Personalisation of care gives service users the freedom to choose how their care is delivered. Children’s social care is an area where an individualistic approach can be incredibly influential in supporting a child’s health and wellbeing.
Children within social care services come from varying backgrounds and can often have complex needs. With rising demand in the sector and mountainous expectations of care workers, it can be difficult to deliver tailored and consistent care to these vulnerable children.
Why can it be difficult to deliver personalised care?
There are around 400,000 children in the social care system. All of these children need to be personally looked after, whether within their families or in local authority care, and monitored by their care worker. Yet, much of the care workers’ time is spent attending meetings and filling forms, pulling them away from the direct support they want to be giving to the families.
According to Government statistics, 4,995 children and family social workers left the sector in 2021, 16% higher than the year before. So why is this figure increasing? Part of the reason is understood to be due to the immense work pressures from large and complex caseloads, and not having enough resource to fulfil the level of tailored care they want to be able to deliver.
Care workers must balance the time they spend with the child and others involved in the case with the inevitable mass of paperwork that comes with the process. Ideally, they would like to spend more time with the children and families, getting to know their personal wants and needs to effectively provide child-centred care.
Could digital solutions that streamline the paper-based processes, be a step in the direction of freeing time to establish a more personalised care journey for children within the service?
Why is personalised care important?
When care workers build strong relationships with the children and families they oversee, they have the chance to find out personal attributes that they can help to support. Small gestures, such as remembering key events and organising access to hobbies, builds a caring environment for which the child can begin to progress.
A digital solution has the advantage of storing case details in one place and making records visible to multiple colleagues, which in turn allows care workers to view and update case notes at the point of care. Having readily available information equips case workers with the care choices that were made in collaboration with the children and gives back time, so they can focus on delivering compassionate care.
Part of every care worker’s day is taken up liaising with other professionals in different settings, such as schoolteachers and community care providers. Being able to communicate and integrate with other agencies, helps to create a more streamlined care process for each child. Having this sense of stability is useful in social care environments, where children are particularly vulnerable as it can help to reinforce consistency and structure.
The benefit of employing digital technology is its ability to share records with professionals in other sectors. Enhancing collaboration means care workers have the support and tools they need to provide personalised care. This helps to build genuine partnerships so services can work together to achieve the goals set out for / by the child.
We understand that continuity of communication with children and families can be negatively impacted during times of peak workload. In a sector with a high turnover of staff, it can often be the case that children have multiple different care workers throughout their time using the service. Children in social care may have already had inconsistency in their life. Being able to consider the child’s care journey during handover periods between them and their new care worker can be helpful during the transition.
Having their records available within an online system, ensures that the child’s personalised care details aren’t lost in transit when cases are passed between care workers. It can also mean that the families have visibility of details too, which can help build the connection between them and their case worker.
What’s planned for the future?
The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care has now published its findings on the changes needed in the sector.
Case for Change was the first step in the plan and aimed to highlight what they expected to find from the review. This has led to the Final Report, which has detailed exactly what has been established and what long term steps will be put in place.
Previously, Case for Change found three key areas of children’s social care that those involved felt to be the most impactful. The first being that families are assessed and investigated without being properly supported. Secondly, there needs to be a fair distribution of care given to children of all ages across the country. Thirdly, more emphasis needs to be placed on building strong relationships with family’s long term.
Ultimately, the review into children’s social care has recommended that improvements are made to the practices and outcomes for those involved in the service. With the NHS Long Term plan setting out to enhance a personalised approach to care, social care workers and families will be interested to see how personalisation is part of the steps established from the Review’s Final Report.
If your organisation is looking for ways to help facilitate personalised care, have a look at our social care solutions. Our systems have been designed with tailored workflow functionalities to enable care to be crafted around individuals.