Over the festive season, the staff and residents of Barchester Healthcare’s Forest Hill Care Home in Nottinghamshire, had one more thing to celebrate: an Outstanding rating awarded by the Care Quality Commission.
Joanne Layden, (RMN) Deputy Manager of the home, who has been working there for the last five years and was thrilled to receive the news.
She talks about how much it takes to be an outstanding care home, “We have worked so hard for this. At the core of everything we do is the passion to offer the best quality of care for our residents, which is delivered by every member of the team. All our residents have such differing needs and their conditions present in different ways, so our main focus is always their individual comfort.”
Forest Hill cares for residents over 65 with dementia and residents over 50 with complex care needs, such as schizophrenia, bipolar and depression. Each resident has a detailed care plan that every team member is familiar with.
“We find out everything we possibly can about our residents. As many of them can’t express themselves verbally, we need to understand their needs before they even try and tell us. I think of it like this; can you imagine if someone offered you a cup of tea every morning with sugar in it and you didn’t take sugar, but you were physically unable to tell anyone? It would be so frustrating and infuriating.
“We have separate communication plans for each resident, not just about their likes and dislikes, but how they best receive and process information. Everyone in the team contributes to these as we can always learn something new, or sometimes a resident changes their preferences. These plans helps reduce stress, meaning there’s less incidents. We have Polish and Italian speaking residents and as some of the staff are fluent in these languages, this enables our residents use their mother tongue. This immeasurably reduces their stress and efforts.”
The passion and enthusiasm of every member of the team was particularly praised by the CQC.
“You can achieve so much if you put your all into it,” Joanne remarks. “We had a gentleman who had run away to the circus when he was little. When he first came to us, he couldn’t walk or talk, but we eventually got him to a stage where we could take him to the circus. He was treated like royalty because so many people knew him. It was magical to see his face light up. I was so proud that we helped create that.”
Maintaining the residents’ independence is also a key focus for the home. Joanne describes how they achieve this, “You always have to offer choices because you never know when someone decides that they would like to do it themselves. Whether it’s offering a resident a spoon to eat with or a flannel to wash themselves, the sense of achievement someone can get from these simple things is incredible. We celebrate all their successes – large or small.”
To recognise success, Barchester introduced a Rewarding Excellence Scheme so every team member could be personally rewarded. Each member in Forest Hill Care Home received £500 of retail vouchers in recognition of the fact it took every person in the team to make the home outstanding. The reward structure also recognised the teams in other homes and hospitals that received ‘good’ or equivalent ratings.
Joanne goes on to say, “We’re all very pleased to receive this extra recognition from Barchester. We are so proud of everything we’ve achieved. I had to postpone becoming a nurse while I was having my children, and the day before my Dad died he told me to follow my dream and become a nurse. I can hand on heart say I haven’t regretted a single day of my nursing carer and this recognition has reinforced all the effort I put in – I’ve shed a few happy tears.”
“We have such a fantastic team that I can’t see myself leaving Barchester. We’re given all the training and support we need, both professionally and personally, from my manager, Lizzie, and the company.”
Echoing the pride felt by the team, Sue Arnold, Divisional Director for Hospital and Complex Care Service, comments “I am delighted the hard work and dedication of the Forest Hill team has been recognised with this fantastic accolade, particularly as this service caters for residents with very complex needs.”