A unique approach to care


There is a myth that nurses who practise in the adult care sector, especially those in elderly care, become de-skilled within a care home environment. This couldn’t be further from the truth for Barchester nurses.

At Barchester we actively promote the importance of ongoing training and continual professional development of all nurses and fully support Revalidation. One of the key aims of Revalidation is to ensure that nurses can review the way they practice against set standards, regardless of the area of medicine they choose to practice in.

Due to the complex 24-hour care we deliver to our residents in our 200 care homes and 7 independent hospitals, we actively support our nurses to continually develop their skills so they can proactively run their unit with support from the internal team and the wider medical community.

This inclusive approach enables our nurses to build a person-centred care plan with each resident and their family which provides a clinical, cultural and spiritual approach to care.

To instil this unique approach to care, nurses at our Highview Care Home in Inverness are currently benefitting from working in collaboration with the NHS and other local hospices to form Project Echo.

As Norma Swatman, Deputy Manager at Highview explains, “This is a great learning opportunity for our nurses. Project Echo focuses on nurses taking the Clinical Lead in Palliative Care (CLIP) and includes all aspects of End of Life care. By the end of the 10-week course our nurses will have become palliative care champions, which will help others in their team to deliver a higher level of care for our residents.”

“During the 10-week course nurses from 20 care homes and hospices in the area work alongside the NHS to review the standards, regulation and best practice for dignity, pain and bereavement management.”

“The training our nurses receive during the course will really benefit our residents and their families, particularly when it comes to end of life care. In more complex cases, when ordinarily a resident would have been transferred to hospital or hospice, the training means our nurses can support a resident to stay in our care home, offering the comfort of familiar people and surroundings to both the resident and the family. This can mean so much.”

Project Echo is not the only additional training that the team at Highview is involved in. Some of the nurses have also teamed up with the NHS to take part in the “My Home Life” project, which specifically looks at improving the quality of life for residents within a care home. Based around the Seven C’s, local care home managers and nurses come together to discuss how all aspects of care can be best managed within a care home.

Dolly Boben, RGN at Highview explains, “Best practice is shared from different care homes and hospices across the region. Methods are implemented and feedback is given to everyone involved in the “My Home Life” Project. Core aspects such as language, attitude and approach are discussed and trialled in each care home. Our nursing teams have been very receptive to the ideas that have come from the discussions and the knowledge-sharing that has taken place. The benefits of this type of training is two-fold; as well as developing our staff, the quality of care for our residents is also improved.”

“Personally, this collaboration has given me more confidence in my abilities. There is no onsite support from a doctor within a care home environment, so our care teams, especially the nurses, are given a huge amount of autonomy to run their unit in the way they see fit. Since taking part in the “My Home Life” Project, I have shared our best practices with people on the course, who have been very impressed with our approach. This has made me incredibly proud of the nurses at Highview.”

Norma says “I am so proud and excited about the collaborations we are involved in. The nurses participating are so enthusiastic about what they are doing; this benefits the whole home. The best practices they are sharing, learning and implementing is enhancing the standards of care for our residents. I firmly believe that by developing our nurses and care teams to deliver more complex care, we are providing the type of care that our residents and their families need.”