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Choosing a care home in the East Midlands

Choosing a care home for your loved one can be a daunting decision. There are a whole myriad of things to consider, and while it may not top the list, the location of your prospective care home can have a significant impact on the experience a resident, and their family, has during their time living there. PrimeLife enjoy being able to make your decision a little easier. With care homes based in numerous locations across the UK, you’ll have no trouble finding one that suits your needs, both in terms of service and location.

PrimeLife have established care homes throughout the East Midlands, supporting areas across Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Rutland. As a national provider of care homes, we aim to bring our high quality services to a substantial amount of locations across the UK, hosting a range of specialties from dementia to respite care.

Throughout all of our homes, we encourage our residents to take part in activities that encourage interaction and promote a positive lifestyle. Leicester has a rich cultural centre, with Bradgate Park, the King Richard III Visitor Centre and Rockingham Castle, all offering potential day trips and spots to visit in an around Leicestershire.

In Nottingham, co-ordinators look to take our residents to sites of interest across the whole of Nottinghamshire. Whether this be to the local cinema, or via mini-bus to somewhere a little further afield, everyone is encouraged to be a part of and get to know the region. The same can be said for Lincolnshire and Rutland based homes, where on-site transport means that our residents can readily take part in community based activities and events.

The high quality service provided by our homes across the East Midlands, coupled with the charm of region, means PrimeLife can offer you some reassurance when selecting the perfect care home in the Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Rutland areas.

Click here to search our homes.

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Summer excursions for residents at PrimeLife

With the good weather truly upon us, many of our residents have been venturing out for day trip and Little Acres recently visited the seaside town of Whitby.

As well as a boat trip along the river the group also went on a number of short walks and visited the RNLU Whitby Museum. Here the residents really enjoyed learning about the area and many had not visited Whitby before.

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The group also stopped at a pub in Aidensfield as many of them are fans of the TV show ‘Heartbeat’ that is set in this location. Care Home Manager, Marie, said:

‘We had a fantastic time in Whitby. The weather was perfect and the residents really enjoyed themselves. It was lovely for us all to be out in the fresh air, taking in new views, and everyone has been talking about the excursion for days.’

The trip took place on a Saturday, which meant that nearly all of the residents could go along and with an extension at Little Acres last year the weekend trips are becoming more social than ever.

The home is now planning a trip up to The Deep Aquarium in Hull. Many of the residents enjoy seeing animals and after Whitby all of the residents are excited about another weekend adventure!

Little Acres cares for adults with learning disabilities. For more information please click here.

Joseph and Melissa

Thoughts from a PrimeLife Care Assistant

It has been an exciting year for PrimeLife and a period of great change: from being recognized as one of the top 20 Care Providers in the UK to the expansion of our Quality Matters Team and the application of the national living wage.

In light of all these developments, we could not find a more appropriate time to take a moment to reflect on all of this with one of our youngest employees, Joseph O’Connor (19, pictured above, left).

Chloe Davies, our HR Advisor for the Eastern Region, travelled to Mill House Care Centre to speak to the young Apprentice Care Assistant, to find out about his experience with PrimeLife and gain his perspective on these recent changes:

‘Joseph joined PrimeLife in September 2015 after finishing his school education at Cambridge Regional College. Joseph was looking for experience in health and social care and discovered Mill House through Norfolk Training Centre.

When asked what inspired him to pursue a position in Care, Joseph told me that it was a ‘personal’ vocation and that he had ‘cared for a family member’ throughout his life.

Joseph went on to explain that he had joined PrimeLife because of its ‘homely’ environment, where he could gain experience in many aspects of care.

Achievements and Reflection

Mill house Care Centre offers care to clients with dementia and those who have needs associated with old age.

Although Joseph has experience volunteering with young people with learning difficulties, I was interested to find out what he had learnt and experienced since becoming a Care Assistant in an environment of which he had little understanding.

Joseph admitted that he ‘struggled with some aspects of care at the beginning’ of his role yet his commitment and dedication is verified by the confidence and knowledge he exudes today, an appraisal that is shared by his Manager, Melissa Stroud (pictured above, right).

