There’s more to innovation than advancements in technology. Whilst technology has its place in care home innovation, there are so many organisations that are taking unique approaches to the way that they run their care homes. Whether it be creating new, impactful job roles, or offering staff reward schemes, through development and innovation, the care sector is consistently improving its care offering.
We wanted to take the time to recognise some of the standout care innovations in the health and social care sector, and dive into how those innovations have driven improvements in the type of care that these homes deliver.
What is innovation in care?
Innovation can be interpreted as many different things. Although often associated with technology, there are actually many ways that we can innovate. In relation to the care sector, innovation is the creation of new ideas, products or services to help influence the way we approach caring. Thanks to innovation, we can achieve so much more in the health and social care sector than we could 100, 50 or even five years ago, including:
1. Less invasive diagnostic tests
2. Real-time tracking of care through specialist technology
3. Access to new and effective treatments that previously didn’t exist
Stand-out innovations in care
There have been so many fantastic innovations that have transformed the way that we look at the way we care. Whilst there’s an endless list of incredible achievements we can celebrate, we’ve chosen a few of our favourite stand-out care innovations to explore. Let’s take a look at how these innovations have impacted care workers, employers and residents too.
Care innovations that have impacted staff and employers
For our first set of care innovations, we wanted to dive into how care home innovation has impacted care workers and organisations directly. Discover what we think have been the three most significant innovations for staff and employers in the care sector.
Becoming a real Living Wage employer
The real Living Wage is a fair wage that takes into account the average cost of living in the UK. It is the only wage rate in the UK that’s voluntarily paid by businesses who believe their staff should earn a salary that’s reflective of their everyday needs and expenses. The real Living Wage is an innovation for the entire workforce, not just in care specifically. However, it’s fantastic to see that, so far, over 400 organisations across the care sector have adopted the real Living Wage into their company business plan.
Quality care starts with your team and, without them, it’s not possible to deliver necessary care to residents. The real Living Wage acknowledges the hard work and dedication of your team and ensures that they feel seen, rewarded and secure in their roles. Not only does it benefit your employees directly, but it also has a significant impact on businesses, resulting in:
1. An improvement in employee productivity
2. A decrease in staff turnover
3. A reduction in recruitment and training costs
How does this improve care standards, though? Well, with increased team morale, staff will feel more positive and focused on their work, meaning they can deliver the best care possible to all residents. Want to learn more about the organisations signing up for the real Living Wage? See the full list of real Living Wage accredited care home organisations on their website.
Hiring dedicated Activity and Lifestyle Facilitators
There’s so much that goes into providing a quality care service for each individual resident at your care home. Ensuring that residents’ personal care needs are met is always the priority, but it’s the little extras, like creative activities, that take a good care experience and make it great.
Many care homes have recognised the need for creating new roles that meet those needs and have taken it upon themselves to develop dedicated, activity-focused roles within their teams. At Borough Care, we call our activities specialists ALFs (Activity & Lifestyle Facilitators) and their role is to ensure that we always have an exciting and in-depth activities calendar at our homes. Thanks to them, there’s always something to look forward to!
Offering staff transport services
Sanford House, a care home in Dereham, offers a staff transport service to reduce the number of staff who have to rely on public transport to get to work. This fantastic service means that staff have an allocated safe driver who can take them to and from their shifts with ease. It’s a great example of how a small innovation can have a big impact on the everyday lives of their team.
Organising travel plans to and from work can be a significant stress-causer for a lot of people, particularly if they’re relying on multiple forms of public transport just to get themselves into work – that’s before they even start their shift! By having a dedicated driver to take them to and from work, their overall stress levels will be reduced, meaning they’re arriving to work ready to take on the day.
This brilliant scheme also improves overall staff safety. For team members that regularly work night shifts, having a dedicated driver reduces any potential risks or concerns that they may have in travelling late in the night or early in the morning.
Care innovations that have impacted residents
Now, let’s explore how advancements and innovations in care have impacted care home residents. See what we believe are three of the most impactful innovations in care for residents.
Partnering with V for Life
V for Life is a charity that works on behalf of older vegans and vegetarians to improve the standard of vegan and vegetarian catering in existing care homes in the UK. As it stands, there are two fully-vegetarian care homes in the UK, and V for Life aims to reach a point where at least one in every six UK care homes are members of their UK list, and one in every 100 is V for Life accredited.
As of 2022, 10% of the UK population follows either a vegetarian (6%) or vegan (4%) diet, with a further 13% opting for a flexible, plant-based diet. With 23% of the population choosing to move towards plant-based diets, it shows the need for more consideration and representation. The V for Life scheme is a great example of how we have championed innovation and representation in the care sector by embracing the need for vegetarian and vegan alternatives in care homes.
By choosing to partner with organisations like V for Life, we can all better represent residents’ needs and ensure that we offer care that meets their individual requirements. Find out more about V for Life’s work on their website.
Adopting a not-for-profit business model
A not-for-profit business model means that any excess funds that are made from an organisation are invested directly back into the company. For example, they can be used to invest in upgrading technology, organising trips for residents, rewarding staff members for their work or something else.
We’re proud to sit alongside so many inspiring care organisations in the UK that have adopted a not-for-profit business model. Through this innovative approach to care, we’ve see further innovations across the care sector! For example, MHA has used its not-for-profit approach to invest in offering music therapy as part of its care.
Some of the ways that we’ve invested money back into Borough Care is through offering a £375 staff reward scheme for referring a friend to the organisation, taking our residents on exciting days out and hosting regular parties and celebrations for residents’ birthdays, anniversaries and big moments!
Partnering with LGBTQ+ organisations
Creating spaces where residents feel empowered and supported to be themselves is so important in the care sector. Whilst schemes like V for Life do a fantastic job of supporting those who follow specific diets to feel empowered to be themselves, there are so many other ways to create spaces where everyone is supported to be who they are. One of the most significant ways that we support our residents is by being active allies of the LGBTQ+ community, and partnering with LGBTQ+ organisations such as Stonewall and Opening Doors. By ensuring that residents feel represented and supported in their homes, we can deliver a much higher quality of care that’s unique to them!
See more innovations in care
Want to learn more about how innovations have improved the way that we care? Visit the CQC website to discover some of the other brilliant innovations that have impacted the health and social care sector. If you want to find out more about how innovations have benefited us then head to our care page and discover how we care at Borough Care.