Lifting the lives of care workers

More and more people are going to need care. We may need up to a million more care workers over the coming decade. The wages are low (and uncertain on zero hours contracts), the conditions can be poor and respect is scanty.  Currently, there’s turnover of almost a third of home care staff each year.  We have exactly the right set up for a looming labour shortage and a resultant care crisis.

Through the Commission on the Future of the Home Care Workforce, we’ve been looking at issues of pay, terms and training.  But even paying more will probably not deliver the care we need because care is commissioned in a task and time fashion – which is meant to guarantee that certain things should be done  – but removes flexibility and judgement from the people at the point of care.

During our research we found a service design project on home care which could help in terms of organising more care with more consistent teams, more flexible and appropriate care and a system which helps to motivate and reward care workers for the essential service they provide.  Some of this is about enabling technology, but most of it is about changing ways of working – sometimes quite subtly, but with a potentially profound effect.

Sebastian Nause-Blueml has been developinpaulg Lift – an approach which recognises care workers who are want to develop their skills and who are loyal employees.  It helps care workers share information about clients and manage their work better.   Last week, representatives from Tri-borough care commissioning, Mears, Essex , Public World, and Paul Burstow, MP gathered at LGiU offices to think about whether and how this approach should be developed.

It was a very positive first step and we’re interested in taking this further. Let us know if you are, too.

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    1. LGiU says:

      Thats brilliant – there has been some recent research from Skills for Care around digital skills – mainly showing that actually front line care workers have more digital skills than their managers give them credit for and smart phone penetration is at or above UK averages (can’t remember precise details).

    2. Nigel Rose says:

      Hi Ingrid
      I work on policy for Macc, the main VCS infrastructure organisation in Manchester. Together with Manchester Advice Alliance and Manchester Digital Development Agency I’ve been doing some work around digital welfare for the last few months. We’re trying to get a debate going as few statutory or vcs organisations have much understanding of what can be done with digital solutions (done a few presentations and almost finished a “provocation” document) and we’re also beginning to try and link up organisations like Madlab in Manchester with VCS orgs that might want to do a collaborative project. Madlab were involved in the Patchworks project with Catalyst from Lancaster University. I think digital approaches are probably the only practical route to extending services with rising demand unless there is a real increase in resources but, on the whole, it is very early days.

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