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 the Gateway, a walkthrough anti-viral mist tunnel, which all employees and visitors pass through when entering and leaving our homes. Additionally, we have installed 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, Care Management, Community, Health and Safety, Leadership & Management, Merryfield, Real life, Safeguarding, Social Care & Society, Social Care Strategy, Stone House, Wellbeing

COVID-19 UPDATE

AN UPDATE ON OUR EFFORTS IN DEALING WITH COVID-19 – 04/05/2020

Life at Peverel Court Care is settling. We feel cautiously optimistic that the greatest challenges are behind us and we can start to turn our attention to the future.

The number of symptomatic cases across the group is now very small indeed, our processes working to help curb any spread, staffing robust and in some cases even healthier as we draw on the larger pool of available candidates.

Whilst we have remained well stocked on PPE throughout, Government offerings on both PPE and testing is now much more plentiful, albeit still not quite ideal but nonetheless cause for encouragement.

We have also been conducting due diligence on several commercially available anti-body tests, with our first clinic being trialled on staff in one Home on May 11th. The Government are also trialling a ‘track and trace’ app in the Isle of Wight which may in time prove very useful for us. All these developments bode well for the future.

The rise, peak and fall in symptomatic residents seems to have lasted just a few weeks and all does now thankfully look reassuringly normal.

Of course this does not mean we will become complacent, indeed there is much to be learnt from recent events. All processes designed to keep us safe are still in place and being practiced wherever necessary. Furthermore we are acutely aware of the need to protect our residents and staff on an ongoing basis, whilst ensuring quality of life, being respectful of the need for practical living and implementing methods that are both sustainable and effective at the same time.

We have secured the services of several products and contractors designed to do just this, a full list of which can be viewed here – ‘additional precautions’.

We appreciate this will have been a particularly anxious time for our families and can only apologise for some of the inconvenient but necessary restrictions. We will await Government guidelines on how the current lockdown will be changed or loosened and will of course act in accordance. We remain incredibly thankful for the patience and support given by all our relatives and their families and will be looking to safely return to some semblance of further normality as soon as possible. We will keep you updated and will hopefully have more information for you by the beginning of next week.

Staying in touch

We appreciate that this may be a difficult time for families unable to be in close personal contact with their loved ones. We will do all we can to keep families informed via our IT platforms and telephone. Please do contact the Home should you wish to, as we remain fully contactable and will do what we can to facilitate regular remote communications, including by video.

Life at home

Albeit visits from the local community and external entertainment are cancelled for the foreseeable future, our team of activities coordinators and carers are doing a great job in ensuring life in our services remains as comfortable and sociable as possible. Please visit our Facebook page for the latest updates on activities in the Home. We of course ensure that vital medical visits are still made whenever required.

Best Care Practices, Care & Technology, Care Management, Future of Care, Leadership & Management, Personalisation, Safeguarding, Social Care Strategy, Tech

Driving Improvement through Technology

The future of Technology and Innovation in social care service provision

Examining how the use of technology in providing care can improve service delivery both now and in the future.

The delivery of adult social care is intrinsically a story of human interaction; but that’s not to say there isn’t a place for greater use of technology to aid service delivery.

While nothing can, or indeed should, replace the wonderful job that our staff do at Bartlett’s, Stone House and Merryfield; innovations in the care sector are delivering technologies that can supplement and help further improve the way we deliver services.

 

Digital Transformation in Care

For a start, we are embracing digital transformation with I.T. platforms that support integrated care. We are migrating to digital care plans, which will provide access to live information; ensuring that staff are kept up-to-date and can make informed decisions to deliver the highest quality of care. With records that are secure, accurate and compliant, evidencing care becomes more manageable, and care management more standardised.

Local Authorities can also benefit from digital care plans; being provided with continuous, easily accessible reporting delivers savings in contract monitoring. Digital platforms will allow Local Authorities to see in real-time the quality of care for each individual they are providing funding for. This will allow a smoother and faster contract monitoring process, providing a money-saving capacity and ability to provide safeguarding oversight.

Peverel Court Care believe the future lies in digital transformation and data intelligence to support better decision-making; allowing us to better predict, optimise and continue to improve care. Integrated care will be vital to both Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire County Councils, and our digital care platform will assist in managing care between providers. However, innovation never stops and new technologies and opportunities are constantly being brought to market for the care sector.

 

View from the CQC

Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) commented:

I am very clear that in exploring technology and innovation we are in no way seeking to substitute the role of our care and support workforce. In fact, I strongly believe that technology can greatly improve the experience for staff as well as people receiving services; enabling them to focus more of their time on doing what they do best – delivering compassionate and person-centred care

 

Care Innovation Final

Peverel Court Care agree that by embracing technological innovation, we can improve not only the service delivery for our residents, but also enhance the working lives of our staff who deliver those high levels of care. We will continue to seek out and explore new technological opportunities in the future, so that we can continue to provide the best possible environment for our residents and valued team.

