Augustinian Care is a caring charity, run by Augustinian Sisters, who give freely of their time and each of their homes is registered by CQC under the provider ‘The Order of St. Augustine of the Mercy of Jesus’, which provide accommodation for persons who require nursing or personal care.
Augustinian Care provides high quality and unique personalised care for elderly frail residents and those with mental health problems, across three care homes in Mid-Sussex. They are St Mary’s, St Clare’s and St Rita. Its aim is to enable individuals to lead valued and fulfilled lives with freedom to make choices.
- The Elderly – Nursing Care
- Physical Disabilities – Stroke
- Dementia Care including Alzheimer’s Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Mental Health Needs
Due to recent personnel changes and several avoidable safeguarding incidents within Augustinian Care, the Organisation wanted to ensure that staff and managers could effectively keep residents safe and had the knowledge and skills to be able to respond to safeguarding concerns appropriately.
Athena was then requested to conduct an independent external safeguarding review, across its three care homes, to include the following area:
- Is Augustinian Care effective in keeping residents safe? Governance and reporting pathways, designating safeguarding officer role
- Does Augustinian Care staff understand their safeguarding responsibilities? – Legislation, policies and procedures, training.
- Review of current documentation around safeguarding: policies and procedures.
- Analysis of strengths or weaknesses of the investigation process i.e. safeguarding practice.
- Does Augustinian Care have a ‘learning or blaming culture’: is it different in different homes?
- Identify areas for practice improvements and recommendations on how to deliver these improvements.
With the help of Athena’s audit and review, the Care and Compliance Manger has been able to identify gaps and threats in respect of Safeguarding compliance, develop an action plan and implement timely responses. Augustinian Care is now a safer organisation and safer environment for everyone using its services.
Augustinian Care has up to date and compliant Safeguarding Polices with processes for responding to safeguarding incidents, including allegations against staff. It has ensured that all staff have the right skills and knowledge to safeguard residents and apply Safeguarding and MCA legislation accurately.
The Care and Compliance Manager, Andrew Burt, commented,
“In helping the Organisation strengthen our safeguarding process and procedures, this external review provided Augustinian Care with an objective understanding of where we could improve our focus on safeguarding and resident safety.
As well as providing the Organisation with a greater degree of confidence in our safeguarding approach, the review has helped introduce a culture where every member of staff understands their responsibility in upholding safe care for our residents.
The fact this review was undertaken by external Consultants led weight to the validity and allowed us to provide additional assurance to our residents and wider stakeholder groups on our commitment to making resident safety and our approach to safeguarding our number one priority”.
The Athena Solution
As a thorough in-depth review across three care homes, Athena wanted to ensure that the client’s expectation of areas to be reviewed was understood and could be met. Communication would play a key role as part of the planning and delivery of the review. Therefore, a schedule of communication and agenda for each site visit was agreed at the start of the project, to be able to provide ongoing, real time, feedback, and/or if concerns were identified that required immediate attention.
Via email and telephone conferencing, Athena agreed the methodology with the Care and Compliance Manager. Athena also identified the key individuals such as staff members and service users for face to face interviews, as well as ensuring we had sight of all the appropriate and necessary documents such as policy and procedures, case files, reporting forms.
The review included:
- Interviews with staff, residents and relatives and reviewed records at each care home.
- A total of 32 staff members including carers, nurses, housekeeping, repairs, managers and agency staff were interviewed.
- Interviews with eight residents and ten relatives of residents.
- Interview of the Lead Trustee for Safeguarding, the Chief Executive and training and development leads.
- A review of all types of incident records in each home and a small sample of safeguarding incidents including case tracking of individual residents care records in detail.
- Review of policies and procedures and other documents relating to safeguarding in Augustinian Care.
- Verbal daily updates at the end of each site visit to Care and Compliance Manager.
Athena’s detailed and in-depth review and report identified a number of areas for development and acted a positive bench marking exercise. Following the review Augustinian Care have:
- Updated their safeguarding policies and procedures bringing them in line with current legislation and guidance.
- Developed a robust and systematic reporting pathway for safeguarding incidents from staff through line managers, the DSO and through to the Board of Trustees.
- Developed an agreed reporting pathway for Board to report to CCG.
- Included the appointment of a Designated Safeguarding Officer and Deputies role in a job description and person specification.
- Introduced a review of documentation of resident’s consent for care and application of MCA best interest decisions – linked to care records.
- Developed a forum for sharing good practice between staff and between different homes.
- Made safeguarding information readily available to residents, family and visitors, on request.
- Developed and implemented a strategic approach to safeguarding training all staff are now trained to the correct level (role dependent) including Trustees, senior management, Designated Safeguarding Officer and nurses.