A Culture of Accountability

Scandals like Winterbourne View and Mid-Staffs have understandably knocked people’s confidence in the health and care system. Part of our commitment to rebuilding that trust comes from making sure that people are held to account for failings when they occur. We don’t want a culture of fear, but we have to ensure that in cases where people have failed in their responsibilities, those people are held to account.” - Norman Lamb

Care standards have come under heightened scrutiny in light of recent high profile cases of abuse and neglect. Improving accountability on both an individual and organisational level is an important step towards bettering levels of care and restoring faith in the sector.

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Because accountability is dependent on the provision of evidence, it is best achieved through monitoring and documenting staff performance. Beyond assigning responsibility, this feedback is essential in motivating development. As well as highlighting trouble areas in order to improve on them, it is also a means to provide evidence of, and reinforce, good practices. Care organisations that adopt processes that allow for continual learning and development will encourage improved staff performance and consequentially an enhanced level of care.

“If employees and organisations are holding themselves more accountable, then the [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1171","attributes":{"class":"media-image size-medium wp-image-5965 alignright","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"300","height":"225","alt":"Aidcall Call Point(1)"}}]]desire to learn and use evidence-based practices and performance measurement tools will be increased, thus engendering continuous assessment, learning and change… The ultimate goal of creating a culture of accountability is to create a continuously learning organisation.” – The Health Care Manager, Volume 28, Number 2.

Useful information to assist in this process can be obtained through your nurse call system. Downloadable call logging software is designed to track and store all call information and provide an easily accessible platform from which to analyse it. The software will provide details of all calls raised through the system as well as logging staff movement. Linked to computers or other devices, both on and off site, this downloadable information can provide detailed insights into the performance of individual staff members. It can indicate how long staff spend with residents, whether they have completed the correct health checks and their response times to emergency calls. It provides measurable data for management teams to utilise during audits, staff reviews and is an invaluable means for safeguarding staff.

My own discussions with Care Home Managers have proved how valuable this tool can be.

Earlier this year I met Annette Vincent, Home Manager of Ashdown Residential Home in Teignmouth, which cares for those living with both learning disabilities and old age. She expressed how important monitoring staff behaviour was to maintaining high levels of care particularly when caring for vulnerable people, “The data logging system is good for supervision because the records allow you to check what staff have been doing. It is useful because you can analyse the facts, print it off and ensure the right checks are being done.” Homeowner, David Rogers, added, “I [can] go on the system at any time and have a look to see if people are doing the right checks and I didn’t know you could do that!”

On many sites there are already measures in place to structure a movement towards better accountability, they just need to be utilised. Facilities such as call logging software offer the assurance that poor care will be recognised, challenged and improved, as well as, importantly, the promise that good care will be celebrated and continued. It will also protect staff against claims of inadequate care and can reassure residents, their families and indeed the general public that the care sector is capable of providing the high level of care we all expect.

If you would like to know more about Aid Call’s call logging software, or our other nurse call solutions, contact us at 01670 357431 or visit www.aidcall.co.uk.