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Don’t let complaints get you down

April 27, 2020

At a time like this, as the Covid-19 crisis continues to hit care homes particularly hard, it must be difficult for those working in the care homes sector to feel like they are in control. The trials of running any type of business is a serious commitment, especially when your customers entrust you with their lives. This is certainly the case with care homes, and the current Covid-19 crisis has brought into stark relief the extent to which care homes fulfil a vital function in our society, safeguarding the elderly and vulnerable even under the most difficult of circumstances.

Working in a care home is a daily test of compassion, self-discipline and inner strength for all those involved. There has never been any such thing as a ‘normal’ day in a care home, even before the traumatic events of the Covid-19 crisis.

It is inevitable that in such an environment things will sometimes be missed, or things will occur that could have been handled differently. Dealing with complaints from residents and their representatives is one of the less pleasant aspects of operating a care home, but it is important that managers and staff are aware of the correct procedures to follow in order to ensure the best outcome for all parties involved.

This is why the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has published, in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), a handy free information resource for those working in the care homes sector which sets out the best ways of dealing with complaints.

Care home complaints is available for free on the Business Companion website – the government-backed website written by trading standards experts. It covers the procedures that should be adhered to at every stage of the complaints process – from the point at which the complaint is initially made through to its resolution – in plain English and with real-world examples of what should be done in certain situations.

The guidance gives an overview of the ideal complaints handling procedure (CHP) and explains the relevant aspects of consumer law with which care home staff should be familiar.

For care home owners and managers, having a robust CHP in place should instill confidence that if and when something does go wrong, the best efforts have been made to ensure that it can be addressed and rectified quickly and effectively, and with the minimum of disruption to residents.

As CTSI Chief Executive Leon Livermore says:

“Our authors have looked at much of the good work done by the many different bodies involved in adult social care over the past few years.

“It’s important that we all work together to improve the lives of people living in care home accommodation. This guidance has been designed to put residents at the heart of the care they receive, and to help them live fulfilling lives with dignity and respect.”

Included in the Care home complaintsinformation hub is a free downloadable guidance booklet which provides further details about consumer law and guidance on staff training, as well as flow charts that can be used as a quick reference point to the steps that should be followed with some of the more common types of complaint.

The challenges of the present situation are likely to keep all care home staff fully occupied for some to come – but having a structured approach to complaint handling should provide confidence and peace of mind that the voices of residents will be heard and their concerns will be acted upon now and in the future.

Click here to read an overview of the guidance; click here to download the free booklet.

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