From speaking to Joseph it is evident that he has gained many insights and embraced various training opportunities since joining Mill House.

Joseph went on to talk to me about his duties which range from ‘personal care’ to promoting independence and dignity. Joseph supports clients with limited mobility and has successfully completed training in the use of hoists and other mobility aids.

Joseph spoke with such assurance and enthusiasm and even took the time to enlighten me about the technique of ‘stand aiding’. Joseph stated that one of the skills he had acquired in particular since joining Mill House was ‘the ability to work independently and more confidently’ and has developed his ‘ability to deal with aggressive and challenging behaviour’.

Joseph stated that one of the highlights of his role is ‘building relationships with both residents and staff members’ but that the biggest reward is the ‘feeling of making a difference in people’s lives’.

The National Living Wage

After establishing the personal rewards of working in care, I went on to talk to Joseph about the recent introduction of the national living wage.

This year PrimeLife chose to apply the national living wage to all of our PrimeLife employees, despite the legal application for those aged 25 and over. A £1.6 million investment was made in order to recognise the importance of every staff member in our organisation.

Joseph informed that the pay review had been a ‘topic of conversation in the homes before its introduction and went on to emphasise that it was a ‘positive’ development that will ‘make a difference’ in living standards and motivate PrimeLife employees.

Long Term Goals

I really enjoyed talking to Joseph at Mill House. It is obvious from his demeanour and language how passionate he is about caring for others.

Joseph eventually wants to work with children with autism and learning difficulties and feels that his experience with PrimeLife has equipped him with skills and experience that will prepare him for his next role.

Although he is ‘really enjoying’ his ‘work at Mill House’, Joseph feels that working with children is his ultimate vocation and I wish him to best of luck on his journey.

Like Joseph, all of our staff have access to a wealth of training opportunities, all of which are free of charge and part of our development programme.

PrimeLife offer care to a wide variety of client groups and homes that specialise in caring for clients with various needs, such as young adults and the elderly. Career progression is available for those willing to train, learn and possibly re-locate in order to develop their skills in the care sector.

Since joining PrimeLife as a HR Administrator, I have had the opportunity to develop my own skills and experience in both the operational and business sector.’

PrimeLife is dedicated to recognising and developing their employees to the best of their ability. Joseph’s story illustrates how all of our team have the potential to inspire results and promote quality throughout our organisation.

Click here to find out more about working for PrimeLife.

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Caring for people with learning disabilities

PrimeLife prides itself on the care, support and services it provides for people with learning disabilities. We want to go the extra mile, above and beyond what’s expected elsewhere in the industry, and aim to promote inclusion, independence and choice.

Learning disabilities, although they can be categorised, can vary significantly from person to person. Each person is unique, and in most cases, there will be some reduced intellectual and social ability. In others, there may also be certain physical or emotional conditions. Regardless of these differences, we make sure our residents receive personalised care.

People with learning disabilities have the same needs that we all have. They want freedom, choice, to live independently, to have self-esteem, engage socially, and live as full of a life as possible. Our individual care plans allow us to deliver some of the best care available. Through these plans, we are able to focus on and outline specific areas of support. Physical health, social interaction, and pressure placement – through group activities, and one to one sessions all these areas, and more, are covered.

We try to set a reasonable aim with each coming year so that progression is maintained, and there is a definite sense of achievement when these goals are met. All this contributes to the resident’s self-esteem, and in turn, makes sure everyone is involved in the warm, welcoming community we try to build at each of our care homes.

Across all of our homes we accommodates a number of residents, varying in age and circumstances. The levels of support will be unique, tailor made, and might include anything from assisting with everyday personal needs, to more specific domestic tasks throughout the home.

It is important to us that people with learning disabilities develop a fulfilling life and a role within their local community. We arrange frequent visits to day centres and our residents each hold their own bus pass. It is also common for our residents to take trips to the cinema, go bowling, and spend time at local Center Parcs. However we understand that community involvement can be a distressing thought for some people so we always make sure that residents approach new activity at their own pace. Overall our aim is to work towards reducing the restrictions our residents face, whether these stem from a lack of confidence or from more physical symptoms.

