Every domiciliary care provider needs a unique selling point to flourish. For 24 7 Home Care Ltd, a Swindon-based agency, owned and run by Maureen Asefeso, that point of difference is summed up best in the maxim “Big enough to support, small enough to care” a motto which runs deep in the DNA of everyone who works there.
Explains Mrs Asefeso, who gained over twenty years’ experience, before deciding to branch out on her own.
“I know what outstanding care is and I know what it isn’t. It should be one hundred percent person-centred and not at all shareholder led. Because the domiciliary care agency I set up has no board members, we have much greater flexibility to invest funds where they will really make a tangible difference. Therefore, in staff recruitment, in retention and in a continuous cycle of training. This means that we can provide a range of specialist live-in or supported living services for elderly service users, those with a range of physical disabilities those with learning disabilities, spinal injuries or acquired brain injuries.”
Mrs Asefeso, who left her role as a director at a leading mental health charity in 2017 to start 24 7 Home Care Ltd., now has 30 staff working for her, who between them, carry out 1,500 home visits each month.
As the owner and registered manager, Mrs Asefeso, notes that the journey to being granted registration by the Care Quality Commission “has been a challenging process”.
She says, “As someone who has worked at managerial and director level for many years in a raft of different areas, I assumed that my knowledge and experience of actioning policies and procedures would be sufficient. However, when I began creating my business plan, I realised that if the agency was to provide a varied package of outstanding and compassionate care to vulnerable service users, it was lacking in a few key areas.”
It was then that Mrs Asefeso remembered Quality Compliance Systems (QCS), which she had used to good effect while working for a previous care provider.
“Partnering with QCS absolutely transformed the registration process in that it provided a comprehensive and suite of policies and procedures – 8,500 in all – that allowed me to tailor my plan to each individual speciality. It proved to be very intuitive and identified the policies I needed to include in my plan to meet CQC standards and be granted registration.”
Since she began operating in July 2018, Mrs Asefeso says that QCS has played a central role in ensuring that her staff are always compliant. She says the technology, which is used by over 4,000 care homes across the UK, “has proved invaluable” in a number of ways.
She explains, “When I was working for other organisations, the registered manger would simply provide you with reams and reams of jargonised policies without ever explaining the context. The QCS system is the exact opposite, in that policies and procedures address the fundamental question, which is ‘why do I need to implement a particular policy’.”
Mrs Asefeso says that by adopting the QCS approach, her staff “are highly engaged from the start” and “begin to see regulation, not as an alien concept, but something that intrinsically linked to the care plans they are creating”.
Mrs Asefeso also likes “the accessibility benefits that the system offers”.
She says, “QCS breaks up each policy into easy-to-read sections, meaning my staff don’t have to read the whole document to be compliant. And if they are too busy to access the system, they simple call the office and we can send the correct policy area at the right time, which provides peace of mind to everyone concerned.”
In terms of quality assurance, Mrs Asefeso adds she can also monitor the amount of time that her staff spend reading policies and procedures. “If they are not correctly engaging, the QCS system offers a range of learning options including webinars and video based learning that some find more appealing than reading a curated policy.”
And the future? Mrs Asefeso, who is grooming her assistant to take over her registered manager role, says she will use the time “to grow her team and oversee training”, while never losing sight of the company ethos, “Big enough to support, small enough to care” – which, with a little help from technology, is inspiring and empowering her staff to provide outstanding care.