Safeguarding. It may be the most important word in the care home manager’s vocabulary. It should be front and centre in every policy, procedure, and practice in your care home. In this article, we look at what safeguarding in health and social care really means – and who is really responsible for it.
What is safeguarding in health and social care?
In health and social care, there are risks in every situation. Each time a resident eats a meal. Each time a care worker administers treatment. Each time a resident is helped in and out of a bath. The CQC is very clear about two of its fundamental standards for care home workers that cover safety and safeguarding:
- You must not provide unsafe care or treatment, or put people who use your service at avoidable risk of harm
- You must safeguard from abuse, improper treatment, or neglect
If a complaint or observation is made about poor-quality care or treatment in your care home, the CQC will investigate. If it involves safeguarding issues, your local authority will take the lead. You don’t want either to happen.
The care home manager’s responsibility for safeguarding
As a care home manager, the buck stops with you. You are responsible for ensuring that safety and safeguarding are top of your list, and you will need to make certain that your policies and procedures are clear and understood by all.
You will need to assess risks across all areas of the care home, to ensure that your residents, employees, and visitors are safeguarded. Only by assessing risks can you create the policies to mitigate them – this is the essence of safeguarding. For example, you might conduct risk assessments to cover elements such as:
- Equipment in the care home (e.g. beds, etc.)
- Potential for trips and falls
- Drug management
- Infection and disease
- Possible erratic behaviours, such as aggression
Why is risk mitigation necessary?
Safeguarding in health and social care doesn’t mean stopping residents from having their freedom and independence. It means that you have identified the risk, assessed it, and taken appropriate steps to reduce the risk to acceptable levels. Only if the risk remains unacceptably high should you restrict the activity.
Other safeguarding policies
It’s not only what could happen that puts residents at risk, but also what doesn’t happen. The Care Act 2014 describes a framework for safeguarding adults, and this includes safeguarding from both abuse and neglect. Your procedures should ensure that neither is ever an issue in your care home.
It’s important that care home managers and their employees are trained in safeguarding, and this includes in identifying, reporting, and recording concerns about abuse or neglect.
5 tips to get safeguarding in health and social care right
While the buck stops with you as the care home manager, it’s clear that safeguarding in the care home is everyone’s responsibility. Here are five tips to get safeguarding right in your care home:
1. Work with the CQC and local authority
Understand what role they play, and engage with them to better understand the rules and regulations and how they affect you.
2. Ensure your safeguarding policies are fit for purpose
Review your safeguarding policies regularly, and make sure that they are fit for purpose and adhere to current best practice. Ensure that your reviews encompass all aspects of the care home – cooking, laundry, hygiene, care, etc.
3. Train all your staff effectively
Staff must be trained in safeguarding for your policies and procedures to be effective. This training should be tailored to the needs of your employees and your care home. Care workers will benefit from training via the fast-track NVQ Diploma in Health and Social Care, which includes safeguarding modules. For refreshers, other staff, and other safeguarding training needs, a short course in safeguards could be the best option.
4. Focus on individual care plans
Ensure that employees treat residents with respect and dignity, and that care and desired outcomes are discussed with them. You should consider personal and religious choices as areas of potential neglect or abuse – and as such, they become safeguarding issues. Training that you provide should emphasise the nature of safeguarding as being personal as well as procedural.
5. Focus on providing the highest quality care
High-quality care and safeguarding walk hand in hand. If you coach your employees – all your employees – to provide the best food, the cleanest rooms, and the best treatment, then safeguarding will come naturally to all.
Is safeguarding training included in your staff training rota? Is it something that your employees are coached to consider at all times?
Contact StriveCare today, and we’ll show you how you could benefit from top-quality safeguarding training, and NVQ Diploma training at no cost to you.