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6 ways to help promote equality in social care

30/11/2022 minute read Health and Care

As outlined in the new Care Quality Commission (CQC) strategy, a core ambition includes tackling health and care inequalities, to ensure that every service user has fair access and improved care outcomes no matter their background, culture or circumstances.

In the recently published ‘State of Care’ report, findings suggest that “Despite multiple reviews and reports, people continue to face huge inequalities when accessing and receiving health and social care.”. This is understood to be partly due to deprivation, disability, ethnicity and access inequalities.

The CQC recognises that to reduce inequalities in care, improvement should cover all areas of the process. They aim to improve equality for service users but also people working in social care, the care providers and their own workforce.

In this article, we will be outlining the ways in which care providers can support their staff, equipping them with the skills and knowledge to help enhance equality in social care.

1. Policies and Training

Provide all staff with continuous equality and diversity training to refresh them on the specific ways in which your organisation promotes equal care for its service users. This training should be mandatory and completed throughout their career. As a care provider, you may want to outline ways in which staff can comply with policies such as the Care Act 2014 to help improve people’s independence and wellbeing or the Mental Capacity Act 2005 to ensure they are protecting people’s choice to make their own decisions.

Staff should also be aware of the specific needs within their community. A focus on geographic issues is a priority that the CQC is concentrating on, so ensuring that your staff understand the care needs that are prevalent in your community is vital.

A digital tool can offer a space to record what training has taken place and when it needs renewing, so your staff’s knowledge is constantly refreshed so they can continue to support equality in care.

2. Build confidence

A confident staff member can bring comfort to a service user, particularly those who may experience inequality in care. If a client doesn’t feel in safe and welcoming hands with your service, they may not seek further help and suffer because of it. No one should feel that they have unequal access to a service because the organisation hasn't prepared itself for their needs.

Make sure that all staff (specifically those who are client facing or liaising with family members) are confident in approaching conversations around how they can provide personalised care and understand why certain care choices are in place for the individual.

Ways to build staff confidence around equality could include shadowing more experienced employees or producing training videos that explore protected characteristics with the ‘dos and don’ts’ on how to approach different scenarios.

3. Find out what matters

Ultimately, your staff need to be able to find out exactly what matters to their clients. By doing this, they can ensure that they provide appropriate care to the service user’s individual needs.

Now your staff have the skills and confidence to approach topics that help enhance equality, they can provide appropriate and bespoke care throughout the client’s care journey. Staff may be able to collaborate with service users so they can co-produce their own care plan, with the opportunity to make any amendments they’d like along the way.

A digital care plan is fully accessible and adjustable to changing needs, with any amendment being updated to the central system. This ensures that no matter who is supporting the service user, their individual qualities can always be identified and supported.

4. Personalise care

Ensuring equality in care can be misunderstood as meaning that everyone gets treated the same. On the face of it, this idea is probably meant well. However, if every service user had the same care plan, they would miss out on support specific for their needs, creating an unequal care service.

Service users should be given individualised care, all of which being delivered to the same high standard, no matter their background or culture. Your staff should be able to view each of their client’s preferences so they can treat each person with an equal standard of care.

A digital care solution has the benefit of offering a fully customisable care plan for each service user, accessible at the point of care. This ensures that all individual needs are recorded in one place and can be actioned in line with their personal wants and needs.

5. Work together

Remind your staff that it’s okay to ask for help. It’s better to get clarification before doing something than to make a mistake that doesn’t support equality. Having an open and safe culture for your team to work in helps to provide the space where they can share how they are promoting equality in their care practices.

A digital solution can include learning and development functionalities to keep track of each employee’s learning progress. Training can be managed and reviewed online as well as reports and regulatory compliance so staff can see your provider information return (PIR) and how they adhere to it.

6. Effective leadership

It is always best to practice what you preach. As service leaders / managers, it’s important to demonstrate equality in care to set the right example to staff. That may include being an equal opportunities employer, not making assumptions about others, having integrity and using professional terminology.

Digital tools have the benefit of supplying leaders with functionalities such as care operation oversight and recruitment management. This allows for full visibility of processes from training to safeguarding so that all areas are compliant with equality as well as an audit trail to evidence for CQC inspections.

Go digital

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