This Policy defines the arrangements in place to manage a temporary closure or suspension of the Organisation’s Domiciliary Care Service that ensures continuity of care for the service user:
There may be circumstances under which a Service Provider may need to close, or at least suspend, their service provision to their service users. This can be on a temporary basis (i.e. suspension of service for a finite period of time for the purposes of implementing an Action Plan to correct serious faults in the service delivery), or on a permanent basis.
The need for suspension of the service will normally be initiated by the Registration Authority (e.g. for Safeguarding concerns), or the Contracting Authority (for contractual issues). Suspension of the service will normally be considered if there are major concerns which compromise the effective operation of the provider, or are so serious as to prejudice the provider’s future viability as a contractor.
This Policy will address the temporary suspension of service for a specific reason. In all cases, the prime objective is to ensure on-going continuity of care for the service user.
B: POLICY CONTENT:
1. Ensuring continuity of care for the service user during the period of suspension: The following elements will be addressed:
1.1 Liaising and co-ordinating with the appropriate Local Authority departments in respect of service user Baseline Assessment of Needs, and the identification of alternative Approved and Registered service providers who may have the capacity and staff skill sets to provide a satisfactory service during the period of temporary closure. The provision of continuity of care to service users throughout the closure process is of prime importance for the Organization.
1.2 The pace of the closure will be managed to suit the needs of service users as much as possible.
1.3 The Organization’s existing staff are crucial in ensuring continuity of care. Existing staff will need to continue to provide good quality of care until the suspension takes effect, therefore it is important to involve them as much as possible and keep them well informed. Staff will need to be supported through, and kept involved with, the suspension process.
1.4 The suspension process will need to be handled sensitively and the existing staff will be crucial in terms of allaying the fears and anxieties of service users.
1.5 Families will need to be reassured about the continuity of care. Wherever possible, this will be the responsibility of the designated care worker(s) for each service user.
1.6 A robust and defensible allocation process must be in place to manage the allocation of placements to new service providers, particularly if more people are requesting a specific provider than the number of places available.
1.7 The needs of groups with protected characteristics under the provisions of the Equality Act 2010 will be protected (e.g. age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, mental capacity, sexuality, etc.).
1.8 Resources will be available to deliver the required service user assessments and case reviews. Additionally it will be ensured that every person has access to a named professional key worker who is qualified to undertake assessment and care planning.
1.9 Agreement will be made with the service user with respect to the extent that family, friends or carers need to be involved in deciding the best outcome, and therefore the new Care Plan, for the service user.
1.10 Obtaining the service user’s consent to transfer information and records to the new provider.
1.11 Further to clause 1.10 above it will be established whether or not the service user has the mental capacity in relation to consenting to a change in service provider, and if an IMCA (Independent Mental Capacity Advocate) will be required.
2. Ensuring good communications for the service user during the period of suspension: The following elements will be addressed:
2.1 Good communication is essential to avoiding misunderstandings and establishing trust with service users and their families.
2.2 There could well be resistance to closure of the service, even on a temporary basis, from service users, families and care staff. They may not be aware of the full extent of the risks involved, or of the Organization’s failings as a service provider, as appropriate.
2.3 Once it has been agreed on a change of provider, a communication plan will be developed.
2.4 Efficient communication will enable service users and their families to exercise choice and control with regard to making alternative arrangements for service provision. Care will be taken to strike a workable balance between providing information that is essential at the time and not unduly raising anxieties, and to achieve this in a way that will minimize the incidence of rumour and speculation.
2.5 Communication with existing staff is vital to ensure continuity of care. Existing staff will also be the main source of information for service users and their families, and it is considered important that they give out the right messages which do not raise peoples’ stress and anxieties.
2.6 Methods of communication, and any special requirements that the service user may have, will be taken into account. In particular, the following will be considered:
Does the service user have some form of learning disability?
Are easy-read (e.g. large print) versions, and audio versions, of documents available?
Does the service user have cognitive impairments that require a signer or Braille?
Is the service user’s first language English, and if not is an interpreter required?
3. Arrangements for transfer of service to a new Domiciliary Care Service Provider:
3.1 The date and time that the transfer will be made will be agreed between the Organization, the new service provider, the service user, next of kin, family members and friends, and carers. These arrangements should be confirmed in writing to the service user, next of kin and to the new service provider.
3.2 Where the Organization’s services have only been suspended for a finite period, i.e. the date for resuming the service is known, this information will have been included in clause 3.1 above. Therefore, during the period of suspension, regular contact will be kept with the new provider regarding the service users, within the restrictions of appropriate Confidentiality Policies. The service user’s needs will be regularly reviewed to ensure that the new provider is meeting their needs and their wellbeing is maintained.