Voices for good care: The Warwickshire Care Champions programme
The Champions’ passion is for speaking up and contributing to better care. They are volunteers who have personal experience of using care services. Warwickshire County Council officers support them to visit services, spending time with people to find out what is good and what could be better. The Champions then give feedback to service managers, highlighting good care and making suggestions for improvements or changes.
The programme is run by officers from the Quality Assurance and Improvement Team at Warwickshire County Council and it started in the summer of 2018. Since then, we have recruited 22 volunteer Care Champions across the county. They have all completed training and induction tailored to their individual strengths and they are offered ongoing training and support to help them do their role effectively.
In the first seven months of the project, the Champions have visited 15 services. Managers who have taken part have all said how useful the feedback was and it has led to outcomes like:
- Setting up residents’ meetings
- Investment in sensory equipment
- New storage facilities
- Changing the settings for activities, e.g. separating quiet activities from more lively ones
- Planning to support friendships outside of service hours
- Increasing staff numbers supporting activities
Managers have commented on other benefits to customers and staff from taking part in the Care Champions programme. For example, they have been able to boost staff morale by sharing positive feedback from the volunteers. In one case, a service was able to apply for a grant for new IT equipment based on information shared by a volunteer.
Providers have found the Care Champions visits to be a great way to promote their service to potential customers or commissioners. Another lovely development has been that when we have visited services and spoken to customers about the programme, we have found new volunteers who are now speaking up and contributing to better care themselves.
One manager summed up her experience of Care Champions:
“The visit was very good, to have a different set of eyes on the home and the work we do here. The Care Champions really had a good eye for detail and what residents should expect from their home. The residents also responded to the good feel that the Care Champions brought to the atmosphere as they moved around the home. I would recommend that any home invite the Care Champions in.”
If you provide a residential, extra care or day opportunities service, then why not sign up to the Care Champions programme? Contact Emma Mold at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will get in touch to give you more detail about the programme and discuss how it could work for you and your customers.