How to Care For Your Carers This Carers Week?

June sees the arrival of Carers Week (10 to 16 June), an annual initiative that highlights the valuable work that carers do. This year, the theme is ‘putting carers on the map’, or raising awareness of the amazing service that unpaid carers provide every single day. In the healthcare sector, residential care home carers also provide an essential service. They work with residents, nursing staff, managers and family members to help vulnerable people live more safely and comfortably in specialist nursing and residential care settings.

As a care home manager, there is plenty that you can do to show your care staff that they are important and to thank them for their hard work and dedication. This Carers’ Week, take a look at the following ideas to see what your teams would appreciate the most.

Active listening

When speaking to your staff about their work, worries, feedback or simply having a chat, make sure you actually listen to what they are saying. People know when they are not receiving someone else’s full attention and this can make them feel disrespected, unimportant and even patronised or judged. None of these reactions make for a happy, fulfilled care team. Instead, ask questions, show interest and follow up on queries and feedback that your team talk to you about. This costs nothing, but can make an enormous difference to morale, productivity and staff retention.

Admin support

We can all feel frustrated and worried when our pay is late, paperwork is held up or we cannot find the right forms to fill in to request annual leave, ask for extra shifts or check our tax status. Having effective admin systems in place prevents care staff from having to tackle these irritations and delays. Digital care management software such as Care Vision has dedicated HR, payroll and sick leave functions, along with shift, rota and annual leave planning tools to help with this. Again, this may not seem like a grand gesture, but it makes all the difference to busy care staff with financial commitments to meet.

Social occasions

Providing opportunities for carers to spend time relaxing together can bring teams closer together and help make working life more enjoyable. This can be anything from grabbing a cuppa together regularly to going out for lunch or even getting agency staff in for a day while you go out for a special outing to bond as a team and enjoy some well-earned fun. Other ideas can include planning family days, when family members can join carers for an open day, picnic or garden party at the care home. Summer is around the corner now, so it could be the perfect time to plan some family fun in the sun.

Health support

Carers can often find themselves coping with heavy workloads and long hours. It can be easy to neglect health and wellbeing in such situations. As a manager, it is your job to watch out for people in your teams overdoing things, or becoming at risk of burnout. Ways in which you can help support the health and wellbeing of your team include providing fresh fruit and healthy snacks, encouraging people to walk to work and exercise during their breaks and using Care Vision to plan fitness initiatives.

Career progression

Care Vision can help care managers keep an eye on their care staff’s progression. Asking residents for feedback means they can offer carers praise when it’s due and help them find opportunities for professional development. Linked to the active listening point above, managers can help care staff feel valued by paying attention when they ask for more support in certain areas, or are keen to take on new opportunities. Putting newer carers together with more experienced team members can also help strengthen bonds within the team and encourage people to share experiences and help each other learn.

Pay and rewards

Make sure that you pay your care staff fairly and in relation to their skills, qualifications and experience. The same goes for overtime – this should be fair, incentivising and available to those who want it – and are appropriately trained. Rewards can be another great way to show carers how much you value their work. Gifts at Christmas and on birthdays are a nice touch. Shopping days, or half-days in the run up to Christmas and other festivals are always appreciated, as is the offer of ‘time off in lieu’ if people prefer this to overtime pay. It is a good idea to ask staff what type of rewards they enjoy, rather than impose something on people.

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