To this end, this week we attended the Care Innovation final at the Department of Health and Social Care. It was incredibly exciting to see so many young, talented and enthusiastic individuals presenting innovative ideas. Congratulations to all of the finalists who shared their visions for providing exceptional elderly care through the latest technology and innovation.

 

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.

Best Care Practices, Business, CQC Inspection, Health and Safety, Leadership & Management, Personalisation, Safeguarding, Stone House, Training & Development, Workforce Development

The drive to be outstanding

Peverel Court Care’s Stone House nursing home in Buckinghamshire receives overall 'Good' with Outstanding in 'Responsive' in latest CQC inspection

Stone House receives overall ‘Good’ with Outstanding in ‘Responsive’ in latest CQC inspection

Peverel Court Care’s Stone House has received it’s latest glowing inspection report from the CQC, which included an ‘Outstanding’ rating in assessing our ability to be Responsive.

We were also rated as ‘Good’ in the four other assessment categories, which evaluate whether the home is considered by the inspectors to be Safe, Effective, Caring and Well-led.

The overall CQC rating awarded for our Buckinghamshire nursing home was ‘Good’ based on the most recent inspection, which was carried out on 26th February 2019.

Some of the comments from the inspector’s report included:

“Care was exceptionally person-centred and focused on ensuring people with dementia lived as independent lives as possible. The care was designed to ensure people’s maximum independence was encouraged and maintained.”

“People experienced positive outcomes regarding their health and wellbeing. People were supported to have maximum choice and control of their lives and staff supported them in the least restrictive way possible; the policies and systems in the service supported this.”

“Staff received good supervision and training, which provided them with the knowledge and skills to enable them to provide good care. There was a workplace culture that was open and honest. Staff told us they felt supported by the manager and they could speak with them at any time.”

 

Our outstanding Stone House team

 

While the report is indicative of a well-managed and caring environment for residents and staff alike, we’re not resting on our laurels. We will continue to strive for Stone House and the other Peverel Court Care homes in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire to be recognised as ‘Outstanding’ across the board in future reports. Preet Shergill, Associate Director of Peverel Court Care, commented:

 

“We are proud to say that we are surrounded by staff who strive for continuous improvement, innovation and provide exceptional elderly care. The very positive CQC inspection report is testament to the outstanding work of the Stone House team, volunteers and the Buckinghamshire community.”

 

The CQC inspection report follows hot on the heels of our recent “Top Care Home Group” award win at the carehome.co.uk awards (you can read more here), which was based on positive reviews from our residents and their families, including the following from the daughter of one of our Stone House residents:

This care home is amazing. It is run by the manager and the most caring staff, many of whom have been with the company for years. The care they give their residents is second to none and the home provides them with lots of entertainment and you can see the residents enjoying these events. The meals they provide are all prepared fresh every day by the resident chef. The atmosphere when you visit the home is also something, welcoming and lots of laughter all around. A super home and I can thoroughly recommend it.

 

The future for Stone House nursing home, Aylesbury

 

As part of our journey towards ‘Outstanding’ at Stone House, we are implementing a number of upcoming initiatives, including:

  • The introduction of bespoke training and development pathways’ for Healthcare Assistants, Registered Nurses and all other departments of the Peverel Court Care team
  • Rewards and recognition of staff for various achievements and milestones, such as high levels of attendance, attaining NVQ qualifications, referring new staff members, years of service, and the receipt of special praise via relatives
  • New and improved technology infrastructure
  • Non-clinical customer service training for all staff

We believe that by recruiting, developing, rewarding and retaining the best possible staff to deliver care to our residents within the idyllic setting of Stone House, we can continue to improve on the incredible levels of service for which we’re already being recognised.  

The full CQC inspection report can be read here

Safeguarding, Stone House

An inspection report to be proud of

Providing care is serious. Our staff have lives in their hands. Because we’re looking after so many people, and because they are often extremely vulnerable, unable to communicate or raise an alarm, like all registered care and nursing homes, we have to be inspected.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) are the regulating body for care homes in England. It’s their job to visit all registered care homes on a regular basis and compile a comprehensive report, then rate this care home out of four over a series of categories. It’s these ratings that people should use when choosing care for themselves or their loved ones. A great rating should mean a thriving home. A bad one can result in your care home closing down.

We’re delighted to announce that a recent inspection at Stone House Nursing Home rated the care service ‘Good’ over every single category.