There are also lots of home based activities that residents love to participate in. At our home in Nottingham, Little Acres, carers have made note of how the home’s residents thoroughly enjoy using the Nintendo Wii. Little Acres have also recently acquired a typewriter. Resources like these give each resident the chance to acquire new skills as well as develop old ones. Marie Merrick, manager of the home said:

“A lot of our residents have trouble with reading and writing so the typewriter has been fantastic, giving them the opportunity to practice these skills”.

Meanwhile at The Mount, our care home in Hull, we’ve helped many residents overcome personal restrictions. One resident suffered a stroke and was met with a number of restrictions that meant she could no longer participate in many of the activities that she previously took pleasure in. But through the care provided by PrimeLife, she has been encouraged to actively pursue many of the things she once enjoyed.

We believe that life needs to be about what you can do and our learning disability care staff are advocates of independent living and supporting residents to help them get the best out of life.

Click here to read more about the definition of a learning disability and call our general enquiries line on 0800 0463920 to chat to us about how we might be able to help your loved one

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End of summer festivities at PrimeLife

We’ve been making the most of September’s good weather, with many of the homes coming together for participation across a variety of events.

Clarence House and Netherlands home recently held a joint summer fete, with all the usual fun activities and a great opportunity for residents to talk to new people. The event also raised a fantastic £438. The money will be spent on a day out or holiday, to a destination that is selected by the residents themselves.

Senior Carer Kim Lingard from Clarence House said “the event was a huge success, everyone had a great time and we’re thrilled to have raised such a good pot of money.”

Little Acres also got into the summer spirit with a vintage themed tea party. Many cupcakes were baked and then presented beautifully with all sorts of decorations and colour. Old photographs, posters and beautiful illustrations were also hung up on the wall especially for the occasion – a talking point for many about their memories over the years.

At PrimeLife homes there is always an opportunity for staff and residents to sit down together, but events like these make those moments extra special. For more information about our homes, please click here.

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The rewards of mental health care

At PrimeLife we always try to go above and beyond what is expected within the care industry, but this is particularly true of our practices in mental health care.

Although mental illness is common there is still a strong social stigma attached to it, and people’s conditions are often made worse by the discrimination they receive. In our experience we understand that there can be positive outcomes both long-term and permanent, providing that the proper support is given.

In fact, mental health care across all of our seventeen specialist homes is nothing but rewarding for everyone involved.

For starters, our mental health care homes feel homely. Many visitors are often shocked at how ‘normal’ the homes are when they arrive. As well as comfortable living and outdoor areas, a lot of the homes offer residents the ability to live in their own private flat, such as is the case at Island Place, Leicester.

Whilst for many in homes their mental health problems are often linked to violence and an inability to sustain relationships, we experience and promote strong sense of friendship and community within our homes. Residents will meet regularly, either once a week or every month, to catch up with each other and make social plans such as where they would all like to go on holiday for that year. These meetings help to enhance the group dynamic, and whilst staff members are involved it is the residents that are happy to lead these discussions.

Activities outside of the home are extremely important too. One of our care home managers, at Old Station Close in Leicestershire, Bernie Moscrop, has set up several initiatives around community involvement. The ‘Old Station Rambling Club’ allows residents to ‘get together and go for a nice walk, whether it be near or far’. Meanwhile, the ‘Diners Club’ offers residents the chance to choose where they would like to eat and make reservations at local restaurants.

Activities like these help to give residents many benefits, such as raised self-esteem. One resident of the home would struggle to bath or shave himself when he first arrived at Old Station Close, but Diners Club has changed this; he now thoroughly enjoys getting ready for the evening ahead and often wears a suit! What’s more, we’ve learned that residents will actually sleep better as a result. The natural tiredness from these activities has even helped to reduce the levels of extra medication that some would previously need in order to relax.

