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New care group operating in the North West hopes to transform the future of social care

Compassionate Care Group, a care company operating in the North West, has found new and improved ways of working during the current crisis, which it hopes will transform the future of social care.

It has also created a wonderful new workforce and provided jobs for many whose careers have been seriously impacted by the virus.

Established in 2010 by founder and owner, Amanda Stoneham, and based in Ashley, Compassionate Care provides personal care services to citizens across Greater Manchester and Cheshire.

An established service provider, with a high-quality offering, the company has grown organically over the last decade and now reaches more than 150 vulnerable adults in their own homes and supported living in places such as Hale, Flixton, Sale, Timperley and Urmston in Trafford and Knutsford in Cheshire.

Talking about the global pandemic and how it has affected the business, Amanda commented:

“None of us have ever faced a pandemic of this magnitude and severity. This unique crisis evolved very quickly, and we had to decide how best to approach it to keep both customers and staff safe and ensure that the company would survive the storm. Trafford Council approached us and asked how we would feel about creating a Rapid Homecare service to support people of the borough to get home from hospital safely. Never the shrinking violet, we readily accepted the challenge and began to look at how we could put together a team of care workers, safely but rapidly.”

Partnering with Harri, a talent technology company predominantly focused on the hospitality sector, an area hard hit by the lockdown, Compassionate Care was able to reach a wide group of individuals seeking employment in new sectors, as Amanda explains:

“Harri set up a centralised hub to advertise all employers that were recruiting during the pandemic, with a view to supporting workers to gain employment in different sectors. Very quickly we received a high number of applications from cabin crew, restaurant workers and bar staff; individuals with transferable skills who, pre-pandemic, would never have considered a career in social care.

“We’ve had to move fast, have a solution-focused approach and change some of our systems entirely,” said Amanda. “The list of questions and challenges was huge, but by thinking outside the box and drawing on the strengths and experience of our team, we were able to overcome obstacles on an hourly basis.

“So far, there are five people who have come though the service that have now reached their ‘pre-hospital’ ability, do not need a long-term package of care, and are carrying on with life as normal, albeit a new kind of normal. We’ve had several other people who’ve transferred onto our normal homecare service, as living without some form of support was not an option for them. In terms of the team out in the field delivering support, I firmly believe that we’ve created some of the social care stars of the future.”

Adapting to the new measures, interviews and the bulk of training was carried out via Zoom, with only medication and moving and handling instruction carried out face-to-face, on a one-to-one basis, while wearing PPE and social distancing.

One of the company’s new workers said: “I can’t tell you how exhausted but happy I am when I go home at night, just knowing I have made that person’s life a little better.”

The company have been overwhelmed with compliments from delighted clients. One happy client told Amanda: “The kindness and compassion you have shown my husband and I has been second to none; it was like having old friends visit us when we couldn’t see our own family. Your staff have let me cry on their shoulders on a few occasions when things have been hard.”

Amanda added:

“COVID 19 has met its match in Compassionate Care. This herculean task has been so rewarding for us; it’s helped us sustain our business and more importantly, it’s enabled people to return to their homes safely, at what is proving to be a very difficult time. It’s also created an army of new care workers, who will hopefully continue working in this rewarding area, post-pandemic.

“In terms of this type of service, we believe that we could very well have created a new model of care and support that can help the NHS with the rapid and safe discharge of patients from hospital and I firmly believe that this is the future of homecare. The pressures on the social care sector are immense, with providers fighting to stay alive and not just because of the pandemic. We have a fabulous partner in Trafford Council, which recognises and truly values its providers and it’s a pleasure to continue to support the area’s citizens in the only way we know how – by giving everyone a quality service they can rely on. Using Trafford as a model, we now hope to transfer this service to other areas of Greater Manchester and throughout Cheshire.”

Compassionate Care is still recruiting in the Trafford area and will continue to support people locally despite the virus.

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