Jane's Case - an example of when care and support focuses on people being happy and having a good quality of life
Jane heard some people on her local radio station talking about their loves of photography and hiking. They were saying that they needed some staff to support them and that their staff must love these activities. Although Jane had no experience in working with people with learning disabilities, she was excited about the prospect of combining her passion and qualifications in photography by sharing these with people who needed her support. She applied for the job and the two men decided to employ her. She’s now helping them to improve their photography skills whilst enjoying long hikes together.
Staff are recruited on the basis of matching what people we support say that they want to do with their life, what they want to achieve, and the type of characteristics they want in those around them. From all applications, shortlists are created by the people we support and their families (if the person we support wants them involved). Then we start interviewing. Interviews take place wherever is most comfortable for the customer. This has ranged from interviews involving painting nails with nail polish, playing netball/bowling/football, meals out, and interviews over a game of darts in the local pub with the whole family. This process helps the person requiring support to determine if the candidate is right for them in a real life setting, and also gives the candidate a true picture of what the job can entail so that they can make the best decision for themselves as well.
Following recruitment, there are many opportunities for staff to have their say over how things are done and input in to their career development. Training is co-produced with the people we support and their families, who help to design and deliver training courses based on their individual characteristics. People we support and families also contribute to a staff member’s development through probation reviews and annual appraisals. The most important thing we can do as an organisation is not get in the way of the relationship between the person we support and their staff. That relationship is key to them achieving their goals, living a good quality of life, and ultimately being happy. Every decision we take as an organisation needs to keep this in mind and be made in order to further enhance this relationship.
Ensuring our customers are happy is done in a variety of ways. This includes regular meetings with the senior management team to discuss what’s working/what’s not working. This also includes meetings of people we support who speak directly to our board about their thoughts on the service they get from us. They tell it like it us and everybody listens and responds to what they say! For some people we support, we listen to them in a different way other than formal meetings and person centred reviews. This might be through their behaviour, through the use of assistive technology, and/or through their family members. Our families speak directly to our Senior management team through regular meetings, as well as to our board via an elected Chair.