Our third South West Care Homes Network event took place on 14 September 2021, celebrating the hard work and dedication of care homes across Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, as well as showcasing the good practice in health improvement, and offering learning and sharing opportunities across the region.
The network is still very new, having been established in the last 12 months to bolster the care home sector during COVID. The events focus on different themes, chosen based on insight and feedback from care homes themselves.
As part of these events, the South West Care Homes Awards have been created, with two categories being presented to care homes at each quarterly showcase event.
The most recent event featured the Health and Wellbeing award, and the Safety Culture Award, which were presented by Dr Len Lofts, Chief Executive of Northam Care Trust and a previous winner of an Award at the first event in May.
Congratulations to the winners
Health and Wellbeing Award: Grange Lea Care Home in Torbay. (Click the link for their winning entry on vimeo)
Early in the pandemic, the care home staff identified an ongoing priority “not just to be alive but to live” and worked tirelessly to support the health and wellbeing of their staff, families and residents throughout. Grange Lea was one of the first homes to build a COVID-secure booth that allowed visitors in, to interact with their residents, helping keep spirits up and combat isolation.
The staff planned themed parties for their residents and provided additional activities to support residents’ wellbeing. The manager and carers put together personalised ‘activity boxes’ for every resident in the home, with personalised hobbies and entertainment, so that if an outbreak were to occur or someone needed to isolate, they would still have something of personal interest and comfort.
Safety Culture Award: Mountford House, Cornwall. (Click the link for their winning entry on vimeo)
Cornwall Care’s Mountford House have worked extremely hard to ensure the psychological safety and safety culture throughout their home. They listen carefully to each person in their care, as well as their families, and encourage open and honest discussions, which can be especially difficult around end-of-life wishes and care plans.
Staff have been recognised in their efforts, achieving Gold Standard Framework (GSF) accreditation for end-of-life care, and GSF platinum for home care, through rigorous assessments and embedding good practice in all they do.
Nikki Taylor, Programme Manager (Healthy Ageing Lead), South West Academic Health Science Network, said “There has been intensive attention on social care in the news recently, following years of hard work including unprecedented and challenging times during the pandemic. At our network event this week the breakout spaces showed just how challenging it is for our care homes. However, what is amazing to see is the positive attitudes the teams bring to the care of their residents and the tenacity, resilience and passion of their staff. The exchange of advice and insight between the homes is inspiring.”
Channel 4 #WhoCaresWins award
In addition, one of our previous winners has now been recognised in the national #WhoCaresWins awards, organised by The Sun newspaper, and broadcast on Channel 4 on 19 September. Court House Retirement Home in Cheddar was the winner of our networks COVID Hero’s awards earlier in the summer and won the Best Team category in Sunday’s awards.
When the pandemic began, the team at Court House Care Home made the decision to shut themselves in, sacrificing living at home or seeing any of their friends or family for the duration. The staff initially believed this would be for a couple of weeks but ended up lasting for 84 days. The team went above and beyond their normal hours, efforts and expectations, and although this was an extremely emotional time, they built an incredible bond with one another. The team’s efforts were applauded by the residents’ families, the local community and the country, as radio and television stations followed their story, right up to and including the moment they were all reunited with their families.
The award was presented by Gary Lineker at a star-studded event in London on 14 September 2021, including the Prime Minister and Prince William.
Extending the benefits
Approximately 75 people were present at the Care Home Network event, representing care homes and the wider system, across Cornwall, Devon and Somerset. All these homes, large and small, independent or part of a bigger group, can benefit from the sharing and discussions that take place within the network. To find out more about the events, see the SW AHSN website, and sign up for the next Network event on 9 December. The focus will be on Workforce, Capability and Capacity. Click here to register.
The event will include speakers from Devon County Council and The Institute of Health and Social Care Management.
The South West Care Home Awards categories featuring in this event are for Workforce and Exceptional Leadership. Click here to nominate a Care Home.