In this week’s blog I would like to celebrate the work of our relative quality checkers. This is a dedicated team of family members who give up their time voluntarily to carry out unannounced inspection visits in CMG services. We set the scheme up around 6 years ago and several of our original quality checkers are still going strong. The idea is that we provide an extra layer of assurance by asking relatives of people we support to visit services and give us their views of what is working well and what could be better. They bring the unique perspective of caring relative looking at what is important to them for their son or daughter or brother or sister. Working with the checkers, we developed an assessment format which they complete which identify those aspects of quality that they feel are particularly important. The Checkers chat to the people who live at the service, and staff to gain an understanding of how people feel about their support, staff morale etc. Following the visit, the Checkers compile a brief report using a tool that they have developed, with recommendations for improvements as relevant. For understandable reasons, people cannot carry out checks in the service which supports their next of kin.
I would like to profile one of our longest standing quality checkers, a fantastic lady called Verna:
Verna has pretty much been with us from the start, and is a brilliant quality checker. This could be due to her matron and midwifery background or purely because she has the interest of others at heart. Verna has been involved CMG for a long time, firstly through her son living at one of our houses. He’s an unforgettable character! When Verna heard about the relative quality checker scheme, she was keen to get involved. She thought it would be a great way to give something back, and make a difference to people’s lives. But not only that she wanted to see what was going on behind the scenes, get a feel for what the company does for individuals like her son.
All relative quality checkers have a format in which they follow, to see if the services are performing efficiently, affectively and safely. When Verna visits a service she speaks to the staff first leaving the manager to last. This is to identify if the staff have adequate training, and to offer support. She checks to see if the residents are happy in their home environment, well presented and if they have engaging interaction with the staff. She likes to see pictures on the walls, individualised rooms, evidence of days out and regular activities. The personal touches that you would expect to see in someones house. Verna says this hands on approach really gives her the chance to see what is transpiring in the homes, then highlight any issues and feed this information back to head office. She is particularly impressed with the cultural and ethnicity efforts that go into the services. She told me how over the years she has built lovely relationships with some of the residents, and how they recognise her when she visits.
I will finish with a quote from Verna:
“I started to be a relative quality checker to keep an eye on what was going on in the organisation, and pleased to say that most of the services really are a home from home with real quality care”
We are always keen to increase the numbers of Relative Checkers, in England and Wales, so if you are curious or interested please contact Dan Dunman (Quality Support Manager) via firstname.lastname@example.org