Call us: 01708 34 34 34 or email us enquiries@homesteadcare.com

Compliments and Complaints

Complaints and Compliments: Policy and Procedure Homestead care.

[ Last Review: 03.07.17, Review Due: 03.07.18 – Reference: v05 03.07.17 ]

Policy Statement

Purpose

Homestead Care operate an effective and accessible process for identifying, receiving, recording, investigating, resolving and responding to all complaints, to comply with the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities ) Regulations 2014. We view any complaints and suggestions from Service Users, their relatives or anyone acting on their behalf as a valued source of information regarding the quality of our service. All complaints are fully investigated and any necessary action taken when any failure on our part is identified.

Our approach

The service provided will not be jeopardised in any way following the receipt of a complaint and complainants are not victimised or discriminated against because of a complaint. Every effort will be made to assist each service user in order that we can maintain a high standard of care.

Homestead Care aim to ensure that our complaints procedure is properly and effectively implemented and that service users feel confident that their complaints and worries are listened to and acted upon promptly and that arrangements for investigation of complaints are fair and transparent.

It is our expectation that where possible, Home Care Staff will try and resolve complaints in an informal and professional manner with the service user or their representative and record these in the central complaints log.

The Company can only deal with Homestead Care related issues, which could include allegations of poor practice, failure to follow agreed care plans, failure to follow Company Policies (such as timesheet irregularities, breaches of confidentiality, poor timekeeping for example.) Where problems arise which are not Homestead Care’s direct responsibility, the complainant will be advised of a more appropriate agency to complain to. Staff will assist Service Users in making a complaint where possible.

All complaints, which are the Company’s responsibility, will be investigated fully and the complainant informed of action that is to be taken, if any, within 28 days. We would aim to act without delay in putting right any failures identified by a complaint or as a result of investigating a complaint.

All complaints will be considered with due regard to the Company’s confidentiality policy and all personal information will be treated in the strictest confidence and kept in a secure manner within the office.

All employees are warned that our policies regarding recording of complaints must be complied with and that any attempt to conceal a complaint may give rise to formal disciplinary action.
If a complaint involves more than one provider/commissioner of services we would work with the other Companies/organisations involved, to provide a single response to complaints where this would be helpful to the Service User or their representative.

People who can complain

A complaint can be made by:

  • Someone who receives or has received care services;
  • Someone who is affected (or likely to be affected) by an action, omission or decision of Homestead Care who is the subject of the complaint;

Or,

  • A representative of either of these, under certain conditions as follows:
  • If we are not satisfied that the representative is acting with the Service User’s consent or in their best interests, we will notify the representative in writing, and state the reason for our decision.

The complaints procedure

The following procedure is given to all Service Users and with the Service Users permission, on request, it is sent to a person acting on their behalf.

Service Users are perfectly entitled to make complaints at any time. Receipt of a complaint will in no way jeopardise the service received. If a service user wishes to complain about the service received from the agency or from a care or support worker we have introduced, the steps below should be followed.

The complaint procedure is freely available.

  • With all contracts for care that we undertake
  • Included within the Homestead Care brochure/ Assessment documentation/Service User Guides
  • In different formats on request such as large print, in another language, or ‘easy read’.

If possible, the problem should be first discussed with the care or support worker who is expected to do their best to resolve the problem as quickly as possible and to the service user’s satisfaction. The only exception to this principle is in the case of a complaint which alleges abuse or a criminal offence, in which case the complaint has to be directly reported to a senior manager who will ensure onward referral to the CQC, the police or the Local Authority Safeguarding team as appropriate. All staff are briefed on how to respond when they receive a complaint.

If the service user feels unable to discuss the complaint with their care or support worker or the problem cannot be resolved, the service user should contact the Homestead Care office as soon as possible. Details as follows:

Telephone: 01708 343434
Oncall support: 07803 207117

In writing to:
The Complaints Manager, Homestead Care Service
Second Floor, 11, Bryant Avenue, Harold Wood. Essex. RM3 0AP

Fax: 01708 371327
Email: enquiries@homesteadcare.com

If the service user is unable to make the complaint themselves they may get someone else to do it for them. If they decide to make a written complaint, a copy should be kept or the office contacted for them to send a copy.

If for any reason the service user does not have someone who can help them we shall put them in touch with an independent organisation (where this is available locally) that may act as their advocate. We would also do our best to identify a suitable interpreter or any other support that would enable the Service User to communicate.

The complaints manager is responsible for dealing with all complaints.  This may be the Registered Manager or another senior manager. We limit those staff who can investigate complaints so that we can be assured they have the right level of knowledge and skill. The manager is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that all complaints, investigations and outcomes are recorded in writing as telephone conversations are not sufficient in themselves, as they do not constitute a proper record.
  • Updating the complainant in writing about progress of the investigation.
  • Conducting an objective investigation or ensuring appropriate delegation of elements of the investigation is carried out
  • Identifying action(s) required (if any ) to prevent similar complaints arising.

The complainant is offered the opportunity to sign to indicate agreement with the outcome and the completed documentation will then be handed to the Registered Manager for permanent filing. Once the complainant has indicated verbally or in writing that the complaint is resolved to their satisfaction, the complaint is deemed to be completed. Staff- related information will not be filed within the Service User’s file.

In the event of a continued disagreement which cannot be resolved internally, the complainant will be advised to approach an appropriate external authority, such as Social Services or NHS, an independent advocacy service, or the Local Government Ombudsman or the CQC.

