It’s been another busy year for us, and there have been many changes that have happened over the course of it. Not least is the news that Julia became the Registered Manager, taking over this role from me in January, initially as acting Manager. It took a long time for all the official procedures to be completed, and also consisted of a nearly 3 hour interview by the CQC, to make sure Julia knew her stuff and was appropriate to take over the running of the service. Needless to say she passed with flying colours and has been doing an amazing job in her new role and Registration.
Karen also joined us as our new Care Manager, and has been settling in well over the last year. We have also had a number of new Care and Support Workers join us, who we hope will be part of the family in no time. There have been some sad changes too, with a number of people moving on to do new things or return to previous work, such as nursing and teaching. All those who have moved on have said what a wonderful experience it has been to work for Hestia Care and to meet and help support such wonderful people.
With regards to what we have achieved over the last year, I thought it may be interesting for you to read the report I sent Companies House. This runs from March 2016 – April 2017:
“When Hestia Care at Home was set up we stated that the Company would use the surplus profits to meet certain criteria. We said that, for those who felt they were not able to afford the full price, we would offer a discounted rate. We have offered this from the very start. We reviewed our price structure at the start of 2017 and introduced a higher tariff that Clients could choose to pay if they felt they were able to and if they wished to help support those who may not be able to afford the service without a reduction to the cost and/or Direct Payments. We also have a lower rate for those funded by the Local Authority and the NHS’ Continuing Health Care.
In the year between 1st March 2016 and 28th February 2017 Hestia Care at Home provided care directly to 58 Clients, as well as supporting their families and friends in the process. Of the 58 people we supported, 10 Clients had a 10% reduction from their invoice and another 12 had a reduced cost through Devon County Council or Continuing Health Care payments. We provided End of Life Support to 7 Clients.
Hestia Care at Home has also focused on the sustainable development of the Company’s activities so we can continue to provide services to the area and currently have a waiting list, as our service is in demand. Between the above dates the Company already had employed the Director, Care Manager and 2 Senior Carers and had 4 established Care and Support Workers. At the start of January 2017 the Care Manager was promoted to Registered Manager and a new Care Manager was employed. We have employed and trained a further 2 people to provide our service. We have focused on maintaining the business, keeping standards high and growing organically.
The Care Quality Commission inspected Hestia Care at Home in July 2016. This was done over two days and consisted of our procedures being checked, as well as face to face interviews with Clients and Staff and questionnaires sent out to all those who come into contact with us, ranging from Occupational Therapists, District Nurses, Pharmacists to family members and Clients. We received the results in September and found we had achieved an Outstanding Rating, which has been given to less than 1% of Care Providers across the whole of the UK. An independent survey ranked us as 12th in the country.”
Sadly, one aspect that is having an influence on us is that we have been noticing the effects of Government cuts, and these are having an impact on many areas of our work. Related to this is that we have a significant waiting list of people hoping to use our service. There is pressure to grow to meet the increasing need and demand but our priority is always the experience of the Client, and that we will always put people before profit. We recognise that there is a need to grow, but we will continue to do this organically and in our own time. As we try to grow a little I am always mindful of the need to balance the personal touch with the need to meet the difficult circumstances we are facing within society. With this in mind, I hope that will be able to maintain our Outstanding service in the coming year and, as always, we strive to keep standards high.
It has been an amazing year for Hestia Care at Home and we want to take this opportunity to share with you what has been happening and what we are hoping to do in the future. It feels like a very exciting time for us.
You may be aware by now that we got an “OUTSTANDING” rating from the CQC in our most recent inspection. This is really great news and all credit to the team who have worked so hard, with care and dedication, to make this happen. And thank you to those who contributed your thoughts and comments. There are some lovely quotes that have been added to the Inspector’s Report.
Also in the last year and beyond… Claire completed her Level 5 Diploma in Health and Social Care. Julia has just started hers and Sonya has also just started her Level 3. We have also been involved in helping to develop a Care Certificate Consortium in the South West, to actively work towards increasing standards in care across the sector.
