With high staff turnover and limited resources, it is no surprise that the standard of care in the UK is dropping. Enter BelleVie, a care company which offers high quality jobs for high quality care. Find out more about their model and their vision for the future of caregiving.
Growing older is something that should be celebrated. But as our ageing population increases, it’s vital that everyone in our communities is supported to live life to the fullest. We should be striving to support older people to thrive at home, not just survive. Yet care jobs have been under-resourced and undervalued for too long, resulting in the crisis in care we see today.
In a study conducted in 2023, it was revealed that more than half a million hours of homecare could not be provided in various English regions due to staffing shortages. This shortfall represents approximately £14.7 million worth of care services that could have facilitated individuals in maintaining their independence at home, while also benefiting caregivers and creating employment opportunities.
The BelleVie Model
At BelleVie, we’re changing that narrative. Our vision is to create a society which values fulfilling careers in care, so every member of the care ecosystem is supported through meaningful, reciprocal relationships. So we’re reinventing home care through a radically new way of working.
Our way of working draws inspiration from the highly successful Buurtzorg model initially implemented in the Netherlands. This groundbreaking method utilises self-managed teams, and transformed the landscape of community nursing, leading to heightened job contentment for nurses and a greater focus on meaningful caregiving.
At the heart of our approach is decentralisation of decision-making and the formation of small community teams dedicated to serving local neighbourhoods. By giving our teams the freedom to handle their own schedules and duties, we ensure they have the time and tools needed to offer personalised care to each person they support.
We believe that good care starts with content and supported colleagues, so we put their well-being and job satisfaction at the heart of what we do. We want people to know that you can trust that your loved ones are in the hands of caring professionals who are dedicated to building real, trusted relationships.
There are several benefits to Working in self-managed care team
- Enhanced personalised care: Self-managed teams enjoy increased independence and adaptability in their work, enabling them to deliver more individualised care tailored to the specific needs and preferences of the person they support.
- Improved consistency in care: With self-managed teams, individuals are more likely to receive care from a consistent group of people, fostering trust and strong relationships.
- Enhanced engagement and involvement: Self-managed teams promote individual engagement in their care by involving them in decision-making and encouraging active participation in their own care planning and delivery.
- Enhanced communication: Self-managed teams tend to excel in communicating with individuals and their families, as they have greater control over their work schedules and responsibilities, allowing them to be more responsive and build close relationships.
- Increased job satisfaction: Carers who enjoy greater autonomy and control in their roles tend to experience higher job satisfaction and greater engagement in their work, resulting in reduced turnover rates and improved staff retention.
Choosing the right people
Not everyone is suited for self-management, and it’s crucial for us to select individuals whose ethics align with ours. This is why, at BelleVie, we form teams based on shared values rather than past experience. Even if someone lacks prior experience in the care field, we ensure they have access to the same knowledge and expertise as those with years of experience. Surprisingly, over half of our team members were newcomers to the care profession when they joined BelleVie!
Central to our approach is our dedicated psychometric assessment (don’t worry, it’s not as intimidating as it sounds!) known as Bellevie and Me. We employ this tool to gain deeper insights into potential colleagues and gain some understanding of their personality types. We then conduct interactive workshop sessions to better grasp their values and personalities. This is where we truly gauge how prospective employees would react in various situations.
Throughout the UK, we are facing a crisis in care recruitment. Newest figures from the homecare association report a vacancy rate in homecare of 12%, which is higher than the average for social care of 9.9%. To help address this challenge, we have also received a grant from the Design Age Institute Pathfinder Innovation Programme. With their assistance, we will develop a digital version of our innovative recruitment process, meticulously crafted with input from end-users, effectively balancing automation and human interaction. This will enable us to expand and meet the often unaddressed needs of our growing and ageing population.
Supporting our Colleagues
Retention poses a significant challenge in the realm of social care. Caregivers frequently encounter burnout, a decline in their work-life quality, and well-being challenges. With a staggering 31.1% turnover rate observed in homecare alone in 2023. It is important to provide robust support for carers to safeguard their well-being and enhance their job satisfaction.
Our Wellbeing Support Workers receive salaries, a departure from the norm in most care roles, and are paid for gaps between visits, travel time, team meetings and training. They are self-managed, meaning they are empowered to make their own decisions, but are supported by their peers. Consequently, team members are deeply motivated by their values and experience higher job satisfaction – reflected in our colleague retention figures being higher than the sector average. This, in turn, empowers them to provide high quality, person focused care.
This year, we are honoured to show our support for Professional Care Worker’s Week by hosting an awards celebration night for our wellbeing support workers. We’re also launching a comprehensive wellbeing plan which will include things such as free wellbeing sessions, the introduction of a blue light card which will provide discounts from UK retailers, the establishment of an employee of the month awards, and the distribution of vouchers to provide assistance during the holiday season.
To deliver better care and support our ageing population, we firmly believe that the foundation for success lies in the creation of excellent job opportunities within the care sector. It is only by empowering our caregivers with fulfilling and rewarding roles that we can ensure they, in turn, provide top-notch support to those in need. By valuing and investing in our caregiving workforce, we not only enhance the quality of care but also foster a more compassionate and dedicated community of professionals.