Care agency first in UK to pilot new wellbeing scheme

Greg Bamber, chairman of the Caring Hands Group

Greg Bamber, chairman of the Caring Hands Group

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A Preston-based care group is the first in the UK to pilot a new way of working.

Caring Hands, based at Preston Docks, has been chosen by care expert Helen Sanderson to run a Buurtzorg model scheme. Popular in the Netherlands, it uses small teams who manage their own schedules and provide more personal care. It will be rolled out in Lytham in October, and then in Preston.

Helen said: “Traditionally in home care, managers do the assessment, decide what care a person needs, and assign carers by doing the rota. With a self-managed team, they decide the rota between themselves, fitting in with each other’s committments and get to know the people and the area better.”

Instead of carers, staff are called wellbeing workers and the customer can choose who is on their team.

Helen said: “They can decide who they think they will get on best with - it’s not just about who happens to be on the rota. Traditionally, you might have 20 different people attending someone one week, and 20 more the next.”

The scheme is said to reduce overheads and hospital admissions, with geriatrician Rod Kersh involved with Caring Hands to help fill the gap between health and social care.

Charity Community Circles will also be involved to link older people with volunteers.

Greg Bamber, chairman of Caring Hands, said he hopes the model will provide a rewarding career choice.

He said: “The response from people wanting to be part of teams who are listened to and empowered to make decisions has been overwhelming. Its a real chance for carers to achieve much greater job satisfaction and feel a valuable part of a business that operates without hierarchy and shares all decision making processes.”