As a Community Interest Company we have social agreements that we have set and promised to uphold. Our aim is to provide the highest standard of care, support and assistance to those who wish to remain at home, and, since we started we have provided this care to 103 Clients, as well as supporting families and friends in the process. Of these, 21 Clients had a 10% reduction from their invoice and another 18 were at reduced cost through Devon County Council or Continuing Health Care payments. We also agreed to subsidise the cost of mileage for 3 Clients.
Price Increase… We have always been transparent in the breakdown of our costs and these can be seen on our website. Since we launched in June 2012 we have only increased our prices once, in January 2015. It is never something we like to do, but in reality it is an inevitable part of running a business, so, from this point onwards there will be an increase to our prices. The website has been amended to reflect this.
It is essential to us that we continue to provide a high standard, flexible and responsive service, and we have promised to ensure we are accessible for all, whatever the circumstances. In order to be able to support the subsidised services we are introducing a higher rate too, for those who have the means to be able to afford this. If people are able to manage the higher rate and would like to support others in this way, then a heartfelt thank you. This means we can continue to provide services to all.
And finally… future plans… Claire is currently on a second course at the Dartington School of Social Entrepreneurs, called Seedbed, and is for developing established businesses. We want to ensure a strong base for Hestia Care, as well as starting to look into additional services, such as hairdressing, chiropody, counselling, yoga, massage etc. It has always been our wish to be totally holistic in our support and we would love to hear your thoughts on what you would be interested in. Hopefully we will be able to look into these changes in the coming year. We will keep you updated as things progress.
I have just had the privilege of spending my weekend helping the initial stages of development on a community plan for the local Atmos Project. The old dairy site in Totnes has been empty and derelict for many years, but is part of an exciting new development, where the plan is to bring the 8 hectare brownfield site into community ownership and to submit a Community Right to Build. This would mean that the community itself determines the development of the site.
The last few months the project has been open to the public and around 1200 people have been in to contribute their memories of the past, thoughts on the present and ideas for the future. At random about 20 people were picked to help look look through all the information gathered from the community and to start to put it all together to develop a community plan for the site and I was one of those people.
The idea of community is one that is coming back into focus. I feel this is essential if we are to move away from the damaging idea of constant growth and if we are to re-build the connections that have become lost with the current quest for individual fulfilment, economic success and mobility. As with all things, it's not a case of one is right and one is wrong, my belief is one of balance.
We are so fortunate here to have so many community ideas on our doorstep. On Friday I went to a Community Potluck Dinner. I have shares in a Community Pub, I have spoken to so many people getting involved in community growing, Co-operatives and Social Enterprises. Within the Atmos Project, so many of the ideas that came out of the consultation were for community inclusion, young and old alike. Growing, cooking, sharing, learning, housing, workshops, creating space to pass on skills from parenting to blacksmithing, being part of sharing space, the arts, activities, culture, history. It is all so exciting.
And here at Hestia we are about to enter into our third year! We continue to provide high quality care for those in the community and I am as determined as ever to move the shift away from profits and money to care and love. My thoughts turn to the future and the weekend has strengthened my resolve to develop a space that is truly holistic and caring, that will provide extra services and support and open up the community to older people. It is time to re-think the whole system.
In the leap year of February 2012 Hestia Care at Home was started and here we are now, two years on and going strong. I feel so lucky to be able to work in an area that I love so much and I am so glad that I took that leap forward to start something I believed in. There have been so many touching moments, when I have felt so honoured to be able to help someone, whether it was the person receiving care or a member of their family. The act of giving, helping, supporting is a reward in itself and a small moment of thoughtfulness can make a huge difference to someone's day. The day to day tasks that most of us take for granted can become a laborious effort to manage and seemingly simple things can become so difficult. The simple act of washing someone on a bed, who is unable to move freely or speak, but who looks you in the eye and smiles a thank you can melt your heart. Taking the time to consider what it must be like to be in their position. Knowing how cold a flannel can feel on the body, regardless of how warm the water is. Understanding that there is an individual within the person, who is still able to feel and who wants to be secure, respected and cherished. When we work at this level, we are connecting with ourselves, and with the other person, in the simple act of kindness and in this way respect is automatic.