What’s nice about these reports is that we don’t just get to see our overall rating, but the report the inspector has written about us as well. This gives us an insight into how the inspector felt when they visited us and, we hope, how the friends and relatives of those we care for must feel as well. We were overwhelmed by the positive comments we received across all of the categories, which investigate if the service is safe, effective, caring, well-led and responsive.

The inspector spoke to our staff, residents and some friends and family who were visiting that day, and we couldn’t believe the final report. It was brimming with positive feedback from everyone.

Our residents

We were delighted by the comments of the people who live with us. After all, they’re who we are doing this for. Residents told inspectors that there was a large range of food and drink on offer and that they enjoyed our dining room. One is reported to have said, “The tables are always set in this beautiful dining room, I feel I’m eating in a special restaurant.”

They also commented on our activities, saying, “We have plenty to keep us occupied here.”

The inspector noted that we have a range of activities planned including quizzes, singing, word games, exercises and themed events, like our summer garden party and a celebration for the Queen’s birthday. When they visited they noted our staff spending time with our residents, and said they could tell our residents were enjoying this interaction.

We do everything we can to make sure those who live with us are happy and it’s wonderful to hear them tell a third party that they enjoy living with us very much.

Our relatives

When people need care, it’s often their relatives sourcing it for them. We know our families love their relatives fiercely. Concerned for their loved ones, they expect nothing but the best and will make sure they are getting it.

So we were happy to hear such positive feedback in the report from families. One said, “We moved here from another care home and the care here is absolutely fantastic and the team are outstanding.”

Another commented, “I visit most days and have absolutely no concerns about how my family member is cared for, the staff are brilliant, kind and caring.”

Our staff

Our staff received wonderful reviews from the residents, their families and from the inspector. People told the CQC that they are treated with dignity by our care workers and that their privacy is respected. A resident said, “All the staff here are so kind and nothing is too much trouble.”

We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the staff working at Stone House Nursing Home for their incredible teamwork. The excellent results of this report would not be possible without them. We would also like to thank the residents and their families who made such humbling comments. We are immensely proud to be so highly rated and we sincerely enjoyed reading that you like spending time here with us as much as we enjoy having you all around.

Merryfield, Safeguarding

Merryfield House Nursing Home receives excellent review

We’re delighted to announce that Merryfield Nursing Home has received an excellent review of our services after an inspection by Oxfordshire County Council.

The Monitoring Officer, who uses a traffic light system to rate care homes in the area on the quality of the services provided, marked Merryfield House as green, the best possible, across every single one of their monitored categories. These include ‘Safeguarding’, ‘Leadership and Management’ and ‘Health and Safety’.

Though it’s vital that we are performing well under every single category, we were most pleased at the comments we received about the personalisation of our care.

At Peverel Court Care, we recognise that every one of the people we care for is different. Whilst some of them like to be social and join in activities, others do not. Some like to watch TV in communal rooms, others like to read quietly in their bedrooms or watch their television in private. This means that people should not be receiving the exact same care package, because to give the best care we should be tailoring their care to their own personal preferences.

We work hard in all of our care homes to make sure that our staff recognise the importance of personalisation for all of our residents. It’s something that we promote from the induction of new staff, and that everyone must take responsibility for – from frontline care staff up through to management. For example, if someone we care for has a nickname they prefer, we expect everyone who works in our home to address this resident by their chosen name. These little touches mean the world to people. Nobody wants to feel like a number.

We were happy to see that Oxfordshire County Council recognised the work we put into personalisation. They noted our ‘My Story’ documents, which contain detailed information about our residents and their childhood, their social interests and religious beliefs – even their preferred appearance. This information helps us to make sure our residents are living their lives as they would want to if they were in their own homes. Where possible, we accommodate everyone’s wishes. For example, if we know a lady likes having her hair cut in a certain way, but she reaches a point where she can’t communicate this as well because of dementia or Alzheimer’s, we can refer to these notes and make sure the lady is happy.

On the day the Monitoring Officer from Oxfordshire County Council attended Merryfield House, our Activities Coordinator was taking part in a morning activity of reminiscence with some of our residents. This involves selecting props personal to individuals and their past, then discussing these items in a group. This exercise is a great stimulation for our residents, who enjoy telling each other tales from their past as much as they enjoy listening to one another. The Monitoring Officer was moved enough by this activity to mention it in her report.

Operating a safe and comfortable care home takes a lot of work from lots of people. The lives of individuals are in our hands. Allowing officials into our grounds is a scary but exhilarating experience. For us, it’s a chance to show the officials the excellent care that we are providing, as well as the happiness of our residents and our staff.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the management and staff of Merryfield House Nursing Home for their outstanding work.

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