How well are your care workers?

05 May 2017

Employee-wellbeing is an important part of management – whatever your industry. In-light of the ONS’ recent figures on care worker suicides though, we’ll be dedicating this article to the care industry.

The ONS’ latest ‘Suicide by occupation’ report highlighted that the number of care worker suicides in England is on the rise – and has been for the last 15 years.

If you’re a care home manager or owner, this news might be worrying to say the least.

The Department for Health in England has increased its funding to support groups who are at higher risk of suicide, but if you’re after some support to hit the ground running now, we can help.

Create an open atmosphere

Form an atmosphere that enables employees to feel comfortable to come forward with any problems. Bottling up emotions never ends well, so try your best to prevent your employees from doing this.

There are a few ways you could go about this.

Regular communication

Whether it’s over email or in person, make a point of regularly communicating your openness to talk to employees one-on-one if they have any worries. We’d recommend circulating these kinds of messages in group environments so that employees don’t feel singled out.

‘Are you okay?’

These three little words can work miracles. By simply asking your home’s care workers how they are when passing by or catching up, you’ll let them know that you care about their wellbeing, as well as offering them an opportunity to get anything off their chest.

Offer advice

This could be in the form of posters, flyers, email newsletters or group meetings. Even if no-one under your wing has come forward with any wellbeing concerns, sharing useful information on dealing with such problems will help to show that it’s something you’re aware of, and committed to helping with. All of this should, hopefully, further encourage workers to come forward if they’re struggling.

One-to-ones

Make sure you maintain one-to-ones with all the workers you manage. This will enable your employees to confide in you in a private environment, and also allow you to personally gauge how they’re doing.

Encourage talking

As well as encouraging employees to talk to you, promote open communication within the workforce. From care worker to care worker, your employees will know exactly how each other are feeling and they’ll be able to offer first-hand advice and support to one another.

Counselling support

You could consider offering your employees the number for a free counselling support line. This gives them ample opportunity to reach out for some confidential and independent advice and support if they’re ever feeling overwhelmed.

Signs of struggling

Just because an employee doesn’t come forward, it doesn’t mean they’re not struggling. As well as making the effort to actively create an open working atmosphere, keep an eye out for any signs that might lead you to believe a worker needs help.

If you do suspect something might be wrong, it’s important to handle the situation with copious amount of care and not jump to any conclusions.

Signs of struggling might include excessive tiredness, visible distress, agitation, emotional outbursts or an unusual amount of time off work.

Training

If you’re in any doubt of your ability to pick up and/handle workers who are at risk, consider booking yourself on to a seminar, programme or training day.

If you feel an employee might be at risk, or have any questions on the issue, you can get in touch with Citation by calling in or contacting us online.

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