We have been helping families achieve exceptional results across NSW for over 16 years! Last year, we formed a special division – the Outcomes Team – whose function was to focus on the progress our Educarers are making against the desired goals on each assignment.
Currently, our team is made up of two individuals who are both passionate about the education and well-being of children – Mariam Carfi and Nichelle Ritchie. With over 20 years’ experience working within the early childhood sector – including time as an Educarer for us – they are committed to the ongoing pursuit for our Educarers to provide better outcomes for the children and families we support.
When a family commences with our service, the Outcomes Team provide specific achievable goals for Educarers to achieve during their assignment. These goals are unique for each family; they are formed through consultation with any relevant referring partner and defined by term of care.
Every Zest Care Educarer is required to complete a progress summary for each shift to give a snapshot of what’s happening within the home and activities undertaken to progress towards these outcomes.
Nichelle and Mariam review these summaries each week and provide relevant direction to the Educarers where appropriate; this may be in the form of constructive guidance or commendation depending upon their performance.
It’s a busy team. As Nichelle comments, “We have over 250 families currently with some families having up to four Educarers covering their care pattern. So there’s a lot to go through!”
Getting the team up and running since its inception in November last year has been demanding. “Making Educarers aware of the importance of the progress summaries and the positive impact they can have is a big challenge”, says Mariam. “We are able to help guide and support Educarers to achieve the desired outcomes week-to-week. If left too long, we can encounter challenges.
“The consistency in sending these summaries is also part of an Educarer’s performance!” adds Nichelle. “We are able to recognise and commend individuals when they are seeing results with the children – their progress summaries informs us as to how they are tracking.” It’s also a way of ensuring that Zest Care has made the right match between the Educarer, the children and the family, so that real progress is being made.”
Educarers often seek guidance on how to write a good progress summary. “The most important thing they need to include in the summary is the progress of the children and families in regard to the outcomes that have been set. So it needs to be specific.”
Mariam and Nichelle have a weekly meeting with both the Family Services and Operations Team to give feedback on both positive outcomes and where some support may be needed.
“Through reading these summaries and speaking with the Educarers we are able to change or tweak the outcomes if needed. This can happen when an Educarer does an outstanding job and exceeds all expectations… we can give new objectives for them to reach.” says Mariam.
The function of the Outcomes Team makes them an important part of Educarer awards. “In collaboration with the Operations Team, we are able to identify potential winners of our Educarer of the Month awards.” Nichelle states. “Meeting the desired outcomes is fundamental in identifying top performers. Often it is those Educarers who are sending in their reports every week who go in to win!”
The Outcomes Team has a demanding but rewarding role within Zest Care. It’s one which is integral to Zest Care’s commitment to help families live the lift they want – today.
We think that’s good news for everyone.