The Close Care Home: The Wishes of Residents
"It’s fair to say that recruitment is really tough at the moment, and we continue to think about different ways that we can attract good quality staff who share our person-centred philosophy about the delivery of care."
Since becoming established in Burcot in 1989, The Close Care Home has helped thousands of people and their loved ones to enjoy fulfilled lives, packed with dignity and choice.
It’s a small, family-run business that’s focussed on the wishes of their residents. OX Magazine spoke to Steve Reader, clinical manager for the Dorchester and Clifton wings, about recruiting the best staff, their respite service, and fulfilling the wishes of residents.
You have a positive approach to helping your residents achieve their dreams, aspirations and maintaining social contact. How do you manage to do this?
We call this enablement – a ‘can do’ attitude. If our residents express a wish to do something then we will do our best to make it happen. Maintaining a positive approach to this is important, so when we are asked, “Can Mum or Dad go to this event or that event?”, we think of what we need to do to make it happen, rather than what obstacles there are that will prevent it.
On my first day here in November 2015, one of the residents told me that they would really like to go on holiday as she hadn’t been for over 40 years. We helped the resident to achieve this, as in July she spent a week at Butlins in Minehead accompanied by two members of staff, and had a lovely time.
For other residents, it is about maintaining contact with their social circles, and we have supported people in going to their local church fetes, Gala Bingo, garden parties and even award ceremonies. If it is important to the resident, it is important to us.
Within the home you operate a respite service. How does this work?
We have a busy respite service which is available for anyone to enquire about. It is dependent on availability but is a service where carers may book family members in for a period of respite, to enable themselves to go on holiday or attend special events. It is normally booked in blocks of one week at a time, but longer or shorter periods can be arranged depending on availability. We reserve one room in the home specifically for this service and we are able to take bookings for about one year ahead. This enables families to plan their own lives, knowing that their nearest and dearest will be cared for whilst they are away, or just needing a break from being the carer. When an enquiry is made we will take a few details down to make sure we can meet the person’s needs, and then we like to meet up prior to the respite period to conduct a more in-depth assessment, and this may take place here at The Close (which gives us a chance to show people the room and the environment) or it may be at the person’s home – whichever is most convenient.
The quality of the service is important and your recent CQC report suggests that you run a good service. What processes support this?
For any service, the delivery of quality service should be the main priority. It is all very well to say that we run a quality service, but we also need to be able to demonstrate that we have systems in place that monitor the quality, and that the systems also allow us to learn from any incidents or accidents, or indeed where things haven’t gone as well as we had wished. To this end, we complete monthly audits on a range of subjects that keep track of how we are doing with regards to keeping admissions to hospital to a minimum, how many infections we have had and what the possible causes were. As well as the monthly audit, we also have multi-disciplinary meetings where staff at the home also work with NHS professionals in reviewing monthly weights and also falls. We work very closely with the NHS Care Home Support Team, which helps the team obtain good advice and strong care planning for any issue that is causing us concern at any time. The Close Care Home also has a very strong working relationship with the local GP service and the local pharmacy service as well. This enables us to review medication practices and prescribing practices with the GP and pharmacist and makes sure we are providing safe and effective practice across all areas of care.
How are you finding the recruitment and retention of staff at the moment?
It’s fair to say that recruitment is really tough at the moment, and we continue to think about different ways that we can attract good quality staff who share our person-centred philosophy about the delivery of care. It would be very easy just to take everyone that applies for a job, but we will only recruit staff who we believe are able to demonstrate this approach. Recruitment for recruitment’s sake just doesn’t work, and will leave you with longer term problems, which is why our induction period is an essential part of the recruitment process. Each member of staff takes part in a thorough induction period that encompasses all necessary training, as well as periods shadowing on the wings so that they can get a good feel for the role and the home prior to working as part of the team. Whilst it is preferable to have experience in care, it is not a pre-requisite as we also need to attract new people into the industry. We support their training and development, and in conjunction with Oxfordshire County Council, all of our care staff are working towards obtaining The Care Certificate. The Care Certificate enables carers and employers to demonstrate that, where training has taken place across 15 different subjects, the carer has understood the training and is able to put this into practice.
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