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Supporting employees through COVID-19

Supporting employees through COVID-19 at Peverel Court Care 1200x800

 

The past few months have been an extremely challenging time for people across the UK. However, this has been especially the case for key workers, such as our dedicated employees, who have continued to deliver first-class care for our residents.

 
At Peverel Court Care, we always pride ourselves on being proactive. When the Government initially advised that care homes would likely be the least affected in the community, we took a more strategic approach and put an ‘Action Plan’ in place. This was prior to any ‘official’ guidance being put into circulation. Naturally, we took advice from Public Health England where necessary.

Our ‘Action Plan’ is a live, working document, and is in effect a contingency plan which sets out what our objectives and guidelines are to enhance appropriateness of practice; improve quality of care; strive for better resident outcomes; improve infection prevention control measures; and enhance business continuity measures, with particular importance on maintaining staffing at optimum levels.

 

Protecting our staff

We know that balancing the health and safety of residents and families is a really difficult one for our employees. In anticipation of requiring PPE at the very outset of a possible national outbreak, Peverel Court Care embarked on a procurement programme very early on, ensuring adequate supplies of all required PPE throughout. At no point did Peverel Court Care run out of supplies, nor were we required at any point to ration supplies. Spending a significant sum on commercially available stock ensured we were adequately provided for.

Peverel Court Care have embarked on a procurement programme to make sure we are adequately stocked on an ongoing basis for any future national outbreak and any further changes to Public Health England guidance around the use of PPE.

At Peverel Court Care, we encourage a supportive culture; where people are free to speak out about perceived risks and adverse outcomes, without fear of blame or repercussions. A safe culture provides a compassionate, inclusive, and trusting environment: one that shares insights and empowers staff with the skills, confidence, and mechanisms to improve the care we provide. This culture means we will hear more, learn more, and act more to improve care.

We created a bespoke platform for the team to provide anonymous feedback and ask questions to the senior leadership team. The bespoke survey supplemented our regular Insights surveys – a pulse survey tool for gathering and acting on feedback in a way that improves company culture and performance.

 

Supporting our team

At the onset of the pandemic we recognised that our team needed access to essential goods and services. Amidst the confusion at supermarkets and schools we wanted to ensure our employees had access to these vital services. All employees were supplied with professional staff ID cards and a supporting letter, allowing them to access opening times and services reserved for key workers.

Communication at this time has been vitally important. We launched a series of newsletters for both staff and relatives. Staff newsletters focused on wellbeing and assistance, with a host of resources being made available to them, such as supermarket opening times for key workers, which the team could easily access via our website. We firmly believe that communication across the entire team increases employee satisfaction, wellbeing, and motivation. We utilise the communication hub on our dedicated employee app to provide video updates from the CEO, Anil Dhanani.

We invited employees to let us know if they need assistance in dealing with the loss of income as a result of having to isolate for 7 or 14 days. We put in place a scheme covering the months of March and April where we were able to advance up to 100% of the difference between Statutory Sick Pay and an employee’s contractual pay over that period.

 

Employee Assistance Programme

The Employee Support Hub, powered by Health Assured, gives employees access to qualified therapists over the phone or via live chat.

The Employee Assistance Programme is a confidential employee benefit designed to help staff deal with any personal and work-related issues that might be affecting them. Whether they are struggling at home or at work, our helpline is available 24/7, 365 days a year so they will always have the support they need.

Peverel Court Care have also partnered with Perkbox Medical to provide employees with 24/7 access to an online GP as we appreciate how tricky it can be to schedule appointments around working hours.

The online GP service allows employees to interact with a certified doctor, via app or website from anywhere with internet, or Wi-Fi access. Employees can book an appointment and be seen within minutes, ask for advice, as well as receiving prescriptions and referrals, all at a time of their choosing.

 

Employee Reward Programme

We acknowledge that this time may be particularly stressful for some of our employees, with the resulting difficulties being presented by COVID-19. The admirable efforts that are being demonstrated by staff in ensuring the homes remain fully resourced – when our workforce is being particularly stretched – was worthy of recognition.

In light of this, we put together an employee fund of £100,000 to recognise the burden of responsibility being shouldered by our employees at work. Regardless of position, seniority or length of service, employees on the premises helping to care for our residents over this period, will be rewarded for their selfless efforts.

Total hours worked will be recorded over the period until the end of June and proportionate funds allocated. All employees will receive an equal monetary value per hour worked, regardless of post or position.

 

Employee Initiatives

We recognised the challenge our team faced, particularly at the outset of the pandemic, in purchasing some essential items. Each staff room therefore now receives regular “essential” and “movie night” gift boxes, in addition to regular fruit deliveries. Employees can access essential food items and toiletries for themselves and their family. Employees can also set up a personal account with our provisions supplier, Creed. Food provisions can be delivered directly to the care homes on our main order as supermarket delivery slots were difficult to come by.

We recognise that outstanding teams start with reward and recognition. We use our dedicated employee app to thank them for their outstanding efforts during this challenging time and reward with personalised vouchers. We celebrate and inspire our team with a company-wide recognition feed that celebrates incredible work.

To say thank you for their hard work, we also created a competition, giving employees the chance to win a selection of prizes every week as part of our “Thursday Thank-Yous”.

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire: Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business, providing personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

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