Celebrating 'Outstanding' care every day in podcast series
30 - 1993-2023

Celebrating ‘Outstanding’ care every day in podcast series

Tuesday 14th of February 2023

Avenues’  Director of Operations Dan Gower-Smith and Senior Operations Manager Hayley Taylor recently took part in Skills for Care ‘The care exchange’ podcast revealing how care inspections should be seen as a chance to celebrate great care rather than a daunting prospect. 

Dan and Hayley talk about how they achieve outstanding care on the podcast series

The podcast follows Avenues East Supported Living service being given an ‘Outstanding’ rating, by care regulators the Care Quality Commission (CQC), for the third consecutive time. For Dan it confirms the consistent high level of care which he sees on a daily basis:

“I think for us, we don’t see it as a standalone process, we should be prepared all of the time. And actually, the word inspection can be quite worrying for staff and managers. But we turn it on its head and just see it as an opportunity to celebrate the service and the support that we’re providing” says Dan.

A chance to show positive progress

For Dan the ‘Smile Moment’ culture across Avenues helps staff recognise their achievements with people they support, big or small.

“If it makes you smile, you can then talk about it. ..What we do is capture that in a written form and supported via photos. So,….we’re looking back at achievements with individuals and what they’ve been doing throughout the months and years, since the last inspection…. Anyone that has a smile moment, can submit that for us to us. We use text messaging, emails…and often families will write to us in a in a written form” says Dan.

Working with families 

For both Dan and Hayley communication and building strong relationships, particularly with families, is key to Avenues success. The organisation has a ‘Family Matters’ group where families can feedback but it begins way before then;

“It all starts from the very beginning when we go out and do our first assessment and, and look at whether we’re going to support that person and work with that family at that moment in time and start that relationship building. Certainly, we adopt a culture of being very open and honest and transparent. We include our families in everything we do”, says Hayley.

Preparation and planning

Avenues instils its values to future employees during its recruitment process. Dan also stresses a little preparation and planning  before CQC visits, go a long way, such as having ‘mock’ inspections.

“We try and get evidence from the staff and get them to think about the well lead and the responsive and the caring and examples that they’ve got that they would share with an expert inspector if the manager wasn’t there on the day as well. So talking about CQC, it’s a regular agenda item in every service” says Dan.

For both Dan and Hayley this constant approach to evaluating the care helps Avenues staff both evidence and feel pride in what they do;

“Even with the smile moments, we’re normalising celebrating things. We’re normalising talking about being proud.” says Dan. Hayley enjoys seeing staff empowered ” the staff  just feel confident to be able to share what they do really well.”

Dan adds “because we know well supported staff, support people well”.

If you have an Avenues smile moment that you’d like to share, email it to us at communications@avenuesgroup.org.uk.

Listen and read more at…

Listen to Avenues Skills for Care Podcast episode

More about Avenues’ ‘Outstanding’ achievement

For #SmileMoments and more see Avenues’ Facebook page