Helping residents to build their own independence is another huge part of the supported living that our care homes provide. Claire Hopkins, manager of Stoneygate Road Care Home and Island Place Care Centre, stresses the importance of keeping restrictions to a minimum; ‘we don’t want to pressure residents with negative rules’. Similarly, Carol Jones at Old Station Close has set up a positive recognition scheme whereby residents can carry out some of the support worker duties if they want to, such as tidying their own room or folding their clothes. The number of tasks carried out by each resident is recorded on a monthly basis and we find that this helps them work towards achieving new goals.

Initiatives like this greatly improve residents’ quality of life but they also encourage residents to learn new skills. At Old Station Close, residents are given the opportunity to join in on some courses and training that staff members themselves receive. For example, one resident, Melvin, has just completed a fire safety training course that he can use in job applications should he wish to complete them in the future. Likewise, 50 year-old Jenny was helped at Stoneygate Road to complete her level 5 NVQ in health and social childcare. Ashlands Care Home also provided Jenny with a work placement that helped her to complete this qualification, and it was a really positive achievement for her after a long background of severe violence.

Above all, staff members are experienced, dedicated and most importantly positive in all aspects of their duties. Claire ‘loves to see her residents’ achievements’ and Bernie comments that it is ‘so rewarding to watch them grow within themselves and take on more responsibility’.

For more information about how to go about choosing a mental health care home click here.

To find an adult mental health care home in your area you can use our ‘Find a care home’ tool, here.

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How to go about choosing the right mental health adult care home.

By Bev Hopkins – Care Home Manager Stoneygate Oaklands

 

What sort of a care home is Stoneygate Oaklands?

Stoneygate Oaklands, on London Road in Leicester is a care home for adults with mental health difficulties. Clients suffer from any number of mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, alcoholism, drug problems, loneliness, dissociative disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, anger problems, paranoia, panic attacks and many more.

Each and every client is different and will have their own unique mix of conditions and disorders that have resulted in them needing to live in a supported care home environment.

 

How do people generally come to be referred to your home?

The majority of clients in my home come via social services. Usually I will receive a call from social services to advise they have someone they would like to place at the home. They will send over a care assessment they will have completed for me to review.

Following this receiving the care assessment from social services I will always go an visit the individual myself to carry out my own assessment. Depending on the needs and conditions the individual may have I can often carry out several assessments before offering a place at the home.

It can be difficult to produce accurate care assessments after only seeing someone a handful of times. By their very nature those suffering from mental illness can be very different day to say. They will often answers questions depending on their mood that day, and they can demonstrate certain behaviours one day and then not the next. Therefore I like to go and visit the person myself to carry out my own assessment. This also allows me to meet the individual and get a feel for whether I think we can support their needs at our home.

Do you also have people who are privately referred to the home, either by a friend, family member or themselves?

Yes we do – although not many. I still go through exactly same procedure of visiting the individual to carry out my own assessment before making a decision as to whether or not I think my home may be the right place for them.

When you are working with people on a private basis it is much more likely they will have family or friends involved. Therefore part of my job is also to support and reassure them and answer any questions they may have about the care needs of the client, and their potential life at the home.

What would a care assessment cover and how are they carried out?

The care assessment is carried out in a face-to-face manner. I will visit the individual and just talk through various aspects of the assessment whilst I make notes based on what the individual tells me and what I observe. The key areas within the assessment include:

  • Physical health  – how fit and able they are, whether they have any physical conditions or illnesses
  • Mobility – how mobile they are, are they able to get upstairs, do they need a wheelchair etc.
  • Eating – what are their eating habits like. Are they able to cook for themselves?
  • Drinking – Do they suffer from alcoholism or have they in the past?
  • Mental health – What mental health problems do they suffer with and are these currently being treated?
  • Sleep – What are their sleep patterns like. Do they struggle with sleeping in any way?
  • Personal hygiene – Are they able to wash and dress themselves? Are they aware of what is required to ensure they practice adequate personal hygiene habits?
  • Communication – How are they able to communicate with others. Do they feel more comfortable in a group or a one-to-one conversation. Are they open to discussing their problems and feelings or do they tend to close down. Do they suffer from anger issues?