When I got the phone call earlier this year to say that the CQC were coming that afternoon, the nerves of the first inspection had gone. I was looking forward to showing them our achievements and I welcomed the opportunity to be able to demonstrate how care can be delivered. Reading the final report, I am so proud of the team here at Hestia. It shows that all that we stand for, the values we hold and the standards we set ourselves have been recognised and I hope that, as we continue to grow, we can continue to show others that good care is possible and achievable. I strongly believe that the model of putting people before profit is the only way forward.
To read the report please go to: Inspection Report published 21 February 2014
I am sitting in my office at Leatside Surgery as autumn approaches and I am amazed at how quickly the last 15 months have flown by! My plan had been to keep up to date with blogs and comments and to let everyone know how we are doing, but somehow there has never been enough time in the day! And this is a good thing, because we have been busy providing a great service. Hestia is about to take on its 5th member of staff and since our launch in June last year we have helped and supported 22 different clients and covered many thousands of hours of care. We have had great feedback from all our clients. A few comments we have received include:
"Warm, kind, professional, knowledgeable, experienced, holistic, friendly, light and optimistic."
"Personalised care which has adapted to our changing needs, love and kindness, skill and energy."
"Excellent care and lovely people to have assisting."
"Outstanding service, above and beyond the remit."
"The service has always been excellent. They did everything well and were caring, efficient and friendly."
"Mum loves your visits, and I am reassured she is in good hands, which gives me great peace of mind."
In January we had a surprise inspection by the CQC and did very well. Part of the inspection was talking directly to those who receive the service. All those who were contacted gave glowing reports, leading our inspector to jokingly ask how much we had paid them! To see the final report go to: Inspection Report published 6 February 2013
Another great achievement was that we were voted into the top 20 Transition orientated social enterprises list. To view this please click on the link http://www.reconomy.org/the-new-economy-in-20-enterprises/
We are also included in the REconomy Project Blueprint in their Health and Social Care section (although the web address is wrong) Download - T&D Local Economic Blueprint summary report
And I made it onto the front page of the Totnes Times in March as part of a Dartington School of Social Entrepreneurs write up! A little embarrassing, as I popped into Morrison's in my uniform and found a wall of images of me, in my uniform, smiling from the shelves. I was stopped a couple of times that visit!
So, all in all it has been a great start and I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped get us up and running and who has continued to support us a long the way. It has been a pleasure to be able to help all those who have used our service and we will continue to provide the best quality care that we can.
_ Hestia care at Home have had their launch party to introduce their alternative approach to Home Care.
On the 13th June I was joined by a lovely group of people from the local community at Leatside Surgery to celebrate the launch of Hestia care at Home. It was a fun and lively event with lots of enthusiastic discussion and debate. It was also a chance to say thank you to the many people who have helped to get us up and running. The room was full of bunting and wild flowers and the mood was helped with tea from vintage tea cups and scones with jam and thick clotted cream. There was also strawberries and fizz to toast the launch, and I must confess I may have got a little tearful saying all my thank you's!
But there was also a serious note to the day. The current financial crisis is always in our minds and the cuts to the care system are highlighted to me on a regular basis when talking to people who receive services. Many are being asked where they think they could reduce the amount of care they get, and understandably they are worried about the consequences. These cuts have recently been warned as dangerous by the British Red Cross. We want to show that by being a Community Interest Company we can re-think how money is spent and invested in Home Care. To us it is a win win win situation with all parties benefiting.
