An award scheme attracting entries from all over the country has seen Care UK walk off with winning trophies for three of the most important categories.
At the Care Home Management Awards, Mildenhall Lodge in Suffolk took the overall accolade of care home of the year in the category for homes which are part of a wider group.
As if this wasn’t enough reason for a celebration, homes also picked up the top award for the best maintenance team – at Sandfields in Cheltenham – and the best care home garden in the country award – which went to Britten Court in Lowestoft.
Two other homes were also highly commended at the same awards – Hollins Park in Macclesfield for the quality of its nursing care and Whitby Dene in Eastcote was highly commended in the same care home of the year category which Mildenhall Lodge won.
Speaking after the award ceremony, Care UK’s residential care service managing director Andrew Knight said: “I cannot begin to describe just how proud I am of all the teams shortlisted in these awards. The fact that we were shortlisted for 14 different awards and that five different homes actually took home trophies is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all our teams in providing the best possible lifestyle for the 7000 plus people that we support in our homes. It’s fantastic to see this public recognition of that dedication and commitment.”
Mildenhall Lodge which took the care home of the year award has already been rated as outstanding by the Care Quality Commission. Judges for the award heard about the way manager Katy Hughes encourages every resident to have a say in the running of the home, from voting for their choice of pet to appointing a resident ambassador who gathers the views of the other people living at Mildenhall Lodge.
The home also has innovative approaches to supporting residents including a twilight club for those who find themselves wide awake during the night and an impressive range of activities on offer including French lessons.
One novel feature in the beautiful gardens at Britten Court in Suffolk obviously caught the eye of judges – a memory path where each resident has decorated a large smooth stone which is then laid alongside the trail to give a talking point as people take a walk. This was put together by activity co-ordinator Julie Robinson who was recently also given a national award by Caring Times magazine.
The star of the best maintenance team award must be Dave Capewell, who is in charge of maintenance at Sandfields care home. As well as delivering outstanding maintenance standards he goes out of his way to involve residents and ensure they are living a fulfilled lifestyle. This includes involving residents in things like water temperature checks, painting and decorating, planting the garden and weeding. Dave also created a Gents Club for residents who have an interest in maintenance tasks and he regularly organises trips to the hardware store. After finding out one resident was a keen golfer, he also set up an outdoor putting green as well as an indoor putting area set outside their room.
Care UK had two homes that were highly commended in the Care Home Management Awards.
In the nursing category, it was Hollins Park where team members were praised by judges for the high level of care provided and their attention to detail. Most of the residents at the home have dementia and the nursing team, led by Manager Tracy Norbury have put a great deal of emphasis on training everyone in the latest thinking in dementia care. For example, they found a way of communicating better with a resident through her love of children and the resident is now taking an interest in the team’s families. They also keep on top of the latest technologies and recently purchased a Tovertafel, a ‘magic table’ designed for people with dementia, which is providing additional stimulation and interest, particularly for those where the disease is quite advanced.
The second highly commended home was Whitby Dene in Eastcote where the team members pride themselves on delivering a specialised, person-centred care programme. They work hard to adapt care plans to the residents’ needs and wishes based on abilities. A resident who was told they wouldn’t be able to walk again was able to regain mobility thanks to Whitby Dene’s enablement program, designed by drawing on the team’s physiotherapy skills. The home has a maintenance club for residents who enjoy handy work, and a baking club came about following resident feedback. Also popular is its pen pals project, resulting in friendships with residents from other care homes and school children. And of course, Whitby Dene has gained national media coverage for fulfilling wishes of residents varying from meeting the pope to flying a light aircraft.