 Whilst not exhaustive this gives a pretty good idea of the types of areas we will be looking at.

Once you have carried out your assessment how do you decide if your home is the right place for that individual?

 

Following my initial assessment I will make a decision about the person coming into the home based on a) whether I fee we can meet the needs of the individual and b) how that person will fit in and live alongside others who are already in the home.

If I feel we would be able to offer them a place I would invite them to visit the home with a friend or relative if they have someone they can bring, to stay for lunch and dinner, and to join in with any activities that are happening that day.

Following the initial trial day, and providing both the individual and myself feel that the home can support their needs we will then suggest that they join us for a second trial day – or possibly a weekend stay and then finally for a for a full months trial.

During these trials we would be reviewing and amending our original assessments, seeing how they got along with staff and others in the home, reviewing how we can meet their day-to-day needs and seeing whether the home would have a positive impact on their life.

Once someone has moved into the home, how long do they normally stay?

 

This is entirely down to the individual. For some it could be for a relatively short space of time – less than a year, but for others it could become their home for the rest of their lives.

 

For those who wish to regain independence and live in the community again we will work hard alongside them to help them achieve this. This will include helping them to find work, engage in community projects and centres and eventually help to locate them a suitable place to live independently.

How do you go about keeping family and friends involved and informed?

 

We like nothing more than for family members to take an active role in our client’s day-to-day life where they can and are able. We understand the difficulties both physically and mentally of having a close relative with mental health needs and we work hard to support the family as well as the individual.

We operate a complete open door policy. Our clients are free to come and go as they like, and friends and relatives are also allowed to come and visit whenever they like. We go to great lengths to keep family and friends informed of any developments – phoning on a regular basis to give updates, and even popping round for a cup of tea and a catch up if they live near-by.

 

Finally what advice would you give to someone looking to place someone with special mental health needs in a care home?

 

Most care home providers will have a pretty good website. Have a look online, talk to social workers and your local GP and find out about the homes in your area.

 

Ring the homes you are interested in. Explain what you are looking for and listen to their advice – they will often be able to advise if their home is right for you, or if not recommend somewhere else.

 

Visit a number of homes – to see for yourself. Think about how you’d feel being in the home, is it welcoming, do you feel comfortable, are the staff approachable and easy to get on with, what are the facilities like – bedrooms, lounge and dining areas?

 

Speak to the other residents and see what they think.

 

Go on a couple of trial days. Visit at different times, during the morning, but also when busier around meal times.

 

If you need any support looking for a care home for someone you know then please call our free phone line on 0800 0463920 where one of team will be able to help or complete our contact form by clicking here. 

Whistleblowing: What Is It & Why Is It So Important?

What is Whistleblowing?

Whistleblowing is about raising concerns when you feel that someone or something is unsafe in your workplace. It is speaking out about things that you may have seen or heard that are abusive or neglectful or may be putting the clients that you work with or yourself at risk.

 

At PrimeLife it is not just about those working in our care homes reporting issues they may have seen or heard, but also friends, visitors and residents as well.

Why Might You Need to Raise Concerns?

PrimeLife has a ZERO tolerance of abuse and neglect.

 

All employees of PrimeLife have signed up to a code of conduct, which includes the responsibility to:

 

  • Be accountable for your actions and omissions.
  • Promote and uphold the privacy, dignity, rights, health & wellbeing of residents at all times.

 

At times, staff, visitors, friends, relatives or residents themselves may feel they need to speak out if they feel someone is being bullied, harassed, abused in any way or neglected in order to protect those people and keep them safe.

 

How Can Staff Raise Concerns at PrimeLife?

