Quality of Care Ltd

7 Steps to Systemising Your Care Business

In the previous post we looked at the reasons why you should systemise your care business.

In this post I cover 7 key steps to systemising it so it runs more efficiently and effectively.

Before I cover these steps, if you didn’t see my previous post, The Power of Systemising Your Care Business: Enhancing Quality and Leadership, please read it first to get the full picture as to why this is so important.

Running a care business, whether it’s a residential care home, home care service, or any other type of care organisation, is a complex task that requires meticulous planning, coordination, and constant improvement.

Systemising your operations can significantly enhance efficiency, reduce mistakes, empower your people, ensure compliance, and improve the quality of care provided.

Here are seven crucial steps to Systemise your care business effectively.

 

1.    Think About How Your Business Flows

Your business has vertical departments or areas, such as care and nursing, housekeeping, maintenance and so on, which have their own responsibilities.

When the different areas of your organisation work well together, there is a flow to it. This flow moves from one crucial stage to the next, just like the organs in your body work together to keep you alive.

Each stage is a system that is part of the overall system that is your business and each can be broken down into smaller systems and eventually processes.

This image shows cause-and-effect stages for a generic business. Starting at the top – what are the aims and targets – you then work your way down asking how you achieve that above stage.

In this generic case, to achieve your financial targets, you need to convert and retain customers, to do that you need to attract them, to do that you have to be able to deliver a product or service, to do that you need to create it and to do that you need the right resources and capabilities.

Create your own cause-and-effect flow.

This high-level idea of your business flowing efficiently will help you identify key systems and processes within your business and those areas that don’t flow as well as they should.

 

2.    Mind-map Your Organisation

The first practical step in systemising your care business is to draw it out.

I’m a big fan of mind maps. For me they are a more effective way of getting our thoughts from our head onto paper or whatever the medium.

Mind maps can be hierarchical – allowing you to build the top level and drill down to add more detail and if necessary mind maps with mind maps.

Whether using A3 sheets of paper, a white board (of which you take pictures as you go) or a mind map tool, draw out your organisation.

 

 

You want each area to work efficiently. Start with those areas that clearly don’t work well and repeatedly demand your attention.

Bring together people form all areas of your business and give them the opportunity to highlight problems. You’ll find common themes that can be reduced and resolved.

I have facilitated these kinds of sessions with a number of organisations and they always prove to be effective and sometimes cathartic for those being given the opportunity to voice concerns and frustrations.

 

3.    Identify Core Processes

Map out all the critical processes involved in the operation of your business. This includes everything from admissions and daily care routines to staff recruitment and compliance checks.

See how they cross the different areas of it and will need to pull in different resources from those areas.

 

For example, the process of taking on a new client from identification to assessment to admission and so on. Who is involved in this horizontal process? What tasks need to be carried out and when? At each stage of the process, what needs to be in place? Does this process flow efficiently?

Thinking about processes flowing in this way is more aligned with how we think and is a great way to identify weak areas and bottlenecks in the flow.

Understanding these processes in detail allows you to identify areas where efficiencies can be made and helps in creating a clear workflow.

By clearly identifying and mapping these core processes, you set a strong foundation for standardising and improving your operations.

 

4.    Document Processes and Procedures

Once you have mapped out your core processes, the next step is to document them in a way that makes them easy to understand, teach, learn and reference.

These documents should provide step-by-step instructions, outline roles and responsibilities, and list necessary resources for each task.

     •   Detailed Instructions: Break down each process into actionable steps that can be easily followed.

     •  Roles and Responsibilities: Clearly define who is responsible for each task within the process.

     •  Accessibility: Ensure that these documents are easily accessible to all staff members, either through a physical manual or a digital platform.

For me, creating process flows is far clearer than simply writing out the processes in the more traditional report style. This process flow can be backed-up by a more traditional and detailed procedural document if necessary. You can also insert links into process flows to more detailed documents or online information.

Well-documented procedures and processes serve as a reference for staff, ensuring consistency and reducing the risk of errors. They also facilitate training and onboarding of new employees.

