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What people say about ‘Outstanding’ SweetTree
When it comes to choosing a home care provider, inevitably you want to know what other people think of their services. That’s why we’ve collated the comments that were made confidentially by our clients, their families and other professionals to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) at our recent inspection. As a result of the feedback about the way we deliver our services, SweetTree Home Care Services was reaccredited with an Outstanding rating – almost unheard of a second time in our sector. Here’s what people had to say:
What the professionals say
- We received feedback from 20 external health and social care professionals who all gave a continuously positive view of the service. Some of their comments included, “I have seen many examples of how staff go the extra mile to meet individuals’ needs. One person described the dedicated care provided by her carer as “A soft pillow to my very broken soul” and “I believe that the staff are well trained and looked after.
- A health care professional told us, “SweetTree carers can draw on expertise and knowledge from a wide range of health disciplines. The real skill, which I have seen in action, is putting a team together to obtain maximum care output for a happy, healthy patient.”
- Staff were provided with guidance on how people’s needs should be met and they followed given guidelines. People’s care plans clearly outlined their needs and included details of people’s health conditions, preferences and the level of support they required. One person told us, “My regular carer knows what I need and because of this I would recommend SweetTree.”
- People using SweetTree and their relatives gave us excellent feedback about the service. They all said they would recommend the service to others. People using the service, their relatives, staff and external health and social care professionals all said that SweetTree dealt admirably with challenges posed by the pandemic and were able to provide a high quality of care.
- People and relatives consistently stated people were safe with staff supporting them. One person told us, “I feel safe, of course, I’m in good safe hands.” One family member said, “I feel secure when I’m at work that he is being looked after well. They understand him.”
- Staff had relevant information available to them to enable them to give people their medicines consistently and appropriately. One relative told us, “Live-in care allows her to get the medication that she needs at the correct times and it just works like clockwork. We’ve never had any problems with medication either being missed or late.”
- Staff continued supporting people even when the level of support had to be changed due to the coronavirus pandemic. One person using the service said, “My designated team is very good and carers understand me well. My carer helps me with paperwork, arranging holidays and accessing the community safely. Because of COVID-19 remote sessions are taking place with my carer and it’s a perfect time. We just had a FaceTime call which suits us both.”
- Peoples’ care plans included information about their interests and hobbies. Staff were matched with people based on their interests and preferences. Relatives said, “It is a really good professional service. We are very happy with them. My relative was involved in choosing the person he wanted to be his main supporter” and “My relative was given a choice of a carer; he chose female carers which was put forward and respected.”
- When needed staff support was extended to family members. One relative told us, “When she doesn’t see the staff she always asks about them and she likes them all. They have developed rapport and staff often go above and beyond. For example, I was exhausted and one of them stayed over time so that I could rest a little. They are supportive and understanding of us.”
- People and relatives told us that staff involved people in making decisions about their care. One relative said, “Care staff are inclusive with the decisions around care and communication is good. My relative’s eyesight is now poor, he can’t read written correspondence so everything is discussed with him face-to-face. He likes all the staff, they get on well.”
- Staff promoted people’s independence as much as possible. One staff member told us, “I encourage my clients to speak up and allow them time to make choices and I do not do so on their behalf, I let them choose their diet, their activities in the home, whether they want to go out or not, and how they want to plan their access to community services.”
- People and their relatives were always fully involved in making decisions about their care. Staff supported people to reach their full potential despite their health condition and wellbeing. Highly personalised and detailed care plans were formulated and reviewed in collaboration with people, their relatives and respective professionals. One family member said, “My relative is non-verbal and needs structure so things are carefully planned. The carer is very organised and follows the plans. My relative is comfortable and they do everything together so consent is implied by co-operation”.
- People received personalised care and support. People and their relatives told us they were involved in planning and reviewing people’s care. One person said, “I’m always involved with meetings and planning the next steps towards my care package. Occasionally I have meetings with the head of SweetTree.” One relative told us, “What I like about their approach is that they were prepared to take some time and sit with me to understand my relative and the situation that we have found ourselves in. Then they work with us to provide a package of care that meets my relative’s needs.”
- People and relatives said the provider communicated with people effectively by using technology, staff learned skills and their knowledge about people and their needs. One relative said, “Staff communicates as much as possible because my relative doesn’t have any speech. Carer also reads to him. His carer communicates verbally and he can give thumbs up or down and uses vocalisations. That’s his way of letting the carer know whether he’s enjoying or having a difficult day.”
- Staff supported people to maintain their relationship, pursue their hobbies and take part in activities they liked. One person using the service said, “Staff help me go swimming, getting things done on time, shopping, help me deal with my brain injury.” Another person said, “I requested that carers have dinner with me and now we do, the calls aren’t rushed.” One family member told us, “The staff are willing to think outside the box and come up with different ideas. For example, arranging treasure hunts in the local park where he goes walking to make it more interesting.”
- The service supported people to reach their full potential working proactively with people to develop their wellbeing and recognising people’s health condition. Each person using the service had a highly personalised and detailed care plan describing what support people needed. Care plans were formulated and reviewed in collaboration with people using the service, their relatives and professionals involved in people’s care. One family member told us, “We are very happy that they know my relative’s needs”. A health care professional told us, “The care staff showed great intuition in how we could use the person’s motivation to encourage him to access different community activities. They ensure they remain up to date with support plans and recommendations to keep improving people’s quality of care.”
- People using the service and their relatives gave us excellent feedback about SweetTree. People told us, “I definitely would recommend SweetTree because staff are always on time and I get a lot of help when I need it” and “My regular care staff and case manager are important to me. We document everything well, they help me organise rent and bills, fill in forms and whatever else I need help with.” Relatives told us, “I have been very impressed with how SweetTree have responded this year. My relative’s care staff have been brilliant throughout. They have been helping her with things to help her keep occupied and motivated” and “SweetTree have managed to cope admirably. Overall, they have managed to provide high-quality service throughout this last year.”
- Care staff were recruited specifically to meet the needs, preferences and interests of people using the service. People and relatives said considerate matching directly impacted on the quality of care received. One person told us, “I’m happy with the way SweetTree handle things. I told them that I want carers to be of a specific age or older and they have listened to my request.” Relatives said, “SweetTree are brilliant at matching young support workers to service users of the same age. They try to develop more meaningful relationships between them and the service user. They have the right ethos as a service.
- Care staff and the managers were ambitious for people using the service. They were able to see beyond people’s condition and support them in developing self-confidence and achieving desired goals. One person told us, “I find that because of my condition, a lot of people talk to me as if I was a child. My support worker treats me as an adult and for me, that’s the most important thing.”
- Staff attendance records showed that staff were usually on time and the consistency of visits by the same care staff was very high. Where there was a change to a visit this was effectively monitored and outcomes recorded for future reference. One relative told us, “They are always on time. We are never without someone being here and we have never experienced any missed calls.”
- People and family members continuously gave very positive feedback about staff who supported them and the managers at the SweetTree. Relatives said, “Care staff are very, very caring and dedicated people. They are, not jobsworths” and “They are very reliable, very caring. They have exceeded my expectations.”
- The leadership was visible and capable and provided ongoing support for people, their families and care staff. Relatives told us, “I know the manager she is excellent” and “There is effective management. They are a very approachable team who always act upon our wishes. It is a very well run and responsive company, which is reassuring within itself.” A staff member told us, “I can make contact with the service at any time and obtain a response, and I think the service is well managed.”