Each year the NHS sees a surge in admissions throughout the winter months. Leading Think Tanks predict that winter 2015/2016 will be no different, and could possibly be worse than previous years due to a number of additional factors, including strikes and longer waiting times.
The private Care Home sector also sees an increase in enquiries and admissions during the winter months, often driven by a rise in accidents and infections in the elderly, or families realising that they need more support to help their elderly loved ones. Families often spend more time with their elderly relatives during the Christmas and New Year period and are more likely to identify any physical and mental health issues they may not have been aware of before. January always sees an increase in enquiries for support for elderly relatives and often the first tentative search for a place in a care home for a loved one.
“Emotions can often run high when families are trying to decide whether or not to place their loved one in a home” Theresa Snell, General Manager at Barchester’s Marriott House and Lodge explains.
“There can often be a guilt factor involved, so we ensure we help both the family and the elderly person during the initial care assessment we undertake in the first step to ensure we provide the right type of support.”
Theresa goes on to explain “For many families an assessment can be their first contact with a care home, so we are always positive, open and explain exactly what will happen and the types of care and support we can provide. Our assessments can take place in a variety of places, for example in a hospital, in someone’s home or even in another care home.”
“Marie Forrester, our Deputy Manager (RN) uses her clinical skills to assess the medical condition of the individual, but also shows incredible empathy for the family and can help them to deal with what can sometimes be a difficult situation for all involved.”
“Once a person is in our care, the nursing team spend time getting to know them, from a clinical, cultural and spiritual point of view. The team also ensure they understand any hopes and concerns the person may have for their future care. This means spending a lot of one-to-one time with the new resident, as well as talking to their family. We ask families to get involved as much as possible, so we can get to know their loved one as well as we can.”
Marie says “Many nurses are under the impression that working in a care home will deskill them; this is simply not true. Our nurses are actively encouraged to develop their clinical skills and enjoy a high level of autonomy, proactively running their unit with support from the internal team, Barchester and the wider medical community.”
“Our nurses have the opportunity to make decisions for themselves, and as there are no doctors based in the care home environment, they take the lead with residents care. We all work closely as a team ensuring the best care for our residents. The work is varied and I, along with the rest of the team, thrive in this type of environment.”
Maria is also very enthusiastic about the career prospects for her nursing team. “When a new nurse joins the team, we identify which areas they would like to train in; this can be anything from wound or palliative care to enteral feeding. During my career at Barchester I have been supported to develop from both a clinical and managerial perspective.”
“Communication is paramount at Marriott House and Lodge. Our approach to care includes the whole team, so together we ensure the care plan for each resident evolves naturally over time. It is important that each resident and their family, feels they are truly cared for, now and into the future.”
Theresa and Marie are proud of how they have developed specialised teams at Marriott House and Lodge. Theresa added “Our nurses and support members form additional cross teams in areas which can cause concern for our residents, such as falls or nutrition. These teams monitor each resident and then liaise with the relevant staff to make any changes to suit the individual.”
This person-centric approach helped Marriott House and Lodge to receive an ‘Outstanding’ category in the CQC report in 2015.
Theresa says the Marriott House and Lodge philosophy is very simple, “The residents don’t live in our work-place, we work in their home.”