Best Care Practices, Business, Care & Technology, Care Home Recruitment, Community, Leadership & Management, Real life, Tech, Wellbeing

24/7 GP access for our staff

24/7 online GP service for staff at Peverel Court Care

 

With a recent study revealing that NHS patients are now waiting on average nearly 15 days to see a GP for a routine appointment, we examine how we’re helping our staff with their own health needs.

 

Access to GPs has seldom made more headlines than it has of late. A report published on the Pulse – considered the leading publication for GPs in the UK – highlighted that in a recent survey, over 20% of the 900 GPs who responded said that their patients faced an average wait for a routine appointment of over three weeks. More than one in 20 stated it was more than four weeks.

Another story from Pulse earlier this year focused on the fact GP surgeries across the UK have been shutting their doors in record numbers. In 2018, 138 surgeries closed, compared with just 18 in 2013. Much of this is believed to be the result of underfunding, although leading fugures in the sector have complained that GPs are overworked and stressed, leading more to exit the profession or reduce their hours.

More recently, a study by the University of Manchester found that GP partners’ income had decreased by around 10% in real terms over the period from 2008 to 2017.  This has come against the backdrop of GP workloads increasing by around 20% over the same period. Taken together, it is believed that this “may have contributed to current recruitment and retention problems”. 

 

The expert view

Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, was quoted as saying: 

Our patients should be able to see a GP when they need to – and the fact that this is becoming increasingly difficult is frustrating for GPs and their teams, just as we know it is for patients. People are waiting too long for routine appointments, and the concern is that non-serious conditions might deteriorate, or patients give up trying to see the GP and we miss signs of serious illness early, when it could be dealt with simply and more cost effectively in primary care.

All of this comes in the wake of the 2015 election pledge by the Government to add an additional 5000 GPs by 2020; a pledge which they are struggling to meet. However, this promise was questioned by many, including Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the BMA’s GPs committee, who said at the time:

Delivering 5,000 extra GPs in five years, when training a GP takes 10 years, was a practical impossibility that was never going to be achieved. It was a pledge that also ignored the fact that one third of GPs are planning to retire by 2020, and the current medical graduates do not want to join an overworked, underfunded service, with more than 400 GP trainee posts left unfilled last year.

 

Our solution to the GP access problem

Given the challenges faced by both the GPs and their patients, it’s hardly surprising that juggling a working day with the sparse availability of appointments has never been more difficult for patients; and in particular those who are shift workers – like many of our staff.

That’s why, at Peverel Court Care we have invested in a service which provides 24/7 online access to a GP for our staff. Whilst we appreciate that for certain conditions, a visit to the local surgery may still be required, we hope that the online service we’ve provided can, for many, give them an alternative to the lengthy NHS waiting times.

We recognise the fantastic work that our team do in providing first rate levels of care for our residents. So we believe that it’s only right and proper to do all we can to help them maintain their own health and wellbeing. Therefore, the introduction of the GP service is just one of many recruitment and retention initiatives we have in store to help our staff realise how valued they are by the Peverel Court Care management team. We hope that these small gestures of our appreciation can help make their work-life balance that little bit easier.

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. 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 Management, Community, Future of Care, Leadership & Management, Merryfield, Real life, Social Care & Society, Social Care Strategy, Stone House, Wellbeing

Developing our new company values

Developing our new company values at Peverel Court Care

 

Constructing an idealised set of values for your business and its staff to uphold is one thing; but successfully embedding that in the DNA of the organisation is another entirely.

 
In a 2007 Bain & Company survey, global business leaders confirmed their belief that organisational culture was as important as corporate strategy in realising business success.

Organisational culture is the business equivalent of the personality of an individual. It can have a strong impact on the behaviour of its employees by facilitating a collective commitment to what the company stands for.

By establishing a singular organisational identity a business can help employees in understanding their own role and surroundings. It can also help communicate expectations regarding how their conduct affects the wider perception of the company they work for.

One of the key components of company culture are its values, which we believe to be the set of guiding principles and fundamental beliefs that help a group of people function together as a team and work towards a common goal. Company values fall into two categories: espoused values, such as those communicated by management, and enacted values, i.e. those actually displayed by employees. Therefore, to successfully embed new values into a company, the values displayed by staff need to be brought in line with those publicised by the business.

 

Creating new company values

At Peverel Court Care, we not only appreciate the hard work and dedication of our staff in delivering first class care provision to residents at our elderly care homes in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire; we also respect their loyalty and commitment to our business. Therefore, rather than seek to impose values on them, we consulted with our passionate team to find out how they wanted our business to be viewed by others.

To achieve this, we invited our staff to complete a core values survey. They were provided the opportunity to rank a shortlist of suggested core values in the order which they each felt was the closest match to the company they wanted us to be. In addition, we also offered an open question for our staff to detail what they feel should be the most important core values at Peverel Court Care.

The resulting values are different to those of many other organisations, because they carry real weight. The entire company have been involved in their creation, and they have been discussed and agreed by everyone across the business. This means they have total buy-in from all of the team. Going forward, they will be used in everything we do; including recruitment, onboarding, induction training and appraisals.

Our recognition programme will also be used to congratulate and reward our staff when they are recognised by residents, their families, or peers for outstanding work that align with these values.

 

Our Chosen Values

  • Resident Focus – Commitment to putting our residents first. We develop relationships that make a positive difference in our residents’ lives.
  • Passion – Care about our work and taking pride in what we do. Committed in heart and mind.
  • Integrity – We uphold the highest standards of integrity in all of our actions. Behaving with the highest levels of integrity is fundamental to who we are.
  • Service Quality – We provide an unsurpassed service that delivers exceptional care to our residents and their families.
  • Care For Our Communities – We serve and support a local experience. The unique character of each home is a direct reflection of a community’s people and culture.

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. 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, Care Home Recruitment, Future of Care, Leadership & Management, Social Care Strategy, Training & Development, Wellbeing, Workforce Development

Rewards and Recognition

The importance of rewards and recognition in care businesses

At Peverel Court Care, we fully understand and appreciate the critical role which our staff play in the delivery of outstanding care for our residents at our care homes near Aylesbury and in Oxfordshire.

Without our dedicated team, we simply could not deliver the levels of care service excellence which our residents and their families have come to expect of us.

As such, we realise that not only is recruiting the best available people to fulfil these roles important; but that training and retaining great members of staff helps us to deliver high levels of consistent care to our residents over the long-term.

 

Recruitment and retention: a challenge across the care sector

 

Recruitment and retention is not just a challenge we face at Peverel Court Care, but is reflected across the care sector as a whole. Skills for Care reported that for staff: “turnover rate is around 20% for adult social care; compared to 15% nationally across all sectors” while “the vacancy rate is 3-4% for adult social care; compared to 2% nationally across all sectors.” They also commented that:

 

Fundamentally, recruiting the right people into adult social care, and ensuring that they stay in the sector, because they feel valued and supported has a positive impact on not only retention and performance but more importantly, standards of care and support and therefore upon the quality of life of people who need these services.

Workplace wellbeing initiatives are currently in higher demand than ever before; with more organisations realising the responsibility they have for the welfare of their employees. In 2018, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reported that 15.4 million working days were lost in the UK due to stress. That same year, mental ill-health was reported to be costing employers more than £42 billion per year. Even at a more granular level, experts like Professor Dame Carol Black suggest workplace wellbeing initiatives can improve productivity “by up to 25%”. These kinds of reports are leading employers to focus heavily on employee wellbeing over the next few years.

Organisations like Thames Water have seen a reduction in illness absence by a massive 76% as a result of its commitment to wellbeing. Similar results published by PwC say the financial benefits of wellness programmes at work include an 18% reduction in staff turnover and a 14% increase in employee satisfaction. Apart from the obvious ROI from fostering a healthier workforce, delivering employee recognition schemes has also been shown to produce higher revenue. Those organisations that invest just 1% of payroll are 79% more likely see better financial results.

 

Peverel Court Care: Our response to recruitment and retention

 

In order to ensure that our staff are being utilised to their optimum, we have recently introduced a new set of career pathways for various roles within the business, including Healthcare Assistants and Registered Nurses, to guarantee that the personal and professional development of our team is constantly on the agenda.

We have also recently delivered a new rewards and recognition programme for staff; designed to identify, celebrate and show our appreciation for the brilliant job that our team do every day.

We do not require much of an excuse to praise our brilliant team. So whether they’re celebrating the completion of a new NVQ qualification, have had a high attendance record, or a landmark “Years of Service” anniversary, we will find a personalised way of saying thanks to them for their hard work. We also have our Employee award, and “Special Praise” rewards, for when the families of residents feedback on someone going “above and beyond” for them.

We have also introduced a central rewards platform for our staff; for smaller, ad hoc benefits, such as reduced price cinema tickets. It also features some great additional benefits, such as the Employee Support Hub phone line, which we have introduced as part of Mental Health Awareness Week 2019, so that our staff can have access to 24/7 in-the-moment support from qualified therapists, to help them work through any emotional, family or legal issues. Just as a regular reminder that we recognise the great job they do for us.

Laura Kane, part of our team at Bartlett’s Residential Care Home, commented on our new rewards platform:

 

I find Perkbox really beneficial! I’ve used it for numerous things already; varying from a free drink at Café Nero to cheaper airport parking when I have booked upcoming holidays. It’s even helped me save money when I’ve bought things online from ASOS (and there’s nothing better than getting the clothes you want at a cheaper price). The app is super easy to use and has everything you could think of. I’m very happy with the platform and it’s a great employee rewards scheme.

We know that our residents and their families truly appreciate the exceptional level of care they receive at Bartlett’s, Stone House and Merryfield, and we want to pass that appreciation on to our team, so that they feel motivated to carry on doing what they’re doing so well.

 

About Peverel Court Care

 

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. 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, Care Home Maintenance, Care Management, Dementia, Landscaping and Dementia, Merryfield, Real life, Stone House, Wellbeing

Spring has sprung

Enjoying the gardens during spring 2019 at Peverel Court Care

 

The arrival of spring and the benefits to our residents

 

With the recent spell of lovely warm weather, our residents have been taking the opportunity to get outside and explore the newly landscaped gardens of our homes.

At Peverel Court Care, we understand that creating and delivering individual care plans and maintaining a focus on resident well-being is a key part of the service we deliver, and providing time outdoors forms an intrinsic part of that.

Therefore, with the arrival of spring, it has been the perfect time for our residents to get outside to enjoy the warmth of the spring sunshine, to take in the fresh air, and to explore the new sights and smells of the plants and flowers in our idyllic grounds.

Even for those residents who aren’t so keen to get outside exploring, the natural light that pours into the rooms on our new wing provides them with similar benefits.

 

Benefits to resident health

 

But there’s more to getting our residents to spend time outdoors than meets the eye. In fact, there have been numerous rigorous scientific studies conducted, which have all concluded that there are a multitude of benefits for elderly care home residents when they get to enjoy time in an outdoor space.

Spending time out in the grounds allows them to get exercise in the fresh air. And particularly for elderly residents, research has shown that those who enjoyed as little as 10 or 15 minutes of activity a day, saw a significant improvement in their health. Furthermore, walking outdoors has been shown to reduce levels of stress, and to increase sociability, communication and self esteem, while there is also evidence that it can help to reduce cognitive decline.

Exposure to both daylight and sunlight while outdoors is also important; as sunlight provides us with Vitamin D, which is essential for building strong bones and muscle, while sunlight helps with regulating our body clock. So our residents don’t need to get too adventurous; even just having a cup of tea and a natter out in the garden has added benefits.

 

Enjoying spring flowers in the gardens at Peverel Court Care

 

Peverel Court Care – our idyllic settings

 

Part of what makes the experience of living at one of Peverel Court Care’s three care homes in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire so special for our residents is the unique setting and location of each home. A perfect example is that of Bartlett’s, our Residential Care Home, which is set in over 18 acres of private tranquil parkland with exceptional views of The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

As our homes are all set within such charming grounds, and because spending time outdoors offers such proven benefits to our residents, it’s not surprising that the arrival of spring this year has once again been greeted with smiles by our residents.

 

Taking a walk outdoors to enjoy spring sunshine at Peverel Court Care

Community, Wellbeing

Intergenerational Days Are A Huge Success At Peverel Court Care

It all started as an experiment in Wales. Filmed for a TV programme, elderly people and children were brought together so that experts could analyse the mental health benefits for both, which it turns out were copious. Evidence suggests that intergenerational socialising increases confidence and improves language skills in children and improves the mood of elderly people.

At the same time plans were being completed to open the first nursery in Britain that shares its site with a nursing home. It opened in London in September. Bringing children and elderly people together is the latest trend in forward-thinking care provision for both.

Based on these successes, we’ve already started bringing local children and our residents together for a series of intergenerational days. We hosted one intergenerational day in August and another in November, bringing children from local Stone School to our premises to spend time with our residents and staff. We also invited the children and grandchildren of some our residents to participate in the day, which involved several games of balloon tennis, Snakes and Ladders and Fetch The Ducks. The day was a resounding success, and it will certainly be something we’ll be carrying on into the future.

The effect of the initial TV experiment and the resulting actions were so good that there are calls across the country to integrate child and elderly care permanently.We will keep an eye on how this develops over the next few years. We are and always will be about providing the best possible elderly care we can. This is our specialist area and it’s what we are good at. But if we know that something as achievable as bringing younger people onto the premises can have such a great impact on those we’re providing care for, then, of course, we will go out of our way to do it.

Our intergenerational days are part of Peverel Court Care’s ongoing commitment to offering effective care that increases the quality of life and is based on the best available evidence. Since we’re aware that there are so many benefits for our residents when they spend time with the younger generation, this is certainly something we’ll be looking to make a staple part of the provision of our care, available for any of our residents to take part in if they wish to.

And, let’s face it, it’s nice to see younger and older people coming together to make each other happy and spend quality time with one another. Perhaps these types of activities will tear down generational boundaries and pull everyone closer together.

Bartletts, Property Development, Wellbeing

We’re Proud to Present Our Brand New Hambledon Wing

On 6th October this year, we are proud to be opening our new Hambledon Wing. This brand new area of Bartlett’s Residential Care Home is the result of years of planning and hard work.

The Hambledon Wing will make room for twelve new residents in our newly designed suites and although we can’t wait to provide high-quality care to even more people, the new area is about much more than that. Research by Age UK has revealed that those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia ranked being provided with opportunities to take part in ordinary, everyday activities almost as highly as they did receiving a quicker diagnosis and getting the right support. That’s why we altered our original plans, which had room for fourteen new residents, and changed the use of the space we would have used for those additional suites into recreational areas.

The Hambledon Wing boasts a cinema room, library, private dining facility, assisted bathing facility and reception room.

It will also lead into a brand new dementia-friendly garden which has been specifically designed with continuous paths to ensure residents always return to their starting point.With a transition from inside to outside that’s easy on the eye, our residents suffering from dementia can easily access and enjoy it without cause for concern.

The new garden isn’t the only element of the new wing that took meticulous thought and planning. We wanted to make sure that our new wing improved the lives of everyone we give care and support to. Our cinema room was decided upon because research shows that movies significantly improve quality of life for older people, especially those with dementia, and our library was decided upon because research has indicated that libraries in a care home contribute to improved mood and memory. (Can we provide some links, reference to the research about movies and books)

The new Hambledon Wing is our next step towards the highest quality care possible. We know it will have a hugely positive impact on the quality of life of our residents. We look forward to our new residents moving in and to the many happy memories that will be created.

Advice for Choosing Care, Care & Technology, Wellbeing

Cinema Club – How We Are Meeting The Need

When Age UK asked older people with dementia what would improve their quality of life, the answers were relatively surprising.

There were some obvious ones of course, such as a quicker diagnosis and more support, but the emphasis was just as high on providing them with opportunities to take part in activities with the people that that they love. Activities they were always able to participate in easily before.

We know the importance of this at Peverel Court Care. We invest a lot of time and effort into creating activities and events that our residents can enjoy with their families. Our Annual Summer Party is an occasion enjoyed by all, and we regularly take our residents and their families into the local community – sometimes to watch films at the local cinema.

When we decided to expand Bartlett’s Residential Care Home, we saw this as the perfect opportunity to provide even more opportunity for good times, and we are doing this in a particularly special way. Since our residents enjoy watching films and visiting the cinema so much, we are building a dedicated cinema room on our premises.

Films are a glorious thing. They can be funny, entertaining or nostalgic. They have the capacity to improve the mood of a person – to leave a lasting impression or alter the way someone thinks or feels.

For people with dementia they are even more special. When people have lost some of their short-term memory, it’s important that they have the chance to revisit the old times. Whether that’s through watching films they remember they loved or revisiting eras they recall from when they were younger, we want to be able to offer this to our residents.

Families are welcome too, of course. There aren’t many people who don’t count visiting the cinema or watching movies amongst their hobbies. The local community and family members will be invited to special screenings in our cinema, and our residents will be allowed to choose which films we show. We hope that this will significantly enhance the quality of life those we give care and support to.

Our cinema is set to open in October and we can’t wait. There’ll be a theme to the evening, which we haven’t decided on yet. If you have any ideas, we would love to hear them. You can share them with us by emailing info@bartlettscare.co.uk. We look forward to hearing your suggestions and we’ll definitely consider the best ones!

Wellbeing

Group Activities For Elderly People

Group activities are extremely important. There have been many experiments investigating social interaction and they all stress the importance of people being in the presence of others.

Many people worry that moving their loved one into a care home might make that person feel alone, but usually quite the opposite is true. At Peverel Court Care, we go out of our way to make sure that there are many opportunities for our residents to interact with others and form social groups. If you’re looking for ways to bring people together in a group, here are some great ideas for activities suitable for elderly people.

  1. Utilise the skills of your group

Some of our ladies at Peverel Court Care like to knit. We often find they have formed their own knitting groups, sitting together in a corner of our social rooms to partake in their hobby. Find a social activity that several members of your group like to do and encourage them. They may even teach it to people who don’t know how to do it.

  1. Name that song

Music binds us together. Most people love it. Why not bring your group into one space and play ‘Name That Song’? Play the first few notes of a song and see if your residents can guess what it is.

  1. Card making

If there is a special occasion coming up like Christmas or someone’s birthday, why not spend and afternoon making cards? It’s fun and inspires conversation.

  1. Jigsaws

Buy a medium sized jigsaw and spend an afternoon as a group putting it together, or a giant one that remains in your social area over a period of time. Everyone can contribute to building it and, eventually, you can frame it and put it on the wall. You can even buy special puzzles using a photograph of something, like a photograph of your care home, for example.

  1. Trips out

At Peverel Court Care we love to have theatre and cinema nights where possible. We take some of our residents to the local town so that we can all watch a film or show together. They appreciate the change of scenery and the show usually gives everyone something to talk about.

  1. Film nights

Why not let your residents choose a film they want to watch and then put it on in one of your social rooms. Dish out the popcorn and the penny sweets and let the good times roll.

  1. Exercise classes

A number of exercise classes are easy to do. Try something like seated yoga. Exercise is productive and good for mental stimulation. You can hire professionals for a reasonable price to help deliver the sessions.

  1. Meditation

There are hundreds of guided meditation videos on YouTube, and it’s really easy to do. There’s so much emphasis on mindfulness at the moment and it’s important when it comes to relaxation.  Find a quiet corner and allow your residents some designated time to chill out.

  1. Gardening

When the weather is glorious there is no better place to be than in beautiful gardens. Let your residents help you pot plants, make hanging baskets or water flowers if it interests them.

  1. Involve residents with everyday tasks

For some residents it will be really important that they feel as though they still have some control in caring for themselves. They may want to help tidy their own room, or set the table, sort post or fold laundry. Don’t feel guilty about letting residents get involved if they want to.

 

 

Dignity, Wellbeing

Smiles All Round At Our Oral Health Training Week

We’re always looking to improve the care we offer to our residents. In order to be the best, we know that we must continuously learn. We invest in training and development on a regular basis to ensure that our staff can deliver the best possible care.

Oral health is undoubtedly important. A clean and healthy mouth is a vital part of comfort and overall health, so we’re eager to make sure we are getting this right. We want to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to overall oral health. We are proud to receive the Lifelong Smiles accreditation.

Last week, Merryfield Nursing Care Home participated in the Lifelong Smiles Award 2017, which was commissioned by Oxfordshire County Council. This week of training and support informed our staff how they can improve and maintain the oral health of our residents.

The week included games of bingo in which staff, residents and families were awarded healthy snacks, as well as the opportunity to discuss how we can incorporate snacks that are good for oral health into our menus.   There was also a board game with visual aids, where residents had to guess the amount of sugar in various drink bottles.

We’ll be building on the things that we learnt. Almost all of our staff took part in the training, which means we’re clued up on oral health across all departments within the care home. And, since our residents particularly liked the healthy snacks they received as prizes when we played bingo, we’ll be carrying on making these available whenever they’re feeling a bit peckish and updating individual care plans.

We’re sure our residents and their families will remain partial to the odd piece of chocolate, and we’ll be happy to provide it but we feel that this training had an impact on everyone. In the future, we’re sure everyone will make choices that are beneficial for oral health.

Care & Technology, Future of Care, Personalisation, Wellbeing

Technology Is Changing the World For All People Of All Ages

Quite often people in older generations complain about technology. Largely they are perturbed by the overuse of mobile phones and other communicative technologies. Part of a generation that didn’t have such luxuries, they’re concerned by the idea that people can be contacted at all times of the day and night wherever their location. So it’s ironic that this technology actually makes growing older and living away from your family much easier.

At Peverel Court Care we weave technology into our individual care plans. We’ve written before about how we give some of our residents mobile phones so that they can keep in touch with relatives, whilst for others who need additional support we arrange phone calls at a specific time so that our staff can help them connect to their family.

We’ve also written about our use of Immedicare, a system that gives us access to a digital health hub facility and experienced nurses and clinicians covering a range of specialties.

Today we wanted to tell you more about how we use Skype within our care homes to make communication with family members easier.

We’ve set up a dedicated guest network throughout all of our properties, with fibre WiFi available for all residents and their guests. This is useful for residents whose family live far away, or for those who have family or friends who are not particularly mobile themselves. Often it is most useful for those who have family living in other countries.

One of our residents Peter has one daughter who lives in Australia and another who still lives in the UK. Since we set up Skype for Peter, he speaks to his daughter using the system regularly from the other side of the world. Another of our residents, Joan, talks on Skype to her relatives regularly from Canada and Australia. Another resident speaks to her son who lives in Bournemouth on Skype when he can’t travel to visit her.

We’re always looking for new ways to enhance the technological solutions we offer at Peverel Court Care. Just recently we enquired about a piece of technology called Active Protect, which helps protect the hips of elderly individuals. We discovered this whilst researching the global technology conference CES17, looking for the latest technologies to benefit our residents. Next week we’ll be visiting the Design Museum for the New Old exhibition, which explores how designers can make life easier for the elderly.

It is our main purpose to make the lives of our residents happy, easy and comfortable. Technology is a huge part of achieving that objective. We are constantly researching new technologies. Rest assured, we’ll be at the forefront of any new developments, making sure our residents can utilise them in the best way possible.

©2019 Peverel Court Care
all rights reserved