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Being ‘confident with difference’

Victoria Collier, Project Manager at Skills for Care discusses the importance of recognising the many different needs of people who need care and support and how to be confident with those differences so we can deliver truly inclusive, person-centred care.

We know that most people working in adult social care sector do so because they want to support people to live fulfilled, independent and dignified lives; enabling individuals to live their lives, their way.

This person-centred approach is the key to an environment that enables our citizens to be themselves, but it’s not uncommon for care staff to lack confidence, especially when faced with situations that are different to their own life experiences and people who may have diverse needs.

They may feel awkward or embarrassed about asking sensitive questions about sexuality or cultural or religious practices; or perhaps they don’t recognise when their behaviour or the language they use might stop someone being themselves; or they may not appreciate why someone isn’t comfortable about being open about who they are.

Over the last few months Skills for Care has hosted a number of ‘Confident with difference’ events to get the conversation started. We’ve heard from a number of key speakers about how important it is to recognise and respect differences and why workers need to be confident around differences.

The learnings from these events have been really powerful and have offered a good insight into the development and support needs of our sector. There’s a real drive for care workers to become more confident with difference and for services to be designed around building relationships between the carer and those people who need care and support. Getting it right doesn’t need to be a complex process, rather an openness to assessing how well you’re already doing and a commitment to trying new ideas.

One thing is clear, real improvement will only happen if everyone is involved – from service leaders to frontline staff, those needing care and support services and other professionals too.

Sharon Allen, our CEO recently said: “If we’re going to provide people with genuinely relationship-based, person-centred care, diversity has to be at the heart of that. And it also has to be at the heart of the way that we employ our colleagues and the relationships between us as we work together to provide care and support for citizens.”

What’s next?

In spring 2019, Skills for Care will be launching a series of short films with supporting, simple-to-use learning resources. They will be available for managers and team leaders to use with their teams or peers to help guide conversations around sexuality and cultural diversity and what this means to them and their organisations. These discussions should identify what changes or improvements they may need to make to their services to ensure everyone is receiving the care and support they deserve.

Find out more about Skills for Care’s work at www.skillsforcare.org.uk/ConfidentWithDifference

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