All of our staff are trained and aware of the reporting procedures they should follow to report behaviour that they feel is wrong or inappropriate. These procedures include

 

Speaking out to raise concerns can be a hard decision as you may feel that you are being disloyal or causing additional problems. However you must remember that by raising concerns at an early stage you can often stop the issue from becoming more serious. You can find out more about the types of concerns to raise by reading the Prime Life Whistleblowing ‘Raising Concerns’ Policy. There are also several bite size learning sheets that cover Safeguarding, Abuse and Neglect which will help you to identify if something is wrong in your workplace.

 

Prime Life encourages its staff to report issues as soon as possible using the following routes;

 

  • Report directly to your Senior or Manager
  • Report to a Regional or Associate Director
  • Report to Managing Director or other senior board member
  • Use the dedicated, confidential, free phone 24hr Prime Life Whistleblowing Helpline 0333 313 1817

 

 

How Can Friends, Relatives, Visitors or Clients Raise Concerns?

 

Within all of our homes, we have created a dedicated pack of literature, including a poster and leaflet which are easily and clearly displayed in communal areas. As well as these items, we have also launched our new dedicated freephone whistleblowing number.

 

All visitors to our home who wish to report a concern are encouraged to speak to the care home manager directly. If someone feels unable to do this then they can call the freephone whistleblowing number. This number is a dedicated service only for whistleblowing; it is operated 24 hours and a day and is completely confidential.

 

Whistleblowing freephone number 0333 313 1817

 

What Happens After You Have Raised a Concern?

 

After your concern has been raised it will be logged and you will receive a response within 24hrs (if you are happy to be contacted and have provided your details). The issue will then be investigated and any appropriate action taken. To help the process of investigation it is important to give as much information as possible, be specific about dates, times, what happened and the order of events, who was involved and whether there were any witnesses.

 

PrimeLife Whistleblowing Policy

Our Whistleblowing ‘Raising Concerns’ Policy provides more information about this and how the law protects you when you do raise a concern. You can access the policy here. 

Whistleblowing Policy

Below you will find our Whistleblowing Policy (July 2014). For more information about our approach to Whistleblowing, including the introduction of our own dedicated confidential freephone number please click here.

Whistleblowing Policy

  1. 1.    Definition

Whistleblowing

Whistleblowing is the act of raising concerns about malpractice, wrongdoing or fraud at work. Employees are often the first to realise that there is something seriously wrong with working practices, treatment of clients or if systems are not being followed. Staff may feel that they are not able to express their concerns as they feel that speaking up would be disloyal to their colleagues or to Prime Life. This Whistleblowing Policy encourages and enables employees to raise serious concerns within Prime Life rather than overlooking a problem so that it can be investigated and appropriate actions taken so that both clients and staff are safeguarded.

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA) provides legal protection against detriment for workers who raise concerns in the public interest (also known as making a disclosure) about dangers, risks, malpractice or wrongdoing in the workplace which affects others. To be protected the disclosure must fit the criteria as outlined in section 6 of this policy.

Within the social care sector there are also moral, ethical and professional issues to consider in relation to raising concerns.

Staff registered with a professional regulatory body such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) have to adhere to their respective codes of conduct which place a duty on the practitioner to raise concerns where they see instances of poor practice or wrong doing.

It is an expectation of Prime Life that all social care workers that it employs abide by the Social Care Code of Conduct. Prime Life provides a copy of this code of conduct on employment and reinforces this requirement within the Employee Handbook.

 

  1. 2.    Policy Statement

Prime Life is committed to the highest possible standards of openness, integrity and accountability in order to comply with its Duty of Candour (the volunteering of any relevant information regarding the significant harm of any person within its care). In line with that commitment we expect employees, and others that we deal with, who have serious concerns about any aspect of the Prime Life’s work to come forward and voice those concerns.

Prime Life believes that safeguarding the health and wellbeing of the clients in its care is paramount and as such takes a zero tolerance to abuse and neglect in all forms and expect their employees to do the same.

Staff are expected to make sure that they understand and follow the Safeguarding Policy and local arrangements for reporting.

