England & Wales Health and social care

Lifting the lives of care workers

More and more people are going to need care. We may need up to a million more care workers over the coming decade. The wages are low (and uncertain on zero hours contracts), the conditions can be poor and respect is scanty.  Currently, there’s turnover of almost a third of home care staff each year.  We have exactly the right set up for a looming labour shortage and a resultant care crisis.

Through the Commission on the Future of the Home Care Workforce, we’ve been looking at issues of pay, terms and training.  But even paying more will probably not deliver the care we need because care is commissioned in a task and time fashion – which is meant to guarantee that certain things should be done  – but removes flexibility and judgement from the people at the point of care.

During our research we found a service design project on home care which could help in terms of organising more care with more consistent teams, more flexible and appropriate care and a system which helps to motivate and reward care workers for the essential service they provide.  Some of this is about enabling technology, but most of it is about changing ways of working – sometimes quite subtly, but with a potentially profound effect.

Sebastian Nause-Blueml has been developinpaulg Lift – an approach which recognises care workers who are want to develop their skills and who are loyal employees.  It helps care workers share information about clients and manage their work better.   Last week, representatives from Tri-borough care commissioning, Mears, Essex , Public World, and Paul Burstow, MP gathered at LGiU offices to think about whether and how this approach should be developed.

It was a very positive first step and we’re interested in taking this further. Let us know if you are, too.