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To succeed care providers must focus on service, employees and the environment

To succeed care providers must focus on service, employees and the environment - Peverel Court Care

 

As we begin to look forward to the year ahead, we wanted to consider the fundamental pillars on which the success of our group is based. Service, employees and the environment are at the heart of Peverel Court Care’s mission to consistently deliver exceptional care for our residents.

 
At Peverel Court Care we believe that in order for us to be successful in ensuring a level of service which constantly meets and exceeds the expectations of our residents and their loved ones, we can never allow ourselves to take our eye off the three critical foundations that underpin our business. Therefore, we decided to explore some of the elements which contribute to maintaining success in each of these areas throughout our award-winning care homes in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.
 

Exceptional service in our care homes

There are a multitude of elements that contribute to the exceptional levels of service that we provide for the residents of our homes, however some of the key ones include:

  • To make sure that our residents eat a varied and balanced diet, we employ full-time long standing chefs who produce seasonal menus using high quality local produce. Some care homes opt to outsource catering, but we prefer to manage this in-house so that we can provide the food that our residents love. We also offer private dining to our residents, if and when required, so as to best serve their wishes.
  • Peverel Court Care employ full-time hospitality employees, to look after our residents and to make sure that all of their requirements are met.
  • We also maintain a bespoke mini-bus at each of our homes for community outings. This makes it simpler for our hospitality employees to organise trips and visits for residents who wish to attend or require the service.
  • In addition, we have dedicated Activities teams in our care homes, who are responsible for organising entertainment to ensure that our residents can live happy and fulfilling lives while in our care.

 

Exceptional employees in our care homes

Delivering exceptional service requires an exceptional team. Some of the factors which contribute to the recruitment and retention of the brilliant people who work in our business include:

  • We utilise Values Based Recruitment to ensure that anyone that we’re recruiting into the business shares our values and ethos about care. Understanding whether a person has the correct attitudes and mindset to deliver exceptional service is fundamental to our decision making process.
  • Once we’ve brought good people into the homes, we want to make sure that they want to stay. One of the ways in which we do this is through the development of career pathways, which provide opportunities for ongoing learning and development, allowing staff to grow within the organisation.
  • In addition to helping our employees to progress their careers, we also provide reward & recognition schemes. These programmes are aimed at celebrating success and demonstrating how valued and appreciated their hard work is in delivering exceptional service for our residents.
  • Peverel Court Care, along with each of our homes – Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney, Oxfordshire – all benefit from having a long-standing management team. The expertise and experience of our leadership helps to maintain our exceptional levels of service, but also allows us to get to know all of our employees personally, which creates loyalty and better understanding between the parties.
  • As a business, we always aim to be exceptional. This has been recognised during independent inspections, as we have been awarded the rating of “Outstanding” in CQC ‘Well-led’ categories.

 

Exceptional environment at our care homes

We want our care homes to truly feel like home for our residents. Therefore, maintaining exceptionally high standards across our homes and their grounds is intrinsic to the way that we operate. This includes:

  • All of our homes have beautiful landscaped and dementia-friendly gardens. These spaces offer our residents access to safe, stimulating grounds and provide them with exercise and natural light.
  • It’s not just outside where our attention to detail helps to set us apart. We have also utilised dementia-friendly interior designs to make life as simple and comfortable as possible for our residents.
  • Community involvement and interactions for social stimulation are also a key part of our homes. We would never want residents to feel like they were disconnected from the outside world or each other, so this plays a key role in maintaining mental wellbeing.
  • We also believe that the use of, and access to, technology improves the lives of the residents who live in our care homes immeasurably. This includes the provision of super fast Wi-Fi and iPads for keeping in touch with loved ones, which has proved especially valuable over the past year with visitation having to be restricted. We have also implemented the use of electronic care plans. to further improve the way in which we’re able to personalise and maintain exceptional care for our residents.

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire: Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business, providing exceptional, personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

Business, Community, Leadership & Management, Real life, Social Care & Society, Stone House, Training & Development, Wellbeing, Workforce Development

“I like to think I make a difference in the residents’ lives every day”. An interview with Becky Hannigan

Becky Hannigan Carer at Stone House Peverel Court Care

 

It’s been a challenging year for the adult care sector. As we approach the end of 2020, we thought it would be a good time to catch up with one of our team to find out how they’re feeling.

 

For most of our team, choosing a career working in adult social care isn’t based purely on the money they will earn. There are far more holistic benefits for carers; from the sense of satisfaction they gain from helping residents to the feeling of their colleagues being like an extended family.

We spoke to Becky Hannigan, who is 25 and one of the younger carers at Stone House Nursing Care Home near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. We asked her about her experience of working for Peverel Court Care and the benefits, and challenges, of life as a carer.

 

How long have you been a part of the Peverel Court Care team?

I have worked at Peverel Court Care for 3 years and 9 months now. Stone House has been a bit like an extended family to me, we’re all very close.

 

What were you doing before you joined us at Stone House?

Before working at Peverel Court I volunteered in the foundation years in a Primary School and then went on to catering for nearly 2 years.

 

What made you decide that a career in care was a good option for you?

I’ve always had a great interest in the healthcare sector, especially since my family have been in the healthcare profession for generations. Stone House is very close to my heart too, as my Grandad & Nanny lived there during their time as nurses for St John’s Hospital in Stone.

