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 feature a Ravenhurst Residential Care Home, part of the Sanctuary Care, who was hailed as ‘outstanding’ in its palliative care earlier this year.
Caring for a person at the end of their life is not something everybody can do.
At such an emotionally difficult time for residents and their families, providing the support needed by both is essential.
That could simply be holding a residents’ hand, giving a family member a hug or being at the end of a phone to provide words of comfort.
At Ravenhurst Residential Care Home in Stourport-on-Severn, which is managed by Sanctuary Care, staff treat residents and their families as if they were their own.
An open door culture exists where families know there will always be someone to talk to.
Jo Butler, Regional Manager at Sanctuary Care, says being able to deliver truly person-centred palliative care comes naturally.
“The staff have built up such a close relationship with the relatives and the residents”, she said. “They’re part of the family and that’s what’s so special; you can’t teach someone to do that, someone’s got to care deeply to be able to automatically do it.”
Ravenhurst has been commended by the Care Quality Commission for its ‘Outstanding’ end of life care.
“I think a lot of the comments relating to the Outstanding rating come from having an established team,” Jo remarked.
Shirley Evans, who is deputy to home manager Andrew Green, commented: “The right thing to do is for all of us as a society to be more open about end of life discussions but it’s still a very hard subject to deal with for many families so we just try to be there as much as we possibly can.
“We are present every step of the way; if the family get emotional we can give them a hug or simply be there to share a cup of tea for as long as they need us. It’s not awkward because we have good relationships with all families and it gives them a great deal of comfort and makes them feel even more supported.
“We do have a great deal of empathy for them and if they ever need us we are here to talk to. Even if it’s just a phone call, they know we’re here and that they can always come to us.”
‘Dignity When Dying’
The Worcestershire home follows a bespoke ‘Dignity when Dying’ programme which caters for the wishes of residents during their final days, and supports families during such a sad and painful time.
It asks questions that many wouldn’t think of, such as which family members a resident wants to be present during their final moments, is there a specific place in which they wish to die and whether a funeral plan is in place.
Shirley explained: “There are a lot of questions that the family might not necessarily think of that they would want to know the answers to.”
Such levels of care need strong relationships and effective communications between residents and families, district nurses, doctors and other medical professionals.
“We’ve got it all here in advance, so we don’t have to be bothering families at that time when they want to cherish the final days with a loved one,” Shirley said.
Bereavement Information Sheet
A bereavement information sheet is also made available to families providing advice and support, as well as details of what happens following the passing of a loved one, how and where to register their death and contact details for support groups outside of the home.
All things that can make such a difference and ease the pressure when it is most required.
Shirley said: “A lot of families still feel that they have to deal with end of life care but we are there to support them so they can spend time with their loved one when they come to the home.”