The Coronavirus pandemic has been a very trying time for everyone where ‘normality’ as we know it disappeared almost overnight. As a support provider we had to very quickly implement new ways of working. As we entered lockdown our senior management team and Board collectively worked together to ensure that we could continue to effectively deliver person-centered support in the community and our head office operations would run with as little disruption as possible.
Our head office remains operational throughout the pandemic with some staff initially working remotely where possible as systems were implemented or adapted as needed. The majority of our existing systems were already set up so they could be worked on from remote locations but where there was a requirement for a system to be changed, this was quickly developed to ensure our operations could continue uninterrupted. As lockdown restrictions eased, staff returned to the office with strict social distancing, infection control measures and policies in place.
Head Office Changes
During the pandemic, Augusta Care relocated to a new Head Office in Papyrus Parc, Werrington, Peterborough. The new offices are modern with a bespoke fit-out which provides a welcoming environment for staff, service users and visitors. There is also a dedicated service user meeting room for service user forum meetings and meetings with service users, their families and professionals.
All visitors to Head Office are asked to follow Infection Control guidelines when they arrive including washing hands or using hand sanitiser and using face masks where 2m distance cannot be kept. Following any meetings, our meeting rooms and Board room are thoroughly sanitised.
Despite the pandemic, our training was quickly adapted to make full use of our technology so that we could continue to induct new staff and to provide them with mandatory training.
Using our 3cx Web Conferencing system and Teams, our new starters were able to still receive classroom based training albeit remotely over the internet. As well as our learners joining, our Service Users who partake in the training were also able to join from home continuing their involvement in the training delivery.
Augusta Care are proud to announce that our Skills for Care endorsement has been renewed. Skills for Care endorsement is the bespoke quality mark that is given to the best learning and development providers within the adult social care sector and to become endorsed you must be able to clearly evidence that the training delivered makes a significant difference, not only to the learner but also to the person accessing care and support.
Again as lockdown rules changed, we have reintroduced staff into the training room ensuring the layout has changed to meet Government guidelines with learners joining online to create a blended learning environment. All participants, whether classroom based or online can provide feedback after the session so the training can be adapted as needed.
10 care certificates have also been issued in the past few months with new ways of working to evidence the skills learned.
Quality & Compliance
Augusta Care has always been keen to adapt to new systems, especially within our Care Management and Quality Monitoring. As all our Care Planning, Delivery, Quality and Compliance systems are cloud-based, we could continue to monitor our care delivery and make reactive changes to support plans and risk assessments quickly, communicating directly with the staff teams to review the latest information as soon as it was published.
Our Quality & Compliance Officer continued to audit our services providing valuable feedback to the Operations team and Board of Directors.
Supporting our Service Users
As well as adapting to new ways of working, we also have to perform the important task of supporting our service users with the changing laws and regulations.
We were quickly able to establish a task force who ensured our service users basic needs would be met with minimal risk including completing grocery shopping and collecting medication. This meant that any of our service users that needed to shield were able to do so.
As lockdown restrictions eased, our support staff were able to support our service users back into the community in a safe way, accessing health and leisure activities whilst still ensuring that they worked within stringent infection control policies and procedures.
2020 and looking ahead…
2020 has been a challenging year so far and there is still plenty to be done.
We thank the Augusta Care team for their continued hard work and commitment to keeping everybody safe.