Care home managers ‘must not be hidden behind office door’

Residential care managers must provide visible leadership for staff and residents, rather than be "hidden behind an office door", to ensure good practice, says a guide to the role published by the Social Care Association.

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Residential care managers must provide visible leadership for staff and residents, rather than be “hidden behind an office door”, to ensure good practice, says a guide to the role published by the Social Care Association.

There are concerns that the administrative aspects of management, such as meeting regulatory or contract requirements, are being over-emphasised to the detriment of professional leadership, according to the guide, published by the SCA in conjunction with Skills for Care.

To be effective, managers need to be visible, giving them a feel for what is working well in their home and what needs attention. “Staff and residents benefit from a leader who is regularly seen around the home, rather than being hidden behind an office door,” it says.

Champion, leader and protector

The guide is designed to help raise the status of residential care and managers, by setting out a vision for the role as a champion of social care values, leader of professional practice and protector of residents’ safety and rights.

Core tasks set out for managers by the guide include:-

  • Workforce planning and development, including undertaking a skills analysis to indentify gaps, and ensuring access to appropriate training and high-quality supervision;
  • Ensuring all residents have a person-centred plan based around outcomes that they want to achieve and are supported to participate in care planning;
  • Being open to whistleblowers and ensuring staff attend relevant safeguarding training;
  • Ensuring processes are compliant with the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and that clear processes are in place to monitor individuals’ decision-making capacity;
  • Getting the balance right in risk assessments between enabling residents to make choices and fulfilling the home’s duty of care.

Graduate-level profession

The guides sets an aspiration for residential care to be a “graduate-level profession”.

Under regulations in England, the Care Quality Commission requires managers to have the “necessary qualifications, skills and experience” for the role; Skills for Care advises that the relevant qualification is the Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Health and Social Care and Children and Young Person’s Services, which has a pathway for managers and residential managers.

The guide says many universities would see this as equivalent to a foundation degree, potentially enabling managers to acquire further credits to achieve a full degree. It advises managers to approach their local universities to discuss options.

Copies of Champion, Leader, Protector: The role of the registered manager in residential care for adults in England can be purchased from the Social Care Association (reference PG 026).

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Recognising excellence in social care training

Personalisation central to social care management standards

Helping care home managers navigate the Dols

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