Each month we profile a care provider who has achieved an Outstanding rating with the Care Quality Commission and find out what they think it takes to be truly Outstanding. This month we Nikki Trewern, Home Manager at Bupa’s Queensmount, tells us how she has achieved Outstanding.
As care home managers, we should always be asking ourselves ‘what can we do better?’.
It’s something we often ask at Bupa Queensmount and I’m pleased to say it’s paid off. Earlier this year we became one of only four nursing homes in England to be rated as ‘Outstanding’ in all areas by the CQC.
In addition to constantly challenging ourselves to do better, here are some of the key areas that helped us reach success.
Outstanding services work for everyone
Activities are one of the key things that help set Outstanding services apart from the rest.
All homes should understand the value of keeping our residents physically and mentally active, and good homes will go beyond this to tailoring activities to meet residents’ personal interests. To take it to the next level though, you need to make sure that activities are being designed with all residents in mind.
The CQC are quite rightly looking out for this, and so are quick to praise examples when they see it in action.
For example, our CQC report includes details of our pancake day celebrations. Knowing that some of our residents don’t have the strength that they used to, we bought lightweight frying pans so everyone could flip their own pancakes. It was a small gesture but made a huge difference. One resident told us just how much it meant, as she never expected she’d be able to cook again.
Elsewhere we have to consider residents with less mobility. Just because someone’s cared for in bed doesn’t mean they should miss out on the fun, so think about the ways you can get activities to them.
For example, our team created a mobile garden which can be wheeled from room to room, so green-fingered residents can still care for the plants. Elsewhere, we recently had circus entertainers visit the home so made sure that they visited residents in their rooms.
Share the responsibility
As a leader, it’s up to you to empower others in the team. Recognise the strengths of your colleagues and, where appropriate, let them take on responsibility for these.
At our home we’ve introduced ‘champion’ roles, where colleagues take accountability for driving compliance and best practice in areas like infection control, medication management and end of life care. Not only has this helped motivate colleagues, but it’s also driven tangible improvements at the home.
On the flipside, I’m a firm believe that you should never ask someone to do something that you wouldn’t be happy doing yourself.
I’ve spent my whole life working in care and nursing, so it’s easy for me to roll up my sleeves and help. Even if you’re not from a clinical background, show willing and muck in where you can. It’s great for team building and more importantly will help deliver the best outcomes for residents.
Let’s be honest, nobody likes paperwork. All the same, it has to be done – so why not benefit from the results? Analysis data is essential for spotting trends, driving improvements, and addressing issues before they become serious.
For example, after we noticed a small increase in hospital admissions, we looked through our stats to see what was behind these. As a result, we made some simple changes to our infection prevention measures which drove admissions back down.
Elsewhere, after reviewing resident data we were able to see that a few residents were showing the early signs of weight loss. As a result, we introduced ‘snack stations’ at the home, which helped people maintain a healthy weight.
These are just some examples of the things we do that helped us reach Outstanding, and I’m always keen to read other people’s suggestions. Whatever routes you take though, remember it’s an on-going process – so keep moving forward and striving for better.