Balhousie residents have their say with launch of charter
Caring Times, April 2017
In a first-of-its-kind move in the care home sector, Balhousie Care Group has launched a participation charter that commits to residents getting a bigger say than ever in the care they receive.
The Balhousie Participation Charter, which was launched last week to Balhousie’s 24 care home managers, states that residents must be part of events in the homes, be able to speak out about their care, be involved in writing care home policies, and have a say in recruiting staff. The charter is a culmination of Balhousie’s company-wide drive towards personalisation of care and increased participation across the group’s care homes, an initiative it calls ‘Together We’re Great’.
The charter was created by Balhousie residents and staff and inspired by National Involvement Network (NIN) and the Association for Real Change (ARC) Scotland. In a NIN report published last year, organisations reported that participation charters provided a framework for continual improvement, embedded the values and culture of an organisation, provided a catalyst for change, and led to improved staff recruitment.
Louise Barnett, director of operations at Balhousie Care Group, said: “Given the huge success of our Together We’re Great initiative, which has encouraged bridge building among care home staff, head office support staff and residents, we felt that a Participation Charter was the next step. It formalises a lot of what we have been working towards as an organisation, and sets out clear expectations and measurable outcomes. More importantly, it is a charter written in collaboration with the residents themselves.”
Paddy Carstairs, development worker with ARC Scotland and one of the staff who worked closely with Balhousie to develop the charter, said: “Having people involved in decisions about their care and support and having them take part in the recruitment and training of staff just makes sense on a personal level, and it makes good organisational sense too. It makes for a better organisation in terms of the way people are being supported.”
Carstairs said he hoped the launch of Balhousie’s participation charter would encourage more operators in the care home sector to follow its lead. “Participation charters are being used extensively in the mental health and disability sectors. Balhousie was the first company in the care home sector to approach us. We would be very encouraged if other care home groups came forward and did the same.”