A specialist care home has seen its recent investment and raft of measures dedicated to improving residents’ lives acknowledged by the CQC with a significantly-improved rating.
Manor Lodge Care Home, a 20-bed home for people with mental health conditions, learning disabilities, dementia and autism, committed to a full review of its provision, after a CQC inspection earlier this year identified multiple breaches of legislation and concerns around safeguarding.
And in only five months, the home – in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside – has raised its rating from Requires Improvement to Good, with inspectors highlighting the “widespread changes…(which have) led to improvements in the quality and safety of the service”.
The new rating, which saw Manor Lodge rated as Good in every headline area, comes after a significant investment project to implement a whole new digital care system, which will take full effect from December 1, and upgrade and refurbish facilities.
Residents have also been given more opportunities to be involved in the running of their home, with some even playing a role in the recruitment of new staff by being part of a second-interview panel and having input into whether potential new residents will be accepted into Manor Lodge.
Paul TM Smith, a consultant to Manor Lodge owner Renal Health, has overseen the major overhaul of the home and its practices, policies and procedures, building on his 40 years’ experience of working in care to identify ways to raise standards and improve residents’ lives.
“It was about stripping it back and going back to basics. We talk about a person-centred approach, but we needed to deliver that person-centred approach. We needed to empower our residents and did this in a very holistic way,” he says.
“We looked at how we could give people as much control over their lives as possible so they can live a good life, one where they’re not just filling the hours, but are living a meaningful life. It’s about looking from a human point of view and seeing how we can do the very best for that person.
“Twenty-bed services such as Manor Lodge are something to be cherished; the opportunity for people to be supported in this way to live in the community is fantastic but planning permission is no longer given for homes of this kind above five beds. We must continue these kinds of services, but make sure they are of the highest quality.
“For us to make the improvement we have done in only five months has taken huge efforts from the whole team, many of whom have worked large parts of seven days a week, myself included, but what we want to deliver is the very best home we can for our residents – after all, this is their home, the place they live, so we want it to be a place they can be proud to call home.”
In addition to investment in its facilities – including redecorating residents’ rooms, upgrading the kitchen and living areas and creating a new staff room and learning area – the biggest new introduction into Manor Lodge has been its new Person Centred Software digital care system, which has been in trial among staff for several weeks, ahead of its launch on December 1.
“This along with other supportive on line systems has been a massive change for our staff going from analogue to digital, but they have been fantastic and it has made a huge difference to how we work,” says Paul.
“We will now have a robust digital care planning system in place which ensures everything is recorded in real time. It’s no longer a case of getting to the end of the day and people rushing to update paper records, remembering what had happened at 8am this morning – comments like ‘slept well’ or ‘a good day’ aren’t meaningful, but now we have whole new levels of insight.
“Gone are the days of the huge paper care plans that no-one reads and end up on a shelf – this is a digital icon-based care plan which can be updated and viewed on a device continually and families and relatives have their own areas too.
“While some of our staff have been quite fearful about the digital system as it’s a totally different way of working for them, they have been like sponges and so keen to learn more. It has given them a whole new confidence and reminds them that the work they are doing is so valued.”
Paul is a passionate champion of care workers and is committed to ensuring the team at Manor Lodge feel valued.
“This really is an incredible place, the kind of place where our staff come in on their days off, where they pay for things from their own pockets or purses,” he says.
“This is not an easy job, and people certainly don’t come into care to become millionaires, they do it because they love it and because they care. It is a very, humbling and honourable profession and treating our carers as human beings and not just numbers is not always the norm in this industry, but it should be.
“Our team at Manor Lodge have been very keen to get on board with the changes and make life the best it can be for our residents, and we’ve had plenty of sweat and tears in turning it around, but we have listened to the CQC, we haven’t complained, and have got on with making this a better place. I’m really pleased with what we have achieved so far.”
Chroma expands services in two Voyage Care homes
Music and arts therapies will be used to help support the emotional and psychological wellbeing of residents
Arts therapies provider Chroma has extended its contract with social care and support provider, Voyage Care, to deliver creative arts therapy services at two more of its care homes.
Residents at Devonshire House in Manchester and Cedar Road in the West Midlands will receive music therapy (MT), neurologic music therapy (NMT) and art therapy sessions to support their emotional and psychological wellbeing.
During assessment procedures, additional functional needs were identified in some residents, so NMT techniques are also being incorporated to facilitate opportunities to work towards other goals in joint working with speech and language and physiotherapy.
Devonshire House, in Ardwick, Manchester is a 24-bed specialist brain injury rehabilitation service with three wings. Residents are either active rehab, slower stream rehabilitation or long-term stay. Therapists work with all three residential sectors across the three wings.
Cedar Road is a nine-bed residential care home for slower stream, long-stay residents who receive the support they need to enable them to develop and maintain their independence and cognitive skills following a brain injury.
The creative arts therapists use a range of psychological and psychodynamic techniques to support the expression of memories and emotions in ways that do not rely on words. The forming of a therapeutic relationship is key to enabling and empowering individuals to express their emotions, manage overwhelming feelings and to process traumatic memories, safely.
Both individual and group sessions are used depending on the needs of the people supported.
The creative arts therapists also support individuals to meet functional goals through NMT techniques including Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT), which uses rhythmic speech cueing to encourage speech, Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation (RAS) to help improve gait or Therapeutic Instrumental Musical Performance (TIMP) to prepare the body for functional movement.
Louise Houghton, ABI placements manager at Voyage Care, said: “Voyage Care is centred on social rehabilitation. The impact of loneliness and poor mental health, for care home residents, has been highlighted throughout the pandemic, which is why we are extremely happy to be able to provide these services within the already well-established multidisciplinary team and look forward to the positive impact we know it will make to our residents and their emotional needs.”
Chroma’s neurologic music therapist Claire Maddocks and art therapist, Jackie McVey, will deliver one-to-one sessions as well as support speech and language and physio therapists.
Claire said: “It’s exciting to have two arts therapy modalities in Voyage Care homes, and being able to incorporate them early on in a new home alongside the multidisciplinary team. It demonstrates the acknowledgement of the importance of arts therapies and the significant role they play in providing emotional and psychological support.”
Jackie said: “It is commonplace, in residential care homes, for long-term residents to experience loneliness to some degree and it’s important we do as much as we can to help reduce such incidences.
“Group therapy has proven itself a great way to promote interaction with others. We have previously delivered group music therapy sessions at Lorenzo Drive to help tackle loneliness, which was a resounding success so I have every confidence this art therapy group will too.”
Alongside one-to-one art therapy sessions, Jackie plans to create group sessions focusing on social interaction and social skills.
Since the arts therapies services began in September 2021, attendance to weekly sessions has remained consistently high, reflecting the positive impact sessions are having upon residents’ lives, both emotionally and psychologically.
Exemplar Health Care opens latest specialist care home
The complex needs care home in Pontefract also has a dedicated neuro-disability unit
Exemplar Health Care, a provider of specialist nursing care for adults living with complex needs, has officially opened its £3.4million state-of-the-art specialist care home in Pontefract.
Bennett Court, based on Ash Grove in South Elmsall, will be Exemplar Health Care’s sixth home in West Yorkshire.
The home supports up to 30 people and specialisea in supporting adults living with complex mental health needs, neuro-disabilities, brain injuries, spinal injuries and complex dementia.
Bennett Court has the expertise and facilities to support some of the most complex and acute individuals, who would often be in a hospital setting if not placed with them, enabling them to stay in the community and reducing hospital and secure facility admission.
Specialist nursing care for adults living with neuro-disabilities
Bennett Court has the facilities to provide specialist nursing care for people living with neuro-disabilities or neurodegenerative disorders.
The home has 30 large bedrooms, each with an en-suite, across three ten-bed units. All three units have the provision for bariatric care.
This small group living provides a homely and supportive environment, which is more responsive to people’s needs.
Lily Unit is a dedicated unit for those living with dementia.
And the home’s Poppy Unit is a male-only environment which supports up to ten adults living with complex health needs and mixed diagnoses, including neuro-disabilities, brain injuries, physical disabilities and those who have tracheostomies, ventilators and PEG feeds.
Being on the ground floor and with garden access rooms, Poppy Unit is ideal for those living with a neuro-disability.
Other facilities at Bennett Court
Bennett Court has communal dining and living spaces as well as a cafe, therapy room, salon and large accessible garden.
The home hosts a restaurant-style dining menu which is developed with service users at quarterly Food Forums.
This ensures that menus are varied, interesting and available to everyone, taking into account personal preferences, condition-specific and religious dietary requirements.
“It is extremely rewarding to be able to support 30 local people with complex health needs”
Speaking about the opening, Helen Lawson, Commissioning Home Director for Bennett Court, said: “I’m thrilled to have opened Exemplar Health Care’s newest home in West Yorkshire.
“This community-based home will provide person-centered care and rehabilitation that focuses on maximising independence, building everyday living skills, and empowering people to live as fulfilled lives as possible.
“It’s extremely rewarding to be able to support 30 local people with complex health needs, and to provide over 150 stable and local jobs for those wanting to be part of a new team where you can make a difference and every day better.”