Let’s keep things simple by Hugh Boyden

Having worked in social care for the past 30 odd years with both children and adults I am often amazed by some of the thinking and ideas that people come up with that have a positive impact on peoples lives, I also never cease to be amazed by the nonsense other people expound as the latest ‘good idea’ which usually costs a fortune and has very short shelf life, however we try to professionalise care we must never ever lose track of the basic principles that make it work in the best interests of those we care for.

The other weekend I was full of cold and feeling very lethargic so on Sunday morning was doing bit of channel hopping and amongst all the hideous rubbish I accidently stumbled on a programme called ‘Undercover boss – Canada’ for those who have managed to avoid this sort of stuff the boss of an organisation adopts a disguise and goes to the shop floor to see how the organisation could be improved, the episode I saw was the CEO of a large private hospital, firstly he worked in the kitchen making sandwiches and was told off because of the way he wrapped them up, ‘ food is important and if I gave that to you would it encourage you to eat it’ asked the young catering assistant, Then he worked with housekeeping he got told off again for not putting up wet floor signs ‘in an emergency this could cause injury to staff or patients’ when he wiped beds etc ‘ work on the principal that all patients and staff carry an infection’ he actually had most fun driving around the grounds on a ride on lawn mower but again got told off this time because ‘his lines weren’t straight’ he was politely told by the grounds man that evidence shows that if people live in a nice environment they recover quicker, if the outside looks nice, nice plants in flower (deadheaded) nicely mowed lawns, no litter etc it makes people want to go outside, get fresh air, expose themselves to the sun, all of which makes people feel better and recover quicker.
The final result was that some of the staff that the CEO worked with were asked to help plan a training programme for all staff. This got me thinking- in the myriad of organisations that provide care do all the staff know how they contribute to peoples wellbeing, do laundry assistants, cooks , gardeners etc in care homes have any understanding of how what they do (or don’t do) makes an impact, do all the policy makers, managers, politicians etc recognise the contribution these unrecognised staff make? It’s difficult to get those who provide hands on care recognised for the work they do…. ‘she’s only a care assistant’ etc. So where do these people fit in the ‘pecking order’? Perhaps it’s time that all those either in or associated with the care sector stopped, took a breath and thought how does what I do impact on others, and how even people doing even the most menial jobs can contribute to the welfare of others, all the manuals policies and procedures on topics like person centred care, personalisation etc could be shredded. We would only employ staff with the right morals, ethics and values, (from the top down) that understand their contribution and wish to care for others at any level. I may be totally naive but this could be the biggest and best revolution for the care sector ever………

Hugh Boyden is a project worker based in the workforce development section of Calderdale Council
This article has been submitted on his own behalf and does not necessarily reflect the thoughts or views of his employers


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