A specialist care home has seen its recent investment and raft of measures dedicated to improving residents’ lives acknowledged by the CQC with a significantly-improved rating.
Manor Lodge Care Home, a 20-bed home for people with mental health conