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How to be Outstanding…Royal Star & Garter

Cheryl Harbourne, Home Manager, Royal Star & Garter

Outstanding Teamwork

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 Royal Star & Garter in Solihull who recently achieved Outstanding and were especially praised for their approach to teamwork.

In recent years Royal Star & Garter has won many awards and plaudits for the exceptional care it provides from its Home in Solihull. Since 2017 it has been rated Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), and in 2019 it was awarded the much sought-after Level 1 Accreditation from Dementia Care Matters for a third year running. The Home has also picked up honours at prestigious events, such as the National Dementia Care Awards and Markel 3rd Sector Care Awards.

Royal Star & Garter opened its Solihull Home in 2008. The charity was set up in 1916 to care for severely injured men returning from First World War battlefields. Today, it has Homes in Solihull, Surbiton and High Wycombe providing loving, compassionate care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia. The charity also runs a Day Care service from its Solihull and High Wycombe Homes, and will launch a Home Care provision from Surbiton at the end of 2020.

When Cheryl Harbourne joined as Home Manager in 2015, Royal Star & Garter in Solihull had an overall CQC rating of good. She says engagement with staff and teamwork was vital in the push for Outstanding. “We have a whole-home approach. We got everyone on board working to the same goal. We involved staff from all departments and did it as a team,” said Cheryl. “We keep talking to them and make them constantly feel part of it. We’re not telling them how to be outstanding. We are asking them to show us how to be outstanding, and to show the CQC. The staff own it, and want it as much as we do.”

But a lot of other work goes into making a home Outstanding. Cheryl continued: “It’s very hard to achieve. Everything has to be consistently great and then we have to push it that little bit further. We have to be innovative, we have to think outside the box, and we have to be a little bit different. We involve residents and relatives and ask them what they want. We’re constantly looking at ways to evolve and get better.”

And she encourages her staff to embrace CQC inspections as a chance to show off the great work carried out at the Home. She said: “On inspection days it’s natural to feel some nerves, but we view it as an opportunity to showcase the Home and all the great work that goes on here, all day, every day. Staff are encouraged to come forward and talk to inspectors, to show them the superb work they and their colleagues do, to tell them how special it is here.”

However, Cheryl is well aware that receiving an outstanding rating is not the end of the journey. “Getting outstanding is tough, maintaining it is tougher!” said Cheryl. “We are constantly auditing and checking, looking at areas for further development all the time. We hold meetings, meetings and more meetings. We don’t stagnate, we don’t stand still. You must keep moving forward.”

That desire to constantly get better means Cheryl is targeting more improvements: “In 2017 we were rated Outstanding in three areas and good in the two others. So we’re aiming for five Outstandings in our next CQC report!”

Though she wouldn’t say it herself, Cheryl is a key factor in the Home’s recent successes. Chief Executive Andy Cole said: “Cheryl has developed a great team who provide care with genuine love. Her dedication and drive to provide exceptional person-centred care is shared by everyone at the Home. The Solihull Home deserves all the recognition it receives.”

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