Forrester Court, has been awarded the prestigious Gold Standard Framework Care Homes Accreditation for its work with patients at the end of their life.
The award, approved by the NHS, Department of Health, Age UK and Macmillan Nurses, is designed to acknowledge the highest levels of end of life care and encourages choice and dignity for the patient, as well as sensitive and effective support for relatives.
The framework training programme is a three-stage quality assurance programme, which includes training for all staff in the home and stringent monitoring, documentation and evaluation to ensure standards are kept at the very highest level. The homes are then inspected to ensure that all the techniques are fully in use and that staff are consistently following the guidelines.
Jemma Craig-Dressike, who manages the 110-bed home in Cirencester Street, said: “The end of a person’s life is such an important time for them and their relatives. So much of the anxiety can be removed by planning and building relationships with the people involved.
“We work very closely with doctors and palliative care nurses and we have always worked hard to make this time as painless and peaceful as possible. Now we have a framework that means we can improve and learn at each stage and use the feedback we get from staff, residents and family to offer an even better service.”
Patient choice is key to the programme and the team have made it increasingly possible for more patients to stay in the home until the end rather than moving to hospital.
Jemma and her team have created an end of life suite, which has two single beds, a TV and a stereo and is designed to give residents the choice of staying in the home they love, with the people they love, rather than moving to an unknown hospital ward with unfamiliar staff. The home also has a multi-denominational room for prayer that residents and their families find comforting.
Before the suite was opened, half of residents had no choice but to move to hospital for end of life care. This has now dropped to 25 per cent - Jemma and her team hope that eventually all of those wishing to stay in their home will be able to do so
Jemma said: “Choice and dignity is very important when you care for people. This is our residents’ home and, if they choose to die here rather than in a hospital, we want not only to be able to respect their wishes but to accommodate their loved ones as well.
“This is a sensitive time and it is so much better to be surrounded by the people you love, as well as having access to first class medical care delivered by people you know.
“This is our residents’ home and many opt to stay here. They know the surroundings and they are comfortable. Some people are less anxious if they talk about what they are going through, and others do not want to talk. Our staff are very good at judging people’s needs and working with them.”