Bartletts, Community, Landscaping and Dementia, Social Care & Society, Wellbeing

Mental Health Awareness Week 10-16th May 2021

Mental Health Awareness Week 10-16th May 2021 at Peverel Court Care 4

 

The Mental Health Foundation’s Mental Health Awareness Week is taking place from 10th to 16th May 2021, and this year’s theme is nature.

Getting into the spirit of the event, Peverel Court Care have decided to partner with an amazing local mental health charity called Lindengate.

 

The importance of mental health awareness

We know that mental health problems affect millions of us, in our families, communities and workplaces. We all have mental health that will fluctuate in response to life events.

The Mental Health Foundation

With everything that the world has been through over the past year due to COVID, ensuring that everyone is looking after their mental health has never been more important.

At Peverel Court Care, we provide our Employee Assistance Programme, 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. Delivered via the Employee Support Hub, powered by Health Assured, it gives employees access to qualified therapists over the phone or via live chat whenever they want it.

We’re also looking to create a regular collaboration for our care team to access Lindengate’s ‘Healing Pathways’ programme sessions. We feel this will be beneficial to our employees and also aligns with one of our core values – Care for Our Communities.

 

Mental Health Awareness Week 10-16th May 2021 at Peverel Court Care 1

 

Who are Lindengate?

Lindengate Mental Health Charity is located at a stunning 5 acre site in Wendover, Buckinghamshire, where nature breathes new life into anyone needing support with their wellbeing.

The natural beauty and richness of the site help restore and heal, whilst specialist gardening, conservation, construction, cooking and nature based arts and crafts activities provide focus and purpose. Add to this, the community of volunteers and staff who nurture a supportive, inclusive and safe environment and you have a recipe for success.

 

Lindengate’s Healing Pathways Programme

“Using nature to help us understand loss.

Loss will affect us all in different ways, but the common thing to remember is that however we are feeling, is perfectly normal. There is no right way to feel – you will feel how you feel and that is ok.

Sessions for adults take place in small groups, where you can come and take time to think about your loss, in our therapeutic gardens. The garden lends itself to nurturing people, the natural beauty and richness help to restore and heal, with support from a community of volunteers and staff, in a natural environment.

The constancy of the seasons provide some stability when everything else may be crumbling. In the darkest of times, memories of better times – past Winters melting into Spring can sustain us and provide hope – that happy Spring days filled with joy will once again emerge out of the gloom of Winter.”

Healing Pathways
Lindengate

 

Mental Health Awareness Week 10-16th May 2021 at Peverel Court Care 2

 

Getting out into the garden

Our fundraising day will take place on 12th May and will be led by our 104 year old resident Hilda who, along with other residents and employees, will be planting 104 bulbs! You can support Hilda and the other residents raising money for Lindengate via our Virgin Money Giving page here. Hilda is an inspiration and last year helped to raise over £8k for Alzheimer’s Society.

At Peverel Court, we know that access to outdoor space and fresh air can be incredibly powerful. That’s why we have beautifully landscaped gardens at each of our care homes in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, which our residents can enjoy. For example, Bartlett’s Residential Care Home in Stone, near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire is set in over 18 acres of private tranquil parkland with exceptional views of The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

For elderly residents, there has been research which has shown that those who enjoyed as little as 10 or 15 minutes of activity a day, saw a marked improvement in their health. It has also been revealed that walking outdoors has been shown to reduce levels of stress, and to increase sociability, communication and self esteem. There is also evidence that it can help to reduce cognitive decline.

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

 

Hilda – an inspiration to us all

As mentioned, Hilda will be leading our fundraising efforts again, so we wanted to share some of her story; she is a remarkable woman who has lived a fascinating life. Hilda was born during WWI and has many memories of growing up in London with her mother, Daisy, father, Sidney, and sister, Elsie. She enjoyed biology, science and French at school, and her closest friends were her school friends. Hilda enjoyed playing hockey and swimming, and she belonged to a swimming club.

Hilda was in the civil service during the Second World War. She described the war years as ‘gruesome’ and remembers the poverty at that time. She recalls the blitz and the V1’s and V2’s – or doodle bugs. The happiest memory that Hilda has from during the war was when she got married in 1941.

Hilda worked as a civil servant for most of her working life. She had three children; Barbara and Anthony, and a second daughter who sadly died. Hilda’s family lived in Bournemouth and later she lived in Oving, Buckinghamshire. She enjoyed travelling to Germany; the family had a caravan which they used to travel around the continent. Hilda’s favourite past times include gardening and reading – she likes Terry Pratchett’s novels.

 

Mental Health Awareness Week 10-16th May 2021 at Peverel Court Care 3

 

Find out more

Support Hilda with our fundraising: Virgin Money Giving
Lindengate: Find out more
Lindengate’s Healing Pathways Programme – Find out more
Mental Health Awareness Week: Find out more
The Mental Health Foundation: Find out more

 

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.

Bartletts, Best Care Practices, Business, Care & Technology, Care Home Maintenance, Care Home Recruitment, Care Management, Dementia, Design, Future of Care, Landscaping and Dementia, Leadership & Management, Merryfield, Property Development, Real life, Social Care & Society, Social Care Strategy, Stone House, Tech, Wellbeing

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 & 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, 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, 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 figures 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: 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 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: 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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