 

How have you found the reality of working in care, compared to what you were expecting?

It’s more challenging than I first thought. A lot of people come into it thinking it’s going to be an easy job. It’s mentally challenging as well as physically. I didn’t realise the kind of connections you make with the people around you; they become like a second family and it can make the job much more special and rewarding.

 

With the media coverage of COVID this year, did you have any concerns about working in a care home during this period?

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have concerns. It was an uncertain time and everyone was a bit worried, but my biggest concern – and what I think helped me get through it – was focusing on my residents. Not only in keeping them safe, but to keep life as normal as possible for them and to prevent them from feeling lonely or isolated with not having visitors in.

 

Do you as feel safe as is reasonably possible working in Stone House?

I do feel safe working at Stone House. I have a great team by my side and we are very open and honest with each other. Especially during the challenges that this year has thrown our way, we have regular team meetings to discuss new guidelines, to ask any questions or raise any concerns we might have. We also have weekly swab tests, which provides great reassurance and allows me to be able to fulfil my job with confidence. I think it’s important knowing you have a safe space and team around you.

 

Do you think there is any more we could be doing to protect staff and residents?

No, I think Peverel Court does a great job with that already.

 

How well supported do you feel by management and colleagues?

I feel really well supported in my role by my manager and the rest of the team. For example, a resident recently passed away which was quite upsetting for me. My manager asked to see me privately away from everyone to make sure I was okay and if there was anything I needed or he could do to help.

 

We aim to make all of our team feel valued and appreciated; does that come across as we hope?

I do feel valued and appreciated, for example working over the past 6 months has been challenging and uncertain and receiving vouchers as a thanks for our hard work was uplifting and rewarding. It was a nice surprise for us in a difficult time. Also with Perkbox and the perks we receive from that as well as “Employee of the Quarter” where we also receive vouchers helps us to feel valued.

 

Do you have any tips on anything we could do to improve our recruiting and onboarding process?

Have regular private meetings with new staff, just to see how they are getting on and if anyone is struggling as it is a very challenging but rewarding job.

 

In what ways do you feel like you’re able to make a difference to the team and to our residents?

I like to think I make a difference in the residents’ lives every day. I’ve found that in this job it’s the small things that go a long way, such as just sitting and having a cup of tea with a resident and taking the time to chat about their day can improve their mood. Also setting up a small church session with bible readings, prayers and singing along to hymns has made a massive difference for them to still be able to receive their religious and spiritual needs.

 

How do you see your future in the care sector progressing?

Since I started at Peverel Court Care I have experienced a few different roles. For example I have worked as a laundry assistant, domestic assistant, I worked in the kitchen. I now provide care as well as my role as an activity coordinator. During my time here I have also seen more of the clinical side of things; that has peaked my interest and got me thinking I might like to do a course in nursing and progress within the company in that way, as I have seen others do.

 

Would you recommend a career in adult social care, and in particular with Peverel Court Care, to your friends, family or others considering a future in care?

I have previously recommended people to work at Peverel Court Care such as my cousin and my close friend. I will continue to recommend people as I feel it is a very rewarding job and the homes have a family feel to them.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to add about your experiences of working for Peverel Court Care, or in the adult care sector in general?

Peverel Court Care has shaped me as a person and helped my knowledge and confidence grow. I have learned to be more understanding and patient towards cognitive impairment as this is something I had not experienced before working in adult care. In my personal opinion everyone should take the opportunity to work in adult care at some point as it is an amazing learning experience and has taught me some valuable life lessons.

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire: Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business, providing personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

Bartletts, Business, Care & Technology, Care Management, Future of Care, Health and Safety, Leadership & Management, Merryfield, Real life, Social Care & Society, Stone House, Wellbeing

Health and wellbeing of the adult social care workforce

Health and Wellbeing of the Adult Social Care Workforce at Peverel Court Care

 

With the number of cases of COVID-19 on the rise again across the UK, it seemed a good time to review the health and wellbeing support that has been put in place for the adult social care workforce. We examine both the initiatives that have been launched nationally, and also those that we have additionally put in place for our staff at Peverel Court Care.

The care sector is a vital part of our health and care frontline and this pandemic has shone a light on the skills, commitment and dedication of our care workers.

Helen Whately
Minister of State for Care

 

An Unprecedented Year in Adult Social Care

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, this has been a challenging year for the adult social care sector in the UK. Keeping our residents safe has been at the forefront of everyone’s minds; not least as a result of the media coverage it has had. However, equally as important has been ensuring the mental and physical wellbeing of the dedicated people whose hard work has ensured continuity of care for our residents.

While the general population have faced the worry, uncertainty and disruption that the pandemic has brought, for our staff we know that this has been doubly difficult. Not only have they had to worry about bringing illness home to the families and loved ones, but they have also had the added concern of taking something back to work with them.

When you add in the fact that many of our staff have been asked to help maintain levels of services while colleagues have been self-isolating; increasing their own workloads and levels of stress, it’s been incredibly reassuring to see the dedication of our team.

 

Supporting the Adult Social Care Workforce

Nationally, there have been plenty of initiatives launched to help support care workers. An early one was supermarkets including care workers amongst the group of front-line workers to whom priority shopping times were made available. However, at government level, one of the key additions made to support the care workforce was the launch of the Care Workforce app, developed with NHSX and the NHS Business Services Authority, under the new CARE brand.

Launched in May 2020, the app, which is available for download on iOS and Android, as well as being accessible from any web browser, acts as a single digital hub for social care workers to access relevant updates, guidance, support and discounts from their phone. The tool will be the first of its kind provided for the care workforce, and will:

  • act as a single one-stop-shop providing the sector with all the latest guidance, wellbeing support and advice they need to protect themselves from COVID-19 and keep themselves well
  • provide access to learning resources on crucial areas such as infection control as well as practical advice and support for mental wellbeing
  • show how care workers can take advantage of offers available to NHS and social care staff, including free car parking and discounts through organisations and initiatives like Discounts for Carers and the Blue Light Card
  • signpost free access to apps like Silvercloud, Daylight and Sleepio, which can help boost users’ mental wellbeing through programmes covering sleep, stress and resilience

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

Our incredible social care workforce are on the frontline day and night providing quality care to the most vulnerable in our society during the most unprecedented time in our history. The whole country is incredibly grateful of the work they continue to do for our loved ones.

As part of our continued work to back the care sector, we have launched a new app specifically for care workers to make sure they have the most up-to-date guidance to keep them safe, connected with their colleagues across the country, which also allows them to access discounts like their NHS counterparts.

It’s available to download right now, and I would urge everyone in social care to do so.

 

Managing Mental Health and Wellbeing

In addition to the app, there have been a plethora of support initiatives and guidance released this year to help support the adult social care workforce. A simple, but important set of precisely this type of advice is:

There are some simple things you can do to look after your mental health and wellbeing at the current time. Looking after your mind and body will help you both at work and home.

  • Remember that it is OK to struggle at the present time. Everyone reacts differently and you may feel different emotions at different stages of the pandemic. However, it may cause you to feel worried, stressed, sad, scared or helpless – these are understandable feelings.
  • Take time to look after your physical wellbeing – this will have a big impact on how you feel emotionally. Taking breaks at work, maintaining a routine, eating well and exercising can help.
  • Think about what has helped you cope in the past to cope with stressful situations. Focus on what is in your control, try to pace yourself and remember that this will not last forever.
  • Extend the self-compassion and care you have for others for yourself.
  • Look after your emotional health. After difficult or stressful experiences at work it is normal for memories or images of what has happened to come into your mind. Try to let these memories come and go rather than blocking them or trying not to think about them. Try not to stay focused on difficult thoughts and feelings.

Dr Katrina Lake
NHS England & NHS Improvement Adult Mental Health (South East) Clinical Lead

Other useful examples of guidance documents released this year which are well worth a read, include Health and Wellbeing information for Care Staff and Managing the Wellbeing of Social Care Staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 

Supporting our team at Peverel Court Care

While we have appreciated the efforts that have been made at a national and local level, at Peverel Court Care we wanted to go further to help our employees through this difficult time.

We have also implemented the Employee Assistance Programme, powered by Health Assured, which is a confidential employee benefit designed to help staff deal with any personal and work-related issues that might be affecting them. Whether they are struggling at home or at work, there is a helpline available to them 24/7, 365 days a year, so that they will always have support on hand when they need it over the phone or via live chat.

Peverel Court Care have also partnered with Perkbox Medical to provide employees with 24/7 access to an online GP, as we appreciate how difficult it can sometimes be to schedule appointments around working hours.

The online GP service allows employees to interact with a certified doctor, via app or website from anywhere with internet access. Employees can book an appointment and be seen within minutes, ask for advice, as well as receiving prescriptions and referrals, all at a time of their choosing. Our Directors are among staff to have already taken advantage of this service, and believe they have “witnessed the benefit and efficiency of the process”.

Back in April we also created a bespoke survey platform for the team to provide anonymous feedback and ask questions to the senior leadership team. In order to try to mitigate against any financial hardship suffered as a result of needing to self-isolate, we also invited employees to let us know if they need assistance in dealing with the loss of income as a result of having to isolate for 7 or 14 days. We put in place a scheme covering the months of March and April where we were able to advance up to 100% of the difference between Statutory Sick Pay and an employee’s contractual pay over that period.

We are also introducing Aura for our employees from the 29th October. Even before World Mental Health Day, we had been looking for a new solution which we could provide to our staff to help them better manage the impact on their mental health of both their work and life. Aura is described by it’s founders as:

Join millions who use Aura to manage their emotions and get restful sleep. Whether you’re stressed, anxious or having trouble sleeping, simply tell Aura and find strength & rest.

Mindfulness meditations, stories, life coaching, and so much more. With thousands of empowering & resonating audio tracks, Aura has just what you need every day, and constantly learns what works for you.

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire: Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business, providing personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

Bartletts, Best Care Practices, Business, Care Home Recruitment, Future of Care, Leadership & Management, Merryfield, Real life, Stone House, Training & Development, Workforce Development, Workforce Intelligence

Careers in adult social care

Careers in Adult Social Care at Peverel Court Care

 

As the Department for Health and Social Care launch their major new recruitment drive for the social care sector “Care for others, make a difference” we take the opportunity to explore some of the career opportunities and initiatives designed to encourage people to consider careers in adult social care.

 

At Peverel Court Care, we have long appreciated the dedication and commitment of our team, who work tirelessly to provide exceptional levels of care to the residents of our care homes in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

 

The Values that make a Great Carer

Building on the existing “Every day is different” campaign, the latest campaign features new messaging which enhances the current need for further urgent recruitment in the sector. It focuses on encouraging those people who possess the desired values to consider a future in providing care.

Under the strapline We need you now. They need you always, adverts will run across national broadcast and online TV, radio, social media and online to inspire people to make a difference now by working in social care.

Public Health England

For the management team at Peverel Court Care, looking at values when assessing someone who is interested in a career in adult social care is something we have long considered important. Underpinning this belief is the development of a set of core values which we strive to adhere to as a business and the recruitment processes we have put in place to align our selection process with those values. As such, we consider this new national initiative to be a fantastic way for the sector as a whole to ensure it is sufficiently staffed, both now and in the future.

 

Career Pathways in Adult Social Care

While recruiting staff who share the values required to provide high levels of care is important, that is just the first step. Retaining and further developing high-performing staff within the business, and the sector as a whole, for the longer term is another challenge in itself.

Peverel Court Care have long utilised career pathways for several key roles, including Healthcare Assistants and have seen a number of our staff who have joined the business as carers promoted into management roles.

After we have recruited new members of staff, we first ensure that they have the relevant training to do their jobs today. However, we also develop longer term plans to help them continue to learn and develop so that they will want to stay with us for much longer than the industry average. We work closely with ambitious Healthcare Assistants at each of our care homes to support them through the new Assistant Practitioner course at both Oxford Brookes University and Buckinghamshire New University.

We aim to provide a structured pathway for those with aspirations to develop and progress their careers in adult social care. Upon completion of the Assistant Practitioner course – our staff then have the option to complete a further course to become a qualified Registered Nurse. We also provide access to the Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Health and Social Care for those looking to pursue a managerial career pathway.

We also work with training provider Hemsley Fraser and all of our Registered Managers attend at least one course per year. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, we are still committed to this in 2020, and the managers will be attending virtual courses.

 

Carer Happiness means Resident Happiness

Promoting continuous learning, development and career pathways is fundamental to the long-term staff requirement planning we have in place for the business. Going hand-in-hand with this, we have introduced staff reward and recognition programmes, which allow us to thank our dedicated team for their commitment. 

While we already had a number of recognition programmes in place, the challenges of COVID-19 that have been faced globally during this year have lead to the introduction of a number of other initiatives to support our staff. By supporting the employees who ensure the consistent, high levels of care for the residents of our homes, we hope that we have made the difficulties faced this year as manageable as possible.

We hope that by investing in making our staff feel valued and by enabling them to progress their careers in adult social care with us via the new career pathways, Peverel Court Care can continue to buck sector-wide staffing trends and to maintain the exceptional levels of care for which we’re renowned.

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire: Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business, providing personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

Advice for Choosing Care, Bartletts, Best Care Practices, Business, Care & Technology, Care Management, Future of Care, Health and Safety, Infection Control, Leadership & Management, Merryfield, Real life, Safeguarding, Social Care Strategy, Stone House, Tech

The Safety of a Quality Care Home

The safety of a quality care home at Peverel Court Care

 

Are care homes currently safe? That is the question we are frequently asked. Until there’s a definitive answer to their question, families may consider staying away from care homes – but should they?

The question of whether or not a person is safer in a care home, their own home, or a hospital ward, is not a straightforward answer. Much is dependent on the measures put in place by any given care provider in order to mitigate the risks for their residents and staff.

With COVID-19 continuing to dominate the news headlines around the globe, it’s little wonder that people have concerns about whether their loved ones are, or would be, safe in a residential or nursing care home.

 

Safety in our care homes

We are now COVID free in all of our homes – and that goes for both staff and residents. We have had one Emergency Support Framework (ESF) call at Merryfield Nursing Home in Witney, near Oxford, that highlights the safety of the home.

We have recently detailed how we’re utilising technology to ensure outstanding infection control in our care homes, along with how we’re rolling out the use of digital care plans and the ways in which we’ve supported our employees through COVID-19.

One of the key uses of technology which we have introduced to all three of our care homes in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire is a set of VitalSign Series Temperature-Check Tablets in the entrances to all our homes as part of our infection control measures.

In anticipation of requiring PPE at the very outset of a possible national outbreak, we embarked on a significant procurement programme very early on, ensuring adequate supplies of all required PPE throughout. At no point did any of the Peverel Court Care homes run out of PPE, nor were we required at any point to ration our supplies. Spending a significant sum on commercially available stock ensured we were adequately provided for.

Peverel Court Care have subsequently embarked on a further procurement programme to make sure we are adequately stocked on an ongoing basis for any future national outbreak and any further changes to Public Health England guidance around the use of PPE.

The safety of our residents and employees is fundamental to Peverel Court Care and underlines our core values of Resident Focus, Integrity, Service Quality, Passion and Care for Our Communities.

 

Are care homes less safe than home care?

Again, there is no single answer to this question, as processes to minimise the spread of the virus will vary greatly from one provider to another. However, where carers are travelling between care recipients – and particularly where they need to regularly use public transport – the risk of transmitting infection will always be there.

“Live-in care, where the carer stays at the individuals home for weeks at a time, has been described as the “safe option”. However, this approach can also have its downsides. In a recent case study we discovered that:

Before coronavirus took hold, the family of an elderly man with mild dementia had opted for live-in care, with a home care agency also visiting regularly to cover any breaks the live-in carer was entitled to.

As it turned out, the live-in carer self-isolated with the client’s father for 8 weeks straight.

During that time, possibly due to boredom and frustration that he couldn’t go out, the father’s dementia became more severe. His behaviour became more aggressive and he started to wander from the house at night to the point where all the doors and windows had to be locked.

Whenever there was an issue, and there were many, the family member who lived nearest – our client’s brother – would get a call from the carer to come and help. This was happening on a more frequent basis and at any time of day or night.

Clearly under normal circumstances, the family would have chosen a care home as the safe option. But despite this, the fear of COVID meant the family decided to carry on with an increasingly unsafe and inadequate situation at home.

 

Returning our care homes to a new normal

As we continue to implement new technological solutions to provide infection control and reduce the risk for our residents and staff, we’ve been able to reintroduce controlled visits by family. This week we received this lovely note from the daughter of one of our residents at Bartlett’s Residential Care Home, near Aylesbury, Bucks:

Hi Mibell and the whole team,

 

I just wanted to say that after 5 long months my visit with Dad yesterday was SO lovely. He was relaxed, happy and chatty. To him I am quite sure it only felt like yesterday I had visited (quite possibly with thanks to his Dementia).

 

Everything about my visit was well organised and with a relaxed feeling as to put us at ease. Please convey my thanks to the whole team.

 

I am very much looking forward to seeing him again. 

 

SW xx

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire: Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business, providing personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

Bartletts, Best Care Practices, Business, Care & Technology, Care Management, Health and Safety, Infection Control, Leadership & Management, Merryfield, Real life, Safeguarding, Social Care & Society, Social Care Strategy, Stone House, Wellbeing

Supporting employees through COVID-19

Supporting employees through COVID-19 at Peverel Court Care 1200x800

 

The past few months have been an extremely challenging time for people across the UK. However, this has been especially the case for key workers, such as our dedicated employees, who have continued to deliver first-class care for our residents.

 
At Peverel Court Care, we always pride ourselves on being proactive. When the Government initially advised that care homes would likely be the least affected in the community, we took a more strategic approach and put an ‘Action Plan’ in place. This was prior to any ‘official’ guidance being put into circulation. Naturally, we took advice from Public Health England where necessary.

Our ‘Action Plan’ is a live, working document, and is in effect a contingency plan which sets out what our objectives and guidelines are to enhance appropriateness of practice; improve quality of care; strive for better resident outcomes; improve infection prevention control measures; and enhance business continuity measures, with particular importance on maintaining staffing at optimum levels.

 

Protecting our staff

We know that balancing the health and safety of residents and families is a really difficult one for our employees. In anticipation of requiring PPE at the very outset of a possible national outbreak, Peverel Court Care embarked on a procurement programme very early on, ensuring adequate supplies of all required PPE throughout. At no point did Peverel Court Care run out of supplies, nor were we required at any point to ration supplies. Spending a significant sum on commercially available stock ensured we were adequately provided for.

Peverel Court Care have embarked on a procurement programme to make sure we are adequately stocked on an ongoing basis for any future national outbreak and any further changes to Public Health England guidance around the use of PPE.

At Peverel Court Care, we encourage a supportive culture; where people are free to speak out about perceived risks and adverse outcomes, without fear of blame or repercussions. A safe culture provides a compassionate, inclusive, and trusting environment: one that shares insights and empowers staff with the skills, confidence, and mechanisms to improve the care we provide. This culture means we will hear more, learn more, and act more to improve care.

We created a bespoke platform for the team to provide anonymous feedback and ask questions to the senior leadership team. The bespoke survey supplemented our regular Insights surveys – a pulse survey tool for gathering and acting on feedback in a way that improves company culture and performance.

 

Supporting our team

At the onset of the pandemic we recognised that our team needed access to essential goods and services. Amidst the confusion at supermarkets and schools we wanted to ensure our employees had access to these vital services. All employees were supplied with professional staff ID cards and a supporting letter, allowing them to access opening times and services reserved for key workers.

Communication at this time has been vitally important. We launched a series of newsletters for both staff and relatives. Staff newsletters focused on wellbeing and assistance, with a host of resources being made available to them, such as supermarket opening times for key workers, which the team could easily access via our website. We firmly believe that communication across the entire team increases employee satisfaction, wellbeing, and motivation. We utilise the communication hub on our dedicated employee app to provide video updates from the CEO, Anil Dhanani.

We invited employees to let us know if they need assistance in dealing with the loss of income as a result of having to isolate for 7 or 14 days. We put in place a scheme covering the months of March and April where we were able to advance up to 100% of the difference between Statutory Sick Pay and an employee’s contractual pay over that period.

 

Employee Assistance Programme

The Employee Support Hub, powered by Health Assured, gives employees access to qualified therapists over the phone or via live chat.

The Employee Assistance Programme is a confidential employee benefit designed to help staff deal with any personal and work-related issues that might be affecting them. Whether they are struggling at home or at work, our helpline is available 24/7, 365 days a year so they will always have the support they need.

Peverel Court Care have also partnered with Perkbox Medical to provide employees with 24/7 access to an online GP as we appreciate how tricky it can be to schedule appointments around working hours.

The online GP service allows employees to interact with a certified doctor, via app or website from anywhere with internet, or Wi-Fi access. Employees can book an appointment and be seen within minutes, ask for advice, as well as receiving prescriptions and referrals, all at a time of their choosing.

 

Employee Reward Programme

We acknowledge that this time may be particularly stressful for some of our employees, with the resulting difficulties being presented by COVID-19. The admirable efforts that are being demonstrated by staff in ensuring the homes remain fully resourced – when our workforce is being particularly stretched – was worthy of recognition.

In light of this, we put together an employee fund of £100,000 to recognise the burden of responsibility being shouldered by our employees at work. Regardless of position, seniority or length of service, employees on the premises helping to care for our residents over this period, will be rewarded for their selfless efforts.

Total hours worked will be recorded over the period until the end of June and proportionate funds allocated. All employees will receive an equal monetary value per hour worked, regardless of post or position.

 

Employee Initiatives

We recognised the challenge our team faced, particularly at the outset of the pandemic, in purchasing some essential items. Each staff room therefore now receives regular “essential” and “movie night” gift boxes, in addition to regular fruit deliveries. Employees can access essential food items and toiletries for themselves and their family. Employees can also set up a personal account with our provisions supplier, Creed. Food provisions can be delivered directly to the care homes on our main order as supermarket delivery slots were difficult to come by.

We recognise that outstanding teams start with reward and recognition. We use our dedicated employee app to thank them for their outstanding efforts during this challenging time and reward with personalised vouchers. We celebrate and inspire our team with a company-wide recognition feed that celebrates incredible work.

To say thank you for their hard work, we also created a competition, giving employees the chance to win a selection of prizes every week as part of our “Thursday Thank-Yous”.

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire: Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business, providing personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

Bartletts, Best Care Practices, Business, Care & Technology, Care Management, Community, Future of Care, Health and Safety, Infection Control, Leadership & Management, Merryfield, Property Development, Real life, Stone House, Tech, Wellbeing

Technology and Community

Technology and Community Peverel Court Care

 

We examine how the use of technology is enabling everyone in our award-winning care homes in Aylesbury and Witney to continue to communicate with the outside world at this current time.

The use of technology is enabling residents and staff alike to maintain some form of normality in the face of present challenges. With the need to reduce the risk of infection being brought into our homes, we’ve postponed visits from family and friends. Along with postponing our regular entertainment, this has meant residents have missed out on some of their usual activities. However, the use of technology has helped compensate somewhat for the loss of these face-to-face encounters.

 

Video calls with loved ones

For many of our residents, the visits from their family, friends and loved ones are treasured moments. So in these uncertain times, they’ve come to appreciate the investment we made in 2017 to provide super-fast, comprehensive, secure WIFI throughout our homes. It has allowed residents to speak regularly with family and friends via tablets.

All of which goes some way to helping us to ensure that our residents can keep in contact with their loved ones at this difficult time. Beyond that, we’ve also introduced the use of VR headsets for residents, as part of the replacement for the regular entertainers who come into our homes normally.

 

NHS technology specialists

We are also working with NHSX, the unit tasked with driving digital transformation in the NHS. Their aim is to allow patients and staff to benefit from the latest digital systems and technology. They have supplied video-calling hardware in the form of Facebook Portals for use by our residents.

I’d like to thank you and colleagues at Peverel Court Care for your support and participation in the NHSX Facebook Portal pilot. This support will enable us to test how effectively the Portal device can help to connect care home residents with family and friends at this challenging time.

Rachel Falconer NHSX – Adult Social Care

 

Virtual tour of Bartlett’s

As part of the collaboration with NHSX, we recently hosted a virtual visit to Bartlett’s Residential Care Home from Minister for Care Helen Whately MP, who commented:

Thanks @PeverelCourt Care homes – and the staff at Bartlett’s care home particularly – for my virtual visit this morning. So impressed by all I saw, and good to see the @NHSX Facebook trial for #Carehomes in action, helping residents stay in touch with family & friends.

The highlight was speaking to Hilda Duncombe, sprightly at 103, who uses the @NHSX Facebook tech to stay in touch with her family and boost her fundraising for @alzheimerssoc. You are an inspiration Hilda!”

Helen Whately MP (via Twitter)

 

For anyone who wishes to find out more about Hilda’s fundraising, please visit her Just Giving page.

 

Technology for care home management

It’s not just the residents who need to keep in touch with the outside world. The managers of our care homes in Aylesbury, Witney and at our Head Office also need to maintain contact. We’ve been holding our management meetings using Microsoft Teams, allowing us to ensure that we can share best practice between our homes during these unprecedented times.

We have also now implemented the transition to digital care plans for residents. We have also invested in – and will soon be installing – a set of VitalSign Series Temperature-Check Tablets in the entrances to all our homes as part of our infection control measures.

Due to the need for self-isolation of employees to try to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19, we’ve been having to recruit more care staff to ensure the consistent delivery of high-quality care for residents. Technology has come into play here too; we’re using video interviews for recruitment. And when our chosen recruits take up their new posts, we’re utilising e-learning for starters to get them ready for commencing their jobs.

Like our residents, we’re looking forward to the day when we can welcome loved ones back into our homes. In the meantime, the use of technology allows for a reasonable substitute under the circumstances.