Here’s an example of a process for arranging and running a supervision meeting. Where responsibilities change hands, like here between supervisor and supervisee, you create “lanes” in the process flow that show clearly who is responsible for which part of the process.

 

 

Here is a key process as part of a drug management system. This is one process amongst several that make up the management of drugs.

 

 

Drawing out process flows in this way makes them easier to understand and learn. As well as all processes filed with the Home Manager, each department should have their own folders of relevant processes.

In our nursing homes, during their first twelve weeks, new staff have to learn the processes are tested on them and observed to carry them out correctly. Staff sign-off when they learn a process and supervisors sign-off that they have tested and observed the staff member.

This reduces mistakes and takes away complaint from a staff member that they didn’t know how to carry out a task or weren’t shown should they make a mistake that could result in a safeguarding incident.

 

5.    Implement Technology

Leveraging technology is essential in modernising and streamlining your care business. Implementing management software can automate many of the processes, reducing manual work and increasing efficiency.

We have created huge efficiencies in our sister company’s care homes. We converted paper-based rotas into spreadsheet-based rotas that automatically calculated hours, holidays, sickness and absence, that could then be exported into a format that our payroll system can take in.

Not only did this reduce mistakes, it reduced the monthly payroll process from a few days (manually using paper and pen and a calculator) to around an hour.

 

 

Managing training was a manual task that was fraught with errors. We created an excel-based training management tool that automatically set the right dates for each staff member and changed colour as training was due.

We also created a training requirement tool that took this information and worked out how many training sessions of a particular subject was required to cover those who needed that training.

 

 

Decades later, these excel-based tools are still being used.

As well as home grown tools there are professionally developed online tools that will help you run your business more efficiently and effectively.

There is a big push for all CQC registered care providers to invest in a digital care planning tool or digital social care record. Go here for more information.

Digitising Social Care

Of course, it would be remiss of me not mention our tools to help you set the right fees and control your costs. These are powerful tools that will help you ensure your business is financially healthy.

Care Fee Calculator

Running Cost Calculator

Both come with a 30-day free trial so you can test without risk and cancel if not for you.

Technology not only streamlines processes and reduces mistakes, but also enhances accuracy and accessibility of information, which is critical in running a healthy care business that provides high-quality care.

 

6.      Train Your Team

Even the best systems and procedures are only as effective as the people using them. Comprehensive training is essential to ensure that your team can effectively utilise the new systems and adhere to the documented procedures and processes.

     •   Initial Training: Provide in-depth training sessions when new systems or procedures are introduced. This should cover all aspects of the new processes and technologies.

     •   Ongoing Support: Establish a system for ongoing support and training to address any issues that arise and to update staff on best practices and changes in procedures.

     •   Feedback Mechanism: Encourage feedback from staff to identify any areas where additional training might be needed and to continuously improve the training programs.

As I showed earlier, process flows are a great way to ensure task are performed correctly.

By investing in training, you ensure that your staff are confident and competent in their roles, which directly impacts the quality of care provided.

 

7.    Monitor and Improve

Systemising your care business is not a one-time task but an ongoing process. Regularly reviewing your systems and processes is crucial to identify areas for improvement and ensure they continue to meet the needs of your staff and clients.

     •   Regular Reviews: Schedule regular reviews of your systems and processes to ensure they are still effective and efficient.

     •   Collect Feedback: Gather feedback from staff and clients to identify any issues or areas for improvement. This can be done through surveys, suggestion boxes, or regular meetings.

     •   Continuous Improvement: Use the feedback and review findings to make necessary adjustments and improvements. This ensures that your systems evolve with the changing needs of your business and the care industry.

Monitoring and improving your systems helps in maintaining high standards of care and adapting to new challenges and opportunities.

Systemising your care business through these seven steps can lead to enhanced efficiency, better compliance, and higher quality of care.

It will also lead to you being able to step back from the day-to-day issues (which will be far fewer) and be the leader your business needs you to be.

If you need help systemising your care business I can help. Contact me at chris@qualityofcare.co.uk to start a conversation.