The policy applies to all employees, (including those designated as temporary, bank staff, volunteers or work experience), and those contractors working for Prime Life, for example, maintenance staff, drivers etc. It also covers suppliers and those providing services under a contract with Prime Life whilst on their premises.

The Managing Director and Strategic Board have ultimate responsibility for this policy however its implementation and compliance is delegated through senior Management, Registered Managers and all other staff.

  1. 3.    Aims of the Policy

The aims of the policy are to:

  • Encourage all staff to feel confident in raising concerns.
  • Question and act upon concerns about practice.
  • Provide a way for staff to raise concerns in confidence.
  • Ensure that staff receive a response to any concerns raised and how to pursue them if they are not satisfied.
  • Provide reassurance that you will be protected from possible reprisals or victimisation if you have a reasonable belief that you have made any disclosures in the public interest.

 

  1. 4.    Types of Concerns Covered

This policy document covers the following concerns but not exclusive to:

  • Conduct which is an offence or a breach of law.
  • Failure to comply with a legal obligation.
  • Health and safety risks, including risks to clients, other employees and members of the public.
  • Damage to the working environment and work equipment.
  • Possible fraud and corruption including mis-use of client and company funds.
  • Sexual, physical or other abuse of clients.
  • Neglect of clients.
  • Actions which are unprofessional, inappropriate or conflict with a general understanding of what is rights and wrong.
  • Any other unethical conduct.

 Difference between Grievance & Whistleblowing

A grievance tends to be an issue, problem or complaint about their work, working conditions or employment rights. If you wish to complain to management about your treatment and have a personal interest in ensuring that the issue is addressed you should use the Prime Life grievance procedure NOT the whistleblowing route –details of this process can be found within the Grievance Policy.

Whistleblowing is a process to alert others to a concern so that it can be addressed however they do not have a vested interest in the outcome of the investigation and do not need to prove the malpractice.

When an individual raises a concern with a manager, they should consider whether it is a qualifying whistleblowing concern or whether the matter is a personal employment issue which would be more appropriately dealt with through the grievance procedure.

 

  1. 5.    Confidentiality

Prime Life will treat all concerns in confidence and every effort will be made not to reveal your identity if you so wish. There may be a need, however, for your identity to become known for example during legal, disciplinary or police investigations or proceedings. If this is the case, Prime Life will discuss this with the worker.

This policy encourages you however to put your name to your concern whenever possible as this will help with investigating the concern raised, confirm evidence to substantiate allegations and give feedback to you regarding the concern.

  1. 6.    Protection for workers

Prime Life recognizes that the decision to report a concern can be a difficult one to make. If what you are saying is true, you should have nothing to fear because you will be doing your duty to Prime Life as your employer and to those that you provide care for. Prime Life will not tolerate any harassment or victimisation and will take all reasonable steps to protect you when you raise a concern. Co-workers who victimise whistleblowers could be held personally liable for their actions.

Prime Life will ensure that any individual who raises a genuine concern under this policy will not be at risk of losing their job or suffer any form of retribution as a result.

Protection under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA)

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 protects whistleblowers from detrimental or unfavourable treatment and victimisation from their employers and co-workers after they have made a qualifying disclosure (see Appendix 1) of a concern in the public interest. The Act covers all workers including those on temporary contracts or supplied by an agency and trainees. PIDA does not usually cover students or volunteers.

Internal disclosures

Prime Life encourages its staff to make internal disclosures (raise concerns directly with us) so that we can have the opportunity to address the issue. If a worker makes a qualifying disclosure internally to Prime Life, they will be protected by PIDA.