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire: Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business, providing personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

Bartletts, Business, Care & Technology, Community, Events, Leadership & Management, Merryfield, Real life, Social Care & Society, Stone House, Tech, Wellbeing

Thinking of You

Thinking of You community campaign - Peverel Court Care

 

It’s at times like this when people want more than ever to spend precious time with family. Yet for the protection of all of our residents and employees, we’ve been forced to make the difficult decision to reduce visits to our homes.

For that reason, we wanted to create an initiative which would allow family, friends and the local community to demonstrate that they’re thinking about our residents and team members.

 

Thinking of You

So today we’re launching our “Thinking of You” campaign. For friends and family, you might be thinking of someone in particular, and your message may have personal meaning for them. For the local community, it could just be a show of appreciation for the hard work and dedication of our amazing team.

Whatever the reason, and whoever it’s for, we want you to document what you’re doing in your day-to-day lives during lockdown. We’d like to see photos, videos and written accounts doing whatever it is you’re doing that’s making you think of the people at Bartlett’s, Merryfield or Stone House.

 

Lockdown Activities

So whether you’re hard at work in the garden, painting, sewing, baking, home schooling or taking part in Joe Wick’s PE lessons, we want to see and hear your stories, which we can share with the residents to brighten their days.

And it’s not just family and friends of our residents and team that we want to respond. We’d love to hear from local school children, community groups and businesses across Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. So if you know of anyone who might like to join in, then please feel free to share.

We’ll share all of your stories with our residents, and the best ones will go on our Facebook page too.

Please send all submissions via email to: social@peverelcourt.co.uk.

Please note: this address will be monitored for the purpose of our Thinking of You campaign only, so for any other enquiries or requests, please go through the usual channels. If the message is for a specific resident or team member, please specify their name in the message. We’re also sending out a newsletter with regular updates during the outbreak, so please note on your email if you’d like to receive the newsletter, and we can add you to our list.

Whether Peverel Court Care are looking after one of your loved ones during this difficult time or not, then please try to help cheer everyone up and let them know that you’re thinking of them.

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire: Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business, providing personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

Bartletts, Best Care Practices, Business, Care & Technology, Care Home Maintenance, Future of Care, Leadership & Management, Merryfield, Stone House, Workforce Intelligence

The importance of feedback

The importance of feedback - Peverel Court Care

 

At Peverel Court Care, we recognise the importance and value of feedback. The three most important pieces of feedback we collate are from our residents, relatives and staff. In this article we explore why the feedback we collect is so important and how it influences the way in which we operate our business.

 

At Peverel Court Care, we have been collecting regular feedback from our residents and their families for some time now; and the data we have gathered has influenced a number of decisions that we have made for the business.

However, one key group from which we haven’t been collecting feedback in a regular, formal way up until now is our staff. With the recent introduction of Perkbox Insights, that has changed, and for the better.

 

Perkbox Insights

Perkbox Insights is an employee feedback tool which collects results anonymously and in real-time. It will allow us to gather timely and honest feedback from the teams at Merryfield, Stone House and Bartlett’s. Unlike normal engagement surveys, the platform aims to make sure employees don’t suffer survey fatigue, through making responding to each survey quick and easy. It works by sending just five questions to employees each time a survey is conducted. The questions are carefully chosen from a pool of 100 that have been generated through scientific research.

In response to each of the questions, employees are asked to provide a score for each on a scale of one to five. They are also encouraged to leave written feedback on a chosen area of the company; giving us both qualitative and quantitative insight into employee satisfaction.

 

The Benefits of Feedback

The Peverel Court Care management team hope that by adding additional insight provided from by employees to that already collected from residents and their relatives, we will have a 360 degree view from which to make data-driven business decisions. Like many businesses, it sometimes longer than we’d like for exceptional efforts by employees, or day-to-day problems, to come to our attention; and it has hoped that the introduction of the Insights programme will give us greater visibility.

So from process improvement to celebrating success, regular feedback from as many of the people at the heart of our business can only help us further improve the way Peverel Court Care is operated and managed.

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire: Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business, providing personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

Business, Care Home Recruitment, Leadership & Management, Social Care & Society, Social Care Strategy, Stone House, Training & Development, Workforce Development

Interview: Beverley Webb, Assistant Practitioner in Healthcare

Beverley Webb - Level 5 Diploma for Assistant Practitioners in Healthcare graduate - Stone House Nursing Home, Aylesbury - Peverel Court Care

 

As we seek to implement the supporting of career pathways for our employees, we thought it a good time to catch up with Beverley Webb, a long-term member of our team and a recent graduate from the Level 5 Diploma for Assistant Practitioners in Healthcare.

 

Beverley has worked at Peverel Court care for 13 years and is our first graduate, having recently completed the Assistant Practitioner in Healthcare Level 5 Diploma. At Peverel Court Care, we’re committed to helping our employees to fulfil their potential by supporting them in career development through the introduction of career pathways. We spoke to Beverley to find out more about her career journey.

 

What were you doing before you joined Peverel Court Care?

I was born in Bebington, on the eastern side of the Wirral Peninsula – I’m a northern lass originally! It’s beautiful there. I had worked for two years at a residential care home near Bolton. Then I moved to the South East, and I was working for a printing company when I decided to return to a care role. I applied to Stone House and my first impression when I came into the grounds was ‘wow, what an amazing house!’. I was overwhelmed due to the size of the home and grounds – I love it. After one month I was offered a full-time position (I’d started as part-time). Within one year I was promoted to Senior Healthcare Assistant, then offered Head of Care after another 6 months. Now I’m the Senior Care Lead.

 

How does working for Peverel Court Care differ from your previous experience and expectations?

At the previous home I had to complete very long shifts. I had no specific dementia training, and it was difficult trying to help the residents with that lack of training. When I started in the care sector I didn’t have any real expectations. I didn’t expect to be where I am now. I just wanted to help people. Seeing how the elderly were treated was a big thing; I’m a caring person and don’t like to see people upset. So I want to make a positive difference to people’s lives.

When I was 16 I helped an elderly gentleman who was being harassed by a group of 15 and 16 years old who thought it was fun to intimidate an older person. That experience has had a big influence on my career to date. I now want more out of my career and it’s great I can do that at Peverel Court Care and in the care sector.

 

How did you find out about the opportunity to undertake the Assistant Practitioner qualification?

The Registered Manager had mentioned a new Assistant Practitioner qualification. I questioned whether I wanted to commit to studying at this stage of my career, but my RM really supported me. I have never achieved anything before, probably because I was the middle child! I didn’t have great grades at school, so when this opportunity arose I decided to go for it. My brother and sister also really supported me.

I was very excited when I was accepted onto the course, but I don’t think I was prepared for what was ahead. I thought because I have done my NVQ3, I have done my diploma in End of Life Care – I thought it would be a breeze. However, it was a challenging course.

 

How was the process of juggling study with work?

Difficult. It’s been very difficult working full-time whilst studying; I really had to manage my time efficiently . You have to put your family and social events on hold. Going for my treats out, going away for the weekend; they all had to be forgotten about for a little while. Weekends were also taken up by study as 7 hours per week were not enough for me to complete the required work. College was fortnightly from 9 to 4, plus the travel time on top, and then 3 hours study when I got back, and 6 hours on the weekends. I felt tired and became irritated, and I hoped this hadn’t affected the morale of the team around me.

There was so many times I wanted to give up! The sense of achievement and self-belief kept me going. Team members encouraging and supporting me really helped to get me through as well. I was crying with frustration at times due to the challenge of some of the modules. Do I regret doing it? No! It’s been such a great learning curve. I now mentor two colleagues who are also on the Assistant Practitioner course: I offer support and bring in my old text books for them. If it wasn’t for the excellent support network I may have quit or failed. You need people around you to guide you and listen, who don’t get frustrated.

 

How has the chance to take the Assistant Practitioner Diploma had an impact on your life?

In terms of work, it has provided me a different philosophy of healthcare; a better and different perspective of care. The Assistant Practitioner Diploma has given me the tools to examine the behaviours of people and their psychology, and to look deeper into why people say what they do. Everyone has a life story, so I look at things differently now. What are people really going through and do they need to have a chat? Also, with End of Life care, the training has made me consider whether we really take into consideration the carers; how do they feel? It’s made me think about how I work and how I see people.

One specific example of something new that I’ve learnt relates to communication with relatives and residents. In particular, about involving the resident more. Just because a resident has dementia, it doesn’t mean they cannot make decisions. It’s important to have their views, and also their relatives’ input and opinions. I think we sometimes forget that having a resident in a care setting has an effect on their relatives. I’ve had relatives crying because they feel guilty. It’s important we communicate well and inform them of the benefits of being in a professional care environment.

In the future I would like to explore some type of management role within the group,  working alongside the managers. I enjoy mentoring, helping new starters, and now with my skills, working closer with the Registered Nurses. 

In terms of my personal life, I’m a lot happier now that I have graduated, but I get bored with all the spare time instead! I feel a lot happier in myself though – me and my husband went out to celebrate! After all, for the last two years I have been studying.

 

How do you feel about having been given this opportunity?

It’s very good to have opportunities for professional and personal development; it boosts your self esteem and gives you such a great sense of achievement. To have this opportunity has been amazing, and I want to say a big thank you to Peverel Court Care for providing me with the chance to take the Assistant Practitioner course, I really appreciate it! It’s great for people that want to further their career prospects. If it wasn’t for PCC and their continued investment in their staff I would not be able to progress my career in the same way.

 

What do you think of Peverel Court Care as an employer and would you recommend them to your friends, family or other people considering a career in care?

This company is fantastic! It’s just lovely; the homely environment, the good atmosphere, and the relatives’ feedback is amazing. I have a real sense of pride in the relatives and residents excellent feedback.

I do recommend Peverel Court Care on social media, I always promote them! I would recommend that if anyone wants to give back something to society, working for PCC would be a great decision. You have to want to work in care and be passionate about it, but if you are, then it’s very rewarding. It’s about holding people’s hands and having empathy; you need all that and more. If you do, then it’s so rewarding, and you can go home with a sense of achievement. You’ve changed someone’s ordinary day into a great one. They may wake up unhappy but at the end of the day they are laughing and joking. Just to see a smile on their face and holding their hand is enough for me. I love it because I know I am making a difference. It might seem a little difference to some, but to them it’s a big difference.

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire: Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business, providing personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

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