Under the entrepreneurial drive and direction of CEO, Peter Angelides, we operate a professional Care Management Team in England and Wales committed to providing high quality care to individuals in their own homes.
We caught up with him recently to find out what drives him and what his vision for our future is.
Q. Peter what have been your entrepreneurial initiatives in the past 12 months?
A. There are four key ones:
- Campaigning to change the poorly paid and badly trained image carers have
- Introducing flexible contract arrangements that mean carers don’t have to work on zero hour contracts
- Introducing a single status company
- Introducing technology to help improve care provision.
Q. You joined Abacare more than seven years ago what have you achieved so far?
A. I have doubled the company’s employee numbers and helped us secure more work.
In 2014, we won a significant contract to supply care for Powys Council and have become well-known as an industry leader in the sector. We now have more than 600 employees within three offices in North and Mid Wales.
We also recently (2016) opened a new office in Rhondda Cynon Taf where we currently employ 130 staff and providing more than 2,900 hours of care a week to elderly and vulnerable service users in the area.
We received the accolade of Most Outstanding Care Agency in the UK at the Over 50s Housing Awards in 2014, 2015 and most recently in 2016. We’re hoping to make it four years running this year.
These awards give recognition for efforts to advance profitability and reward those who lift and enhance the customer experience.
Q. What is key at Abacare?
A. Looking after our service users and staff is paramount to everything we do. We’re striving and achieving the very best in positive based outcomes and person-centred care to the people we look after.
We take into account each individual’s unique qualities, abilities, interests and preferences. Treating individuals with dignity and respect.
Our company values are to:
- Make us proud
- Focus on our service users well being
- Communicate, listen well and speak with respect
- Be passionate, honest, caring and considerate
- Recruit and develop the very best
- Leadership by example
Q. What do you think are the key issues facing the domiciliary care industry at the moment?
A. It’s image and the image of carers. They are often portrayed as being down beat, stressed and as having low self-esteem and we feel this needs to be addressed as it is often very far from the truth. Our carers say care is a vocation they enjoy and are devoted to this essential service.
We have pioneered the way by offering good rates of pay to our care workers, high standards in training, as well as flexible hours to fit around their busy lifestyles.
We’re campaigning for the image of care to change from one of poorly trained and badly paid to that of a vocation and a career to be proud of using person-centred care.
Caring is incredibly valuable work and our staff who have a second job with Abacare often tell us how much they gain from their work with us.
Some of our carers have main jobs, which are office based, and really enjoy the chance to go out and help someone face-to-face and to spend time with new people who really need help and support.
One carer said: “I give person-centred care to two people in my own village and I really enjoy it, it’s very different from the work I do nine to five.”
Q. What do you think about zero hour contracts?
A. We offer anything from zero to 30 hour contracts to suit staff, but prefer people to have a fixed hour contract as it provides a sounder and more rewarding basis for employment. This is something I feel is a first for the industry.
It is really important that we ensure we attract and retain the very best care staff possible and while others in the industry prefer zero hour contracts, we’re offering an opt out to our staff to give them a more guaranteed income.
In order to give the very best in care and support to our service users, our staff will always be offered a contract that states they are entitled to a minimum of 16 hours pay each week. We don’t just care about the vulnerable and elderly we look after, we also care about the team that works for us and does such a fabulous job.
Q. How have you embraced technology within the work you and the team do?
A. Staff now use smart phones, laptops and tablets out in the field and are able to access all their required document files at the drop of a hat, saving time and resources, which can instead be spent on supporting service users.
By using the latest technology we can support individuals more effectively and efficiently, making it easier for them to stay in their own homes and the surroundings they are familiar with and secure in.
Q. What are your plans for the future?
A. We are also helping our team and service users by introducing initiatives that assist with efficiency without reducing the real elements of care that matter such as chatting. Technology will play a bigger role in the next five to 10 years and we’re working towards a paperless environment using iPads, iPhones and call monitoring, as well as using mapping software to ensure additional efficiency and more effective care combined with enabling our governing bodies to have direct access into our system for up to the minute auditing, which will be a first in the UK.