Good news stories from our community
Each week, we’ll be featuring an organisation from our community that is finding a way to thrive during this difficult time. This week, it’s the turn of Sapphire Streams…
What do Sapphire Streams do?
Sapphire Streams operates in the residential care sector and until recently, just operated the Plas-y-Mor care home in Rhyl, with around 37 colleagues caring for adults with long-term mental health issues. Sapphire Streams has been an Investors in People accredited client since August 2018. Inspection reports from Care Inspectorate Wales have also been positive.
What have been the Covid-19 challenges and impact so far?
In April 2020, Sapphire Streams has opened a second care setting, The Oaks, in Shotton. This is in commercial partnership with Flintshire County Council, in order to provide a ‘step-down’ facility for the local NHS, enabling hospitals to focus on the COVID-19 response.
Sapphire Streams has commented that this has been, ‘Incredibly hurried and quite stressful, but we are doing okay.’ Additionally, they have asked their Practitioner to advise the organisation on this second care setting, in due course.
What has been the response to these challenges?
Clearly this is an incredibly challenging and pressurised time for everyone in the care industry. A few things have helped us – having leads who read, reflect and apply the ever-changing guidance, sit on calls with local government etc.; having an interim Covid-19 Policy – and spending time training staff on that policy (including putting on and off PPE); ensuring our managers provide clear and calm leadership (not showing too much stress – it makes a massive difference to the staff).
The biggest win so far has got to be the launch of our second setting The Oaks – as a direct response to Covid-19. The other big win is the fact that staff have pulled together in these very hard times.
Our Investors in People approach and experience has been really helpful. We’ve applied all of our learnings –
– communication is key (calm tone & clear messages)
– taking a different approach to our normal practice – we’ve had to halt team meetings for the time being, instead we’ve changed the format – so a written note is sent out (but keeping with the same headers as would have been discussed in the meeting itself)
– application of the Values throughout everything we do (we’ve recruited over 25 people in the space of 6 weeks) using values-based recruitment, including a number of people ‘new to care’
We’re not perfect, but we are doing our best!
How have you looked after wellbeing?
We’ve done our best to focus on wellbeing in this period.
Team spirit and our application of values has been very important. We’ve set up a ‘WhatsApp’ support group – not for critical or confidential messages, but for more supportive and positive communications such as pictures, funny videos, offers of help etc.
Our monthly newsletter has a section on well-being – with references to our existing Employee Support Programme (a paid for, external organisation – 24×7 telephone support line); and other useful websites such as the Mental Health Foundation’s Covid-19 pages ‘How to look after your Mental Health’.
Helping our staff feel valued and supported – Social Care Wales announced a digital card, we’d already produced a form of ID, so together our staff feel like they have evidence if they are ever stopped by police etc when coming to work; and also get to go to the ‘NHS hours’ in supermarkets.
Fun stuff – we’ve tried to ensure that it’s not all pressurised Covid-19 stuff all of the time, we’ve had BBQ parties in the car park; afternoon tea and Easter crafts in the courtyard garden; baking sessions etc.
The Practitioner for Sapphire Streams, Stephen Stirk, has consistently provided advice and support, as he is an expert and published author on person centred practice, providing thought leadership in this sector. Combining this advice with their own significant innovation and highly effective leadership and management, the organisation has been successful in growing and improving their services through the contribution of its people.
Stephen has been invaluable in lots of ways. One of the key pieces of advice from Stephen in our last audit was in relation to Company Values. We followed Stephen’s advice (his book ‘Creating Person-Centred Organisations’ was very helpful for this!) and got the staff (during two workshop sessions) to create their own values, including ‘what the values mean to me’. We’ve used these values during the last few weeks very heavily – really helpful in values-based recruitment, as we’ve just increased our staff levels substantially.
We also spent time at the end of 2019, applying guidance from Stephen’s book, to understand the leadership team more – we had a workshop followed by a lovely Italian dinner together, understanding each other more, including ‘This is me’ and discussing how they like to work – the ways of working they enjoy, and the ways of working they found annoying or stressful. I think that helped in a couple of ways – it helped people understand each other more, and it cemented relationships. That’s definitely helped us in the last few weeks – that team have stepped-up incredibly.