Paperwork and professionalism

Posted on December 12th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 2 comments

By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson

Last Wednesday I attended a training session for senior care workers whose care homes were working towards Gold Standards Framework (GSF) accreditation for end of life care. This particular module – the fourth in a series of five – focused on meeting a resident’s spiritual needs and supporting a resident’s family and friends.

What struck me was the professionalism of those attending – they weren’t managers but senior carers appointed by their homes to motivate and lead their colleagues towards accreditation. These people do the care sector proud; they responded to the course facilitators and were clearly engaged with the accreditation process. I sensed their commitment to their work and the human compassion they brought to it. These people will become the care home managers of tomorrow and it bodes well.

I was equally struck by the mountain of ongoing paperwork that is required in order to gain GSF accreditation, this on top of all the other paperwork which goes with their job. They all complained about the burden; in the breaks I heard “We are so busy writing things down we don’t have time to spend with the residents” more than once. In one session, two senior care workers on the course said they often went in on their days off to complete the necessary paperwork.

It has oft-times been said but I’ll say it again; this weight of bureaucracy is counterproductive and is compromising the quality of care. Regulatory bodies and their inspectors need to shift their focus away from checking that all the right forms have been filled-in and spend more time on the direct observation of service delivery.

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

2 responses to “Paperwork and professionalism”

  1. John Burton says:

    The proof of the pudding is in the eating, not in the recipe. Experienced cooks no longer need the recipe and each of them may produce a different and special pudding. Indeed, they may adjust their recipe according to available ingredients and they may experiment and make an even better pudding than before. There is not one universally agreed way to make the best pudding, so why would we think there is only one way of giving good care?
    But there is a useful rule to apply to care paperwork: record only what is required for good care (the core task), therefore any time spent on paperwork purely for inspection or accreditation is wasted time and diverts us from care.

  2. Tom Tanner says:

    While the opening two paragraphs of this blog post wholly align with our assessment of the hundreds, in fact thousands, of care home staff that have attended GSF training workshops over the past 12 years, I must take issue with the last two paragraphs.
    Yes, there is paperwork involved in the GSF Care Homes Training programme and subsequent accreditation. However, much of it, like the coding and After Death Analysis is widely, if not unanimously, welcomed as a time-saver by those who participate in the programme. Once established in the home, GSF becomes second nature for care home staff and rather than creating additional work, helps the workforce avoid crises and frees them up to deliver more person-centred care in line with residents’ wishes – reminding them why they entered the profession in the first place.
    While attendees at this workshop were asked about the ‘barriers and blocks’ that existed and paperwork was mentioned, in general terms, as an issue – this was not specific to GSF. The weight of bureaucracy was not an overwhelming theme of these discussions. In fact, ongoing changes in the sector and transitions in individual homes were more pressing and challenging issues. So, to say that ‘they all complained about the burden’, would be a considerable overstatement.
    GSF was introduced into care homes to provide staff with a framework and the tools to ensure residents receive the right care, in the right place at the right time. The accreditation process is robust and requires hard work from homes to demonstrate that they are meeting the necessary standard. What it is absolutely not, is an additional mountain of paperwork. We believe that it would not have the wholehearted supported of the major care homes organisations (RNHA, NCF, Care England), and AgeUK if it was.

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