Diversity and inclusion are both terms that have seen a lot more attention in recent years. This is especially true within the care sector, where the importance of everyone being able to access the care they need, regardless of background, community links or culture is paramount.
At a time when people may be feeling vulnerable or frightened, it is crucial that they are able to retain their dignity, feel safe and have the confidence to ask for what they need. Likewise, showing respect and inclusion to those who work in the care sector will help people feel valued, listened to and an important part of the team. In fact, doing so is not only desirable, it is obligatory by law. Several pieces of legislation protect people’s rights to be respected, including the Equality Act of 2012, which outlaws unfair treatment of people for reasons that are considered to be ‘protected characteristics’. These include things like sex, age, race or religion, disability, sexual orientation or marital status.
There are many ways to ensure that diversity and inclusion sit at the top of the priority list. For a start, allowing people space to discuss matters around abilities and disabilities, cultural background and beliefs, identity, faith and gender will help break down barriers and aid understanding. Asking care home residents what they need to feel supported and comfortable in their daily lives will lead to a happier, more relaxed atmosphere. Not discriminating against a potential employee on the basis of their background or identity when choosing whether or not to offer them a job, nor refusing to care for a resident for the same reason.
Here are five ideas to help people feel valued, supported and included within your care home community.
Cultural differences explored
Take advantage of the rich diversity of lived experiences within your care home setting. Encourage people to share stories and information around cultural experiences, ceremonies, food and drink, childhood memories and more. Plan themed meals to take in different cultures’ cuisines. Hold music sessions or film afternoons reflecting the various cultural backgrounds of residents and staff. Celebrate feast days from different religions and faiths.
Diversity and inclusion training
Often, areas of conflict or mistrust within a community stem from a lack of understanding or experience. Providing comprehensive training for staff around diversity and inclusion can help break down barriers and encourage people to talk about differences openly and without judgement. It can also help bring teams closer together and cut down on the possibility of people inadvertently causing offence or upset. Use your digital care management software to book training sessions and collate feedback for future reference.
HR and employment issues
Care managers can also take advantage of care management software to monitor diversity among the workforce and to check that opportunities for employment, promotion, training, overtime etc. are being provided equally to all who are eligible for them. Digital records are easy to maintain and quick to download if you need to compile a report or check the statistics. Staff who are concerned about any aspect of diversity and inclusion can also use the software to record feedback and raise queries.
Digital care management software enables staff to set up and update individual residents’ records. Here, details can be added and updated around physical and mental wellbeing, medications, preferences, family support, religion and cultural background. The more staff know about the background, beliefs and preferences of those under their care, the better they can support them, help them feel comfortable and protect their dignity and happiness. Areas to note particularly may include food and drink, preferences for treatment, end of life preparations, instructions around interventions such as blood transfusions and faith-based rituals or requirements.
Auditing and compliance
Another great benefit to switching to digital care management software is the ability to record a large amount of data in one place. This makes it simple to create reports, follow ‘paper trails’ and ensure complete coverage in cases where evidence is required to prove compliance or answer complaints or queries from the authorities. All too often, concerns around diversity and inclusion can involve heightened emotions and potentially career-ending misunderstandings. However, being able to check the digital records, pull up reports and check data against allegations can be incredibly valuable and save a lot of time and energy.