Care UK’s homes represent a quarter of all those shortlisted for Suffolk quality awards

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Care UK homes and colleagues have taken an incredible eight out of 28 finalist places in the highly coveted Suffolk Care Awards.

The Awards, run jointly by Care Development East and Suffolk Association of Independent Care Providers are designed to recognise excellent care practice throughout the county and highlight the important job that high-quality carers and innovative care providers do every day.

A team of care sector professional judges, from both the private and public sector, met earlier in the summer to select the 28 finalists for the third annual awards event, which will take place on 4thOctober in Ipswich. Five of the ten Care UK  homes have reached this final round with the outstanding-rated Mildenhall Lodge home bagging a record three spots in different categories.

Regional director Phillip Steyn was quick to praise all the Care UK shortlisted teams.  He said: “Our ten care homes in Suffolk have the most incredible team of people who are determined to make sure that residents living in our homes get the very best out of life. From chatting while doing the dusting to organising memorable days out, everyone goes out of their way to deliver the kind of care we would want for our own family members.  I’d like to congratulate all the finalists and can’t wait to see how many trophies Care UK will be lifting at the ceremony in October.”

Liz Taylor, Judge and Chair of Care Development East, said: “What has shone through this year is the enthusiasm and passion for caring and care in Suffolk. There are some great examples of care providers and individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.”

The Care UK Suffolk Care Awards finalists are:

Mildenhall Lodge - Promoting Dignity and Respect in Everyday Life

The home was recently rated Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission for its personalised care and judges were impressed at the high levels of attention given to residents’ wishes. A resident, who lives with dementia and limited mobility, was able to join his family on a trip to Italy after the team worked to plan his trip and arranged for him to be accompanied by a carer from the home. A new initiative, called the Twilight Club, supports residents living with dementia who have irregular sleep patterns, and the home has a much-loved adopted dog who brings joy and comfort to those residents who have always owned pets.

Cleves Place - End of Life

The home has an end of life champion who holds talks, delivers training, holds open evenings for families, and provides counselling for colleagues and relatives. She also goes out in to the community to provide comfort and support to extended families of residents. Additionally, a wishing tree, where residents can place their written wishes, enables the team to pull out all the stops to make sure their wishes comes true. For example, one lady wanted to paddle one last time in the sea. The home organised a trip to the beach and wheeled her chair to the edge of the sea. With help, she took the few steps in to the water to enjoy a gentle paddle. The home said it was a truly emotional moment for her and her carers. 

Glastonbury Court – End of life

All the residents at Glastonbury Court are living with dementia. The home has end of life care plans that take into account each resident’s wishes, including whether the person would like to go to hospital or stay in the home, and how they would like their room set up (for example lighting and any music). The home has introduced a wishing wall where residents are encouraged to write a wish on a brick so the team can try to make it come true. The home has created a dedicated space for families and relatives called the Sunset Suite. It is fully furnished and decorated in a calm way, and families are offered meals to enable them to remain close to their loved ones. Colleagues are offered one-to-one supervision within the first 24 hours following a death, with younger or less experienced staff being given extra support.

Katy Hughes, manager of Mildenhall Lodge – Inspiring & Motivational Leader

Judges said the 90-strong team at the home are universal in their praise of Katy’s leadership skills and positive attitude. She is described as outstanding, caring, innovative, approachable, brilliant and fair. Katy started as a care assistant aged 16 and achieved her management role at the age of 25. She believes passionately in personal development and is wholehearted in her support of any team member who wants to progress and develop. She has introduced a champions scheme with the responsibility of advocating best practice for colleagues in their designated areas of expertise throughout the home.

Mildenhall Lodge - Culture, Creativity and Activities

Judges admired the home’s can-do attitude. Activities are assessed by residents using feedback surveys using ‘happy sheets’. There is a regular voting system. Residents voted to have a dog, which was obtained from a rescue centre, and the residents are involved in his care, from grooming to walking, feeding and petting. The home works hard to change the way everyone thinks about activities, seeing them as part of a whole lifestyle and not just a programme, and focusing on finding things that make a difference to the individual.

Mills Meadow - Culture, Creativity and Activities

Judges highlighted the home’s commitment to providing residents, who have different care needs, with a wide variety of activities and entertainments, including ten pin bowling, cheese and wine events, an annual dog show, a relatives’ party, a film club and a gardening club. Music is very popular in the home with relatives and residents providing entertainment. Art is also a popular activity and an area has been turned into a gallery. Links have been forged with a local primary school and pupils come to participate in arts and crafts activities as well as helping in the garden. The home had a visit from the Ipswich Buddhist Centre, which was well received and sparked lots of conversation after the event.

Prince George House - Innovative Approaches to Services for Dementia

Judges said the home is putting person-centred dementia care into practice every day in a tangible and unique way. Its dementia-friendly environment has separate areas, including a picnic area, a nursery and a bedroom area with a dressing table crammed full of hats, scarves and jewellery. The home also has its own bar, with a dartboard and games, and a shop with sweets in old-fashioned jars. The team has worked to find out residents’ interests. One resident has a passion for motorbikes, so the home arranged for a local club to come and park their bikes outside residents’ windows. They have also worked to promote dementia awareness in the wider community, including a project with Tesco where they trained the supermarket’s staff to help create a dementia-friendly shopping experience.

Cleves Place - Student Placement / Apprenticeship

Judges were impressed that there are no restrictions or limits on learning available to carers within the organisation, including apprentices. One apprentice joined the company at 16 years of age on an apprenticeship placement and is due to embark on her Level 3 diploma. She has become a valued member of the home due to her can-do attitude and her personality, which is described as bright and sparkling, and which has endeared her to residents and colleagues. The home only has one apprentice at any one time to ensure colleagues can dedicate enough time and support to maximise the learner’s potential.

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