External disclosures

If a disclosure is made externally there are conditions which need to be satisfied before a disclosure will be protected by PIDA. One of these conditions must be met:

  • If the disclosure is made to a ‘prescribed person’ (see Appendix 2), the worker must reasonably believe that the concern they are raising is one that is relevant to that prescribed person and that the disclosure is substantially true;
  • A worker can also be protected if they reasonably believe that the disclosure is substantially true, the disclosure is not made for personal gain, it is reasonable to make the disclosure and one of the following conditions apply;
    • At the time the disclosure is made the worker reasonably believes that he/she will be subjected to a detriment by his/her employer if they make a disclosure to their employer or;
    • The worker reasonably believes that it is likely that evidence relating to the failure/wrongdoing will be concealed or destroyed if the disclosure is made to the employer or;
    • The worker has previously made a disclosure to his/her employer
    • Additional conditions apply to other wider disclosures to the police or media. These disclosures can be protected if the worker reasonably believes that the disclosure is substantially true, the disclosure is of an exceptionally serious nature and it is reasonable to make the disclosure.

 

  1. 7.    How to Raise a Concern

Internal Disclosures

As a first step staff should raise any concerns with their immediate supervisor or Manager either face to face, by telephone, in writing either by letter or email.

If you feel you cannot approach your immediate supervisor/Manager for any reason e.g. they are implicated in the concern you should approach a more senior Manager within Prime Life (see Appendix 3 for Prime Life structure) Concerns can also be made in writing to:

Managing Director Prime Life Limited

Caenarvon House

121 Knighton Church Road

Leicester

LE2 3JN

If you feel that you wish to highlight a concern but are not comfortable approaching your supervisor, Manager, other senior Manager or by writing you can also use the dedicated Prime Life Whistleblowing Helpline.

This is a confidential 24hr free phone line that will enable you to leave a message with your concerns. To make a confidential call please ring the Prime Life Whistleblowing Helpline on:

0333 313 1817

External Disclosures

If you feel that you have exhausted all internal routes to raise concerns and feel that nothing has been done and that you believe that the information is substantially true you may raise concerns with an external organisation e.g. the Care Quality Commission (see Appendix 2 for examples of relevant organisations).

Wider disclosures for example to the police or media may be protected under certain circumstances.  Significant additional conditions apply to these forms of disclosure in order for disclosure to remain protected, with going to the media being a last resort.

  1. 8.    Process for dealing with concerns raised

Where a concern has been raised you will receive an acknowledgement of your concern within 24hrs upon receipt of the disclosure.

The concern will be taken seriously and be investigated by the most appropriate person(s) which may include Care Home Managers, Regional Directors & Associates, Director of Human Resources plus other Strategic Directors.

Wherever possible you will be given feedback on the process and outcome of the investigation as soon as it is reasonable to do so.

Prime Life take a serious view on false or malicious allegations and will take disciplinary action on staff that knowing make a disclosure that is untrue.

  1. 9.    Support when you have raised a concern

Prime Life acknowledges that staff may feel isolated and unsure about what to do when they are thinking about raising a concern or following raising a concern. Advice on the Whistleblowing process is available from the Prime Life Human Resources Team, from the National Whistleblowing Helpline (see Further Guidance & Advice section), from your professional body or Trade Union if you are a member of one. Counselling services may be accessed via your GP or call the national helpline who may be able to help you.

 

10.Training

Training on how to raise a concern will be covered during the Induction process and at regular intervals thereafter.

11. Monitoring & Review

Prime Life expects that all concerns raised are reported to the appropriate Regional Director and /or Managing Director.

Outcomes of all concerns raised whether found to be valid or not will be logged. Analysis of themes and trends taken from all concerns raised will be used by Prime Life in a preventative capacity by the senior Management Team on a regular basis and will be used to subsequently inform this policy and procedure.

This policy, procedures and its effectiveness will be reviewed on an annual basis or more frequently if required by both the Prime Life Strategic and Operational Board members.

12. Further Guidance & Advice

Prime Life acknowledges that this policy and procedures cannot cover all eventualities arising from concerns raised.

Further support, guidance documents, good practice guides and bite size learning materials are available from the Quality Matters Team.

A national Whistleblowing Helpline and website are also available to both NHS and Social Care staff using web address http://www.wbhelpline.org.uk/

You can make contact by sending an email, completing the on-line form or calling on 08000 724 725

The website contains lots of useful information for both Managers and workers about raising concerns at work.

Professional regulators such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) are able to provide their members with advice about whistleblowing.

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