28 April 2021
Top ten tips on being outstanding
Susan Cruse is the General Manager of Admiral Court, our care home in Leigh-on-Sea. The home, which was shortlisted for ‘Best Dementia Team’ at the National Dementia Care Awards last year is rated outstanding in four out of five domains by the Care Quality Commission. This prestigious outstanding rating is also held by two more of our care homes, Anisha Grange in Billericay and Kew House in Wimbledon. Susan, who has been in the care industry for 23 years shares with us her ten top tips on being outstanding.
- Support residents to live their best life
Our CQC report says that our team ‘understood the needs of each individual person and often went the extra mile to ensure people lived their best lives.’
We support residents to live a life they love. We have a dedicated lifestyles team that create fun activities with residents’ input. During the pandemic, we have been unable to take part in larger group activities, so our lifestyles team have worked with residents to create tailored one to one activities based on residents’ interests.
We pair residents with team members with similar interests, which gives them the opportunity to talk about the things they love and enjoy, with shared passion. This has been key during the pandemic, as these team members have provided comfort when relatives were unable to visit.
- Involve residents with the running of the home
We recognise that we work in the environment the residents live in, and therefore, we support them to be a part of the everyday running of the home. Residents are given the opportunity to interview prospective team members, make decisions on refurbishments and take part in regular residents’ meetings to give the team feedback. They are also influential in helping the kitchen team create the weekly menu and work alongside the lifestyles team to create the weekly activities planner.
- Take the time to create person-centred care planning
When a resident first moves in, they are supported to fill in an ‘about me’ book. This includes information about their likes and dislikes and their life history. This gives team members an insight into the types of activities residents might enjoy and also creates conversation starters between residents and team members.
All care plans are created alongside the residents and their families, and decisions are made with the residents’ best interest at the forefront.
- Create a comfortable, homely and safe environment
Outstanding care starts with the environment we create. In 2019, we unveiled a £450,000 refurbishment which included the addition of a farmhouse kitchen to encourage residents to get more involved at mealtimes, an indoor potting shed, and an upgraded café, hairdressers, therapy room and pub. The cinema room also had an extensive refurbishment with the introduction of a £22,000 audio-visual package. This stimulating environment enables residents to feel at home whilst also giving them a luxury five-star feel.
We have recently created a namaste room in the home, which is an intensive sensory stimulation environment for those living with dementia. This room allows us to provide a stimulating and safe environment where residents can use all five of their senses: taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing.
- Be a part of your local community
Our community is an extension of our Admiral Court Care Home family. We work with multiple organisations which benefit both the community and the residents. We are part of The Together Project, where parents in the local area bring their children in to interact with the residents to boost wellbeing, reduce loneliness and foster a stronger, happier community. We are also part of multiple pen pal groups which have been instrumental during the pandemic to combat social isolation and support residents to still feel part of the outside world.
- Encourage the team to learn new skills
We provide our team with in-depth inductions and continuous training throughout their career. We believe that empowering team members gives them the ability to be the best version of themselves. We have also multi-trained many of our team members to allow flexible working within the home where if needs be, our team members can fill the shoes of those in other departments.
We have a strong, skilled leadership team and this passion transcends to team members across the home, from housekeeping to care. Providing ongoing support to our team members had led to good team member retention at the home, which contributed to our outstanding rating.
- Don’t be afraid to try new things
If you never try, you’ll never know if something new can work. We started a pyjama project at the home where the night care team wear pyjamas to remind residents with dementia, who get disorientated, that it is bedtime, which has proven successful amongst our residents.
Hallmark was also one of the first care home groups in the UK to pilot the Montessori approach to dementia care, which Admiral Court was privileged to be a part of. Montessori uses a strengths-based approach in that it focuses on what people CAN do rather than what they can’t and It’s about preparing the environment and tailoring activities to ensure the person succeeds, not fails.
- Share the same vision
Our vision at Hallmark Care Homes is to be recognised as the leading provider of high-quality, relationship-centred care for all and this is supported by our charter. Our charter is a statement about how we, as a business, operate on a daily basis. Within our Charter, Hallmark’s timeless values; ‘integrity’, ‘quality’ ‘innovation’ and ‘relationships’ are communicated. The Charter is instilled throughout the organisation and Admiral Court and seeks to positively influence the behaviour of our team members. This joint vision enables our team members to work towards the same goal. A unified team is what makes for an outstanding workforce.
- Lead by example
Being the General Manager of an outstanding care home is an honour and a privilege and I love to support our amazing team. I have an open-door policy and once a week on a Thursday afternoon, I shut the laptop and welcome team members to come and see me to air any concerns, discuss new ideas or just have a chat to get to know them better. This communication enables team members to think outside the box, be innovative and feel supported.
- Make it happen!
Our outstanding rating would never have been achievable without a whole-home approach focused on achieving one shared goal. Every department has to play their part, and the management team are motivated to always be confident, strong and passionate leaders. We encourage creativity, ingenuity and the entrepreneurial spirit and celebrate each milestone as we achieve it. To be outstanding, you must exceed expectations, and we at Admiral Court are so proud to hold this prestigious rating that we worked so hard for.