehensive digital estate of integration partners, that our users can review and apply to their service as required, so they can continue to provide outstanding care for their communities. 

Communication is Key to Being Person-centred

‘We need to talk’ – a sentence that sends shivers down spines in bedrooms and boardrooms alike. Feedback acquisition, data gathering, internal research—whatever you name the process, conversation is critical to success. In social care, conversations are a fundamental part of providing quality, person-centred care. Care providers learn the best information about the people who utilise their service by engaging directly with them. Our partners, ImproveWell, build upon this opportunity by offering simple, easy-to-apply engagement tools for your workforce, clients and wider stakeholders.

Knowledge is power and ImproveWell gives you the power to prepare for inspections, increase employee engagement and drive qualified, person-centred improvement across your service.  

Preparing for the CQC

The Care Quality Commission in England has been rolling out its new inspection process since November 2023. The ‘single assessment framework’ is designed to put people at the heart of the inspection process. While the key categories remain the same; safe, caring, efficient, well-led and responsive, the methods for evidence gathering are updated. There are six categories for evidence that inspectors will now require.

The first three – ‘people’s experience of health and care services’, ‘feedback from staff and leaders’ and ‘feedback from partners’ – are all different forms of conversations. ImproveWell helps your team prepare for these conversations. By making real-time feedback simple and a regular occurrence in your care community by providing a mechanism for feedback anytime, anywhere. You can gain a clearer, and more regular insight into the experiences of your organisation at every level. Without even getting into the results of your engagement activities. Simply introducing the process to your teams and community will make them more familiar and, in doing so, more comfortable with it.

The latter three categories – observation, processes and outcomes – can all be improved through utilising the results of ImproveWell’s functionality.  ImproveWell’s solution can be set up in a bespoke way to suit the needs of your team and service. Everyone can suggest ideas for improvement, share how their workday is going, and complete tailored pulse surveys – 24/7. Insights from wider stakeholder groups can be gathered and an AI-powered data dashboard enables group and organisational leads to monitor real-time data, track workforce sentiment, prioritise quality improvement efforts, measure change, and publish reports to complete the feedback loop.

Examples of ImproveWell Driving Positive Change

The Maternity Department at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust enjoyed notable improvements to their workforce engagement and morale. After the first phase of ImproveWell’s introduction in the Maternity Department. 75% of staff reported feeling able to improve their area of work, compared to the 53% scored by the Trust as a whole. (2018 NHS staff survey) Moreover, over 85% of users of ImproveWell felt it empowered them to implement ideas for change.

This is what makes these tools so relevant to inspections outside of England as well. All inspectors will engage with your staff in one form or another as part of their process. Whether it’s in their ear or over their shoulders. The more familiar the workforce is with being listened to and respected by senior management, the better they can provide and evidence high-quality care.

The Maternity Department at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust were able to improve their CQC rating from ‘Inadequate’ in 2017 to ‘Requires Improvement’ in 2018 following their implementation of Improvewell. In November 2019, the Maternity Department won the International Maternity Expo Transformation Innovation Award to recognise achievements made through ImproveWell, and in their most recent inspection in February 2023, they had improved the ratings for ‘Safe’ and ‘Well-Led’ to ‘Good’.

The Importance of Workforce Engagement

Workforce engagement is crucial in social care. We know that high job vacancies and staff turnover rates are longstanding issues for care providers. One of the surest ways to draw a big audience at any care event is to talk about recruitment and retention. It’s obvious if you have attended any of these talks in the past few years. You will know more and more providers are looking to improve their staff retention rates by increasing their employee engagement.

 “We’ve learnt that everyone would like more money but surprisingly it’s not as important as being happy in their work. Support and development of people is held in higher regard.” Residential care provider, Claxton House, Atlanta Healthcare.

The best way to support and develop people is to listen to them. Of course, that’s generally much easier said than done. ImproveWell turns recording, reviewing and actioning ideas from your workforce into a smooth, seamless process. The detail and specificity of ImproveWell’s functionality enables you to ask the right questions. Crucially, the AI-powered data dashboard provides an easy-to-use, insightful overview of the information you have gathered, so you can use frontline feedback for maximum effectiveness. Most care providers conduct internal surveys with their team, with varying results. ImproveWell enables you to take these findings further, and action them to the benefit of your service by empowering your team and wider community to take a more active role in their development, in both a personal and professional capacity.

Examples of Qualified Improvement

Health and care providers who use ImproveWell to engage with their community have noticed benefits in four key areas. The first, and most direct benefit, is the increase in staff wellbeing and morale. It is only natural that satisfaction increases and turnover decreases when people feel like they play an active and important role in their workplace.  

Red heart Red heart Quote
“In the last 12 months, we haven’t lost a single staff member, and recruitment has been successful. There’s a change in how others perceive our team and it’s a place where people want to come to work.”
Leigh Ferris Rosebrook PICU, Senior Staff Nurse

Users also experience a notable quality improvement, in terms of the care they are able to provide. Primary sources are always the best place to start when looking to improve your processes. It is the people who are directly involved who have the deepest understanding, whether they are providing care, utilising care, or are a member of the community in which you operate. A wealth of insight is unlocked when you empower your community to be actively responsible for their care.

 “It’s the quick fixes that make the difference,” Nicole Lee, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Burns Service, Burns Matron.

This same logic applies when it comes to your service’s operational and cost efficiency. It is impossible to fully understand something by looking at it from the top down. All leaders know they need multiple perspectives to understand their organisation. Increase your operational and cost efficiency by creating a simple route for innovation. Carers are known for making a little go a long way, harness their ingenuity and experience and the rewards will soon follow.

Improvewell for your Community

People are the pulse of our communities. Engage directly with them to best understand the world in which your service exists. The concept behind micro-improvements is rooted in experience and the belief that with the right knowledge, you have the power to change the world. Maybe not the whole thing, but definitely your own. However first, we need to talk.

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