The Management Team will periodically review all complaints (since the previous review) in order to identify trends and matters which the Company can improve upon. The service action plan will then be updated to include findings from complaints investigations as appropriate.

How to lodge a complaint/ compliment

A complaint can be made to any member of staff: by telephone; in writing; by email; or in person.  All responses will be made in writing.

Complaints can be made to Homestead Care:

Telephone: 01708 343434
Oncall support: 07803 207117

In writing to:
The Complaints Manager, Homestead Care Service
Second Floor, 11, Bryant Avenue, Harold Wood. Essex. RM3 0AP

Fax: 01708 371327
Email: enquiries@homesteadcare.com

What we do next

We acknowledge all complaints, whether verbal or in writing , unless they are anonymous, within 4 working days of receipt and confirm who will be investigating the complaint and advise that where possible we expect to investigate fully within 28 days. A further copy of our complaints procedure will be sent/given to the Service user at this point should they require it.

Anonymous complaints will be investigated as far as possible, where there is sufficient information to do so and where it does not seem to be motivated by malice.

Complainants will receive (as far as reasonably practical), assistance to help them understand the complaints procedure and a meeting may be offered if the complaint is complicated or there are difficulties in communicating.

Care workers/ managers for Homestead Care will only accept complaints from a third party under certain conditions: Either, where we know that the Service User has consented, either verbally or in writing or where the Service User cannot complain unaided and cannot give consent because they lack capacity within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the representative is acting in the Service User’s best interests – for example, where the matter complained about, if true, would be detrimental to the Service User.

If the complaint raises potentially serious matters, the Company would seek advice from a legal advisor. If legal action is taken at this stage, any investigation by us under the complaints procedure immediately ceases.

A complaint may take some time to respond to, but we acknowledge receipt and inform the Service User of the steps that we intend to take to resolve the situation. We will take action with immediate effect, if the Service User requests a replacement care or support worker.

We will write to the Service User within 28 days with the details of our findings and also visit them to inform them of any actions taken and of any proposals or changes made as a result of their complaint. If the Service User has one, a social worker or local authority care manager will also be informed.

Final Response Letter

It is good practice to send a final response letter but one must be sent where a complaint about care or treatment resulted in a notifiable safety incident. (see Duty of Candour Policy). Information should only be disclosed to family members or family carers where the person using the service has given their express or implied consent. The final response letter to be given or sent to the complainant includes the following:

  • An apology (defined in the regulation as ‘an expression of sorrow or regret’. (Please note: insurers may need to advise on wording of the apology).
  • A detailed explanation of how the complaint has been considered;
  • The conclusions reached, including any remedial action needed; and confirmation that any action needed has either already been taken or, if not yet taken, the proposed timescale when such action will be completed.
  • Information about their right to take their complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO), or to alert the Care Quality Commission and /or Local Authority, if they are not happy with the outcome.
  • The final letter will be signed by the Registered Manager or sent by email in their name.

Involving the Local Government Ombudsman

Once the complaint has been fully dealt with by Homestead Care, if the Service User is not satisfied with the outcome they can complain to the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO). The LGO provides a free, independent service.

PO Box 4771
Coventry ,CV4 0EH
T: 0300 061 0614
Text ‘call back’ 07624803014
Fax: 02476820001
E: advice@lgo.org.uk
W: www.lgo.org.uk

Advising the CQC

Our service is registered with and regulated by the CQC. If the Service User is not satisfied with our response and the outcome to their complaint, the CQC is happy to receive information about our services at any time.  They can be contacted at:

Care Quality Commission National Correspondence
Citygate,
Gallowgate
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4PA
Tel: 03000 616161
Fax: 03000 616171

Should the CQC request it, we will provide a summary of complaints to them and the response that we made to each complaint, within 28 days.

Co-operation

If a service user refers their complaint to an external body such as the Local Government Ombudsman or the CQC it is our policy to co-operate fully with any investigation they may conduct.

Complaints we do not have to investigate

Homestead Care is not required to investigate the following complaints:

  • A complaint by an employee relating to their employment (this will be dealt with through the grievance procedure);
  • A complaint that was made in person or by telephone and is resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction no later than the next working day after the day the complaint was made; and
  • A complaint that has already been investigated and resolved.
  • In these circumstances, Homestead Care will, as soon as is reasonably practicable, notify the complainant in writing of the decision not to investigate the complaint and the reasons why.

Recording of complaints

All complaints are immediately recorded in the complaint log that is kept in the office.

All actions taken and notes of interviews will be recorded in the Service User’s file and cross-referenced with our complaints book.

Records of complaints will be kept for three years from the date of the last entry.

Compliments

Service Users are encouraged to make complimentary comments, if they are pleased with the care being provided by their care or support worker, so that we can give praise to those concerned.

Useful Contacts:

The Local Government Ombudsman

Po. Box 4771
Coventry, CV4 0EH
Telephone: 0300 061 0614
Text ‘call back’ 07624803014
Fax: 02476820001
Email: advice@lgo.org.uk
Web: www.lgo.org.uk
Online complaint and enquiry form available from this website

Care Quality Commission

Citygate
Gallowgate
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE1 4PA
Telephone: 03000 616161
Fax: 03000 616171

London Borough Of Havering

Designated Adult Complaints Officer
Telephone: 01708 432 589
Fax: 01708 434114
Email: social_services_info_complaints@havering.gov.uk

Other Advice and Support

Age UK ( Formerly Age Concern)

Telephone: 0800 009966
Website www.ageconcern.org.uk

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