Wellbeing Teams

I am a bit of a quality nerd. I did a masters in Quality Assurance in Health and Social Care at Leeds  in the 1980’s. I would enthusiastically tell people about my course to be met with facial expressions of mild disbelief and comments that questioned whether anyone could find QA interesting.  Mark Cannon, a colleague from Here introduced me to Andy Brogan from EasierInc, as someone who could be helpful around systems, quality improvement and governance in Wellbeing Teams. I heard that as an opportunity to talk to someone who could be as fascinated about quality and systems as I am.  I was right.

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I am learning about new models and ways to deliver support to people at home. Over the last few weeks I have been learning about co-operatives and employee ownership and what this could mean for Wellbeing Teams. Wellbeing Teams are a social enterprise, which is a “business that has primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners”.

This week I am looking at community ownership and community businesses, so naturally the first place I looked was Power to Change’s website. The website says that there are four features to a community business. They are locally rooted, trading for the benefit of the community, accountable to the community, and have broad community impact.  Here are some ways that I can see how these could apply to Wellbeing Teams.

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Co-operatives have been around since the 19th Century, and still feel relevant today. I am interested in them because of my work with Wellbeing Teams: both share a common thread of self-management.

There are some exciting co-ops emerging in health and care, and there are three examples that colleagues of mine have established. Neatly, we also think there are three reasons to take a closer look at both co-operatives and Wellbeing Teams.

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Yesterday I met with colleagues from Macmillann, to share how Wellbeing Teams are working, and what could be possible in relation to people experiencing cancer. I am excited that the next two Wellbeing Teams are getting started within GP practices. We think there are five ways that Community Circles and Wellbeing Teams can support people to come home from hospital or to avoid hospital admission. Here is a summary of the approaches, and what we have tried so far.

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This morning I read ‘How we can start a social care revolution in seven easy steps’ by Katie Johnson, KPMG, in the Guardian Social Care Network. I agree with her ideas, but not that it is easy. If it was easy, it would have been done by now. I am one of the many, many people who want to see this change, and be part of this change. Here I want to share what I am see my colleagues doing to actually move towards the steps she describes. I want to call out the people who are making it happen, and what else we need – some of the detail to deliver the big ideas.

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All five Wellbeing Teams have now completed their induction and are up and running. Like our recruitment process, we realised that how we approached induction would need to be very different. We wanted to create a process that built a team, got them started with self-management, and confident to support people at home. In this blog I invited my colleague and values expert, Jackie le Fevre to think with me about the role of values in induction, and what this means in Wellbeing Teams.

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The Guardian, in November last year, tells story of Jean. Jean works for a home care agency in the north of England. She starts work at 6.30 am, and completes 23 calls in 12 hours. She drives 20 miles between appointments, and is not paid for her travel time, and earns £64.80 before tax. Jean is on a zero hours contract. She does not know how many appointments she will have each week, and therefore how much she will be paid. Her list of appointments comes through on a Friday. How can we change this and enable carers in home care to flourish?

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Wellbeing Teams have five core values: Compassion, Responsibility, Curiosity, Creativity and Flourishing. How would these show up in the daily life of the team? Central to this is the context in which the teams operate and most importantly the headline purpose of the team which is ‘to support and connect older people with their community’. We arrived at ten key features of living the values, what matters to us as an organisation, to help make this explicit.

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