Care Matters. Values Matter.

Published: 18/02/2019

You wouldn't buy a bottle of milk without a sell-by date. Would you use a care service without strong care values?

Would you buy milk drink without a sell-by date?  Would you buy care without understanding the services values?
No. You wouldn’t buy milk where you had no idea of the quality of milk you were buying.  And, no.  You shouldn’t buy care without  understanding the quality of care you will be receive.
Care matters.  Values matter.  
Hours of trained and supervised staff may be our stock in trade.  But that stocks shelf-life is unclear unless the service has strong values that support those receiving and delivering care.  It provides an environment to support what is trained being effectively delivered at, and above, the standard required.
It’s not enough for values to be printed on a sheet, painted on the walls of an office, or laminated for staff.  Values are the standards everyone in an organisation signs-up to.  They allow everyone to be at their brilliant best. It can only be achieved if everyone holds themselves, and others, to the standards agreed on.  When done properly they break-down barriers between management and care workers. They allow open communication. They support a better motivated and more committed workforce.  They are not created at the top and communicated down.  They are developed by all teams at all levels.  Politely, all staff are called out when not adhering to the values – a Director not being positive, a Care Manager not giving recognition, a Care Worker not sharing trust.  And everyone should be encouraged to call each other out.  
Using values should never be negative.  Using values to improve behaviour is not a reprimand but a reminder of what everyone has signed up to.  What everyone needed to enjoy their workplace more.  And everyone new to the organisation must agree to those same values. It cannot be allowed to weaken over time.
There is no industry where a commitment to a set of shared values is more important.  All the roles in our industry are based upon the actions of human beings, working out in the community and delivering critical care tasks. Values deliver better care, improve morale and lower staff turnover.
And now to swap my milk analogy for a pop-based metaphor.  A care service without values is an open bottle of lemonade.  You can shake it up as much as you want, but without values providing a cap to hold the good staff in, it’ll lose its fizz and be a bit flat for all.