National Safeguarding Week – A Q&A with Jennifer Hards, Business Support Leader

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The importance of safeguarding

With companies and individuals throughout the UK supporting National Safeguarding Week, we felt it was essential as a specialist care agency, to hundreds of individuals and their families, to demonstrate how we continuously ensure the safety of everyone we work with.

Jennifer Hards, Business Support Leader, has worked with ND Care & Support for 3 years’ and has been extremely influential in promoting the importance of safeguarding throughout the company.

Tell us a little bit about ND Care & Support? 

ND Care & Support is a care provider that has registered offices in Llanishen, Abertillery and Cross Hands, and collectively provides services in 11 counties across Wales; Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Torfaen and Vale of Glamorgan.

We have been providing care since 2003, and currently have more than 350 care workers supporting more than 450 individuals and their families. We provide care reflective of our service users’ needs, from homecare to community support, supporting children, young people and adults to achieve what matters to them.

Why is safeguarding important for ND Care & Support? 

Safeguarding is so important to us, in fact, I often think that we could probably have that as our main, if not only, defined responsibility on our job description, “to safeguard individuals”, it really is in everything we do!

“Safeguarding” should not be seen as a reactionary red carpet rolled out in a crisis; safeguarding is about preventing crisis in the first place. We safeguard the people we support with every step we take in care; we always get consent for the support we provide, we keep care notes on all actions, tasks and outcomes, we report on changes to environment, health, need, and ability, and we always have a focus on person-centred care, meaning that we listen to the people we support and provide care based on their needs to ensure their safety and wellbeing, and improve their quality of life.

What does ND Care & Support do to recognise the importance of safeguarding? 

The wellbeing and safety of everyone we work with and support is always at the centre of everything we do. All our care workers receive training in Safeguarding Individuals at the outset of their new role, and we ensure that this is refreshed regularly throughout their careers.

There are many other ways that we ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone we work with and support, some of which may not be so obvious at first;

Electronic Call Monitoring & Care Notes

All our care workers “tag in and out” on every visit they make, which is monitored in the office so we know where everyone is at any time.  This is essential to protect our care workers and the adults and children they care for, and it’s also useful to manage and calm any anxieties if care workers can’t get to where they need to be in time. Similarly, if an individual’s needs change and care workers require more time to complete the care visit as a result, then we are able to provide evidence to the Local Authority to suggest an increase in care provision, which can truly make a difference to people’s lives.

We also use this system to record our care notes, which means that all care records are instantly available to the office, and if there are any concerns to wellbeing, we can respond to them straight away.

Service User Reviews & Care Worker Supervisions

In addition to monitoring a person’s changing needs through the care notes, we also have regular reviews with the people we support, their representatives and families, both in-person and over the phone. These reviews give everyone an opportunity to tell us about any changes required to their care needs and promotes an environment of honesty and trust. We also use a care worker’s supervision to discuss any concerns our service users have regarding their welfare and ensure that any issues are raised correctly and responded to in a timely manner.

Partnership working

We recognise our responsibility to provide a service that meets the needs of the adults and children we care for, and this means that we work very closely with other organisations and departments to ensure we provide the best, safest service. From District Nurses to Teachers, Social Workers to Occupational Therapists, we make sure that we work together to safeguard everyone.

How do you stay up to date with the latest safeguarding legislation? 

As a registered Care Provider, we are accredited by and have direct links with Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) and Social Care Wales, and together with our relationships with Local Authorities, this means we are the first to know about any national or local developments which impact on our safeguarding procedures and responsibilities. We are also invited to participate in consultations and proposals, which means that we can provide our first-hand expertise so that decision-makers are aware of what matters most to the people we provide care for. 

What does ND Care & Support do to ensure we always create a safe space for everyone we work with?

For us, the most effective way to keep everyone safe is to promote an open-door policy and the idea of “report, report, report”! If our care workers and service users don’t keep us updated, we can’t understand challenges or successes, and therefore respond appropriately to make significant changes.

 We always encourage our care workers to trust their instinct too. A gut feeling is a powerful asset in our business, and nobody should ever think that it’s someone else’s responsibility to raise the alarm. We have a team of people based throughout the country who support our Care Workers and Service Users, and no-one should ever deal with any concerns alone; a key safeguarding principle is to pass on information, and only as a team can we keep each other safe.  We’d much rather have multiple reports based on gut feelings, which can prevent bigger problems, than receiving no reports and wishing we done something different.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing but in our industry, we cannot take any risks.

If you would like to find out more about the care service we provide, please click here.