Also discussed was the importance of remembering dignity and care at all times when delivering care. Celia Atherton from the Abundant Life Project at Dartington also at the launch. She highlighted the importance of recognising dignity, respect and choice for older people, something the Abundant Life Project also feel very strongly about. She said: “This is a subject very close to my heart. We share a desire to create a community that values dignity and respect. It is a shame that these values aren’t taken as read, but as it is, it is important we keep talking about them. We must see people for being people and recognise the fact that none of us feel any different as we get older. When a professional goes in to help someone, it is as a human being too. Hestia is a fantastic example of showing us how to do things better. It is infused with warmth, care and planning and I wish it every success.”
So, here´s to our success - cheers
Well, it has been a while since I last posted an entry and so much has happened in between now and last October!
At the start of 2012 we became incorporated with Companies House as a Community Interest Company. We also got a very smart office in the new and extended part of Leatside Surgery and then applied for registration with the Care Quality Commission. I'm very pleased to be able to say we were granted this first time round! The visit was in May and they went through all the policies and procedures and checked that everything was in order. We were granted registration without needing to amend, add or review anything so all that diligent crossing i's and dotting t's paid off and I must admit I even enjoyed it! I got to stand on my soapbox and get enthusiastic about home care provision for three hours. That was another hurdle crossed and now it is all about letting people know we are here. We have our launch party on Wednesday the 13th June to celebrate and I'm looking forward to being able to say thank you to those who have helped us get to this point and to share our ideas with those who are new to us.
Much has also happened in the news and Home Care hit the headlines in November last year, highlighting the gaps in the system. The reports strengthened my belief about keeping small and local to an area. I believe it is much harder for this kind of neglect to happen when there is a close working team and fewer Clients. Problems can not be hidden when there is regular communication between all involved. Covering a small geographical area means that any concerns can be addressed quickly and efficiently. I have seen this way of working first hand when I worked for Care with Care Ltd in Oxford. This is a business based in a village called Eynsham and was the original foundation to the idea of Hestia care at Home. The Director and Manager, Jan, is locally based, has good staff retention, pays her staff well, including for training, meetings, petrol and travel time. She holds meetings every week to discuss each Client and is known in the village as having a good reputation.She also ensures that all staff and Client's are introduced to each other before any care is given. She has a solid business and has been running it successfully since 2002. It seems logical to me that the best way to ensure a high standard of quality is to maintain this level of interaction and intervention at Hestia care at Home.
So, this is the message we will be telling everyone on Wednesday.
Hi, and welcome to my first ever blog. I am wanting to set up this space to open up the discussion about the way we care for older people within our society.
I'm going to start this by sharing an article by Madeleine Bunting from the Guardian
Our market-shaped way of life has no time for the elderly or the art of caring
She writes "Caring for others cannot be totted up according to a calculus of cost and returns. It [marketisation] denigrates and belittles the qualities needed to care, such as patience and gentleness.
What we have lost is any concept of honouring the elders, respect for their frailty, and recognition that supporting their final years before death is important for all of us - that death is part of what makes our lives meaningful."
There is an art to caring, and part of that art is to recognise qualities such as patience and gentleness. An essential key to this is empathy.
I first started working with older people when I was 19 and I currently work as a care and support worker for older people in their own homes. The reason I am in the process of setting up my own home care is because I care passionately about ensuring older people are recognised and supported.
Every one of us has an aspect within us that is ageless. It is this part of us that will never feel the number that has been assigned to us. I am 35 next month. What does this mean? Will I feel any different the day after that date on the calendar? I have heard said so many times, I can't believe I'm 78, or I'm 84 or I'm 90 or even i'm 102! Because when we go inside ourselves, there is an element that stays the same, that is forever youthful and has no age. It is the importance of recognising this in everyone that is so vital in the area of care for older people. We need to see beyond the exterior and remember that the person in front of us was also 35 at one time in their life and part of them still feels that they are. And it is remembering this fact that helps us to show the empathy necessary to provide a loving and caring service.
Claire Burton has worked with older people for many years. Her background is in Occupational Therapy. She has now set up a Holistic Home Care Community Interest Company, to deliver care to older people in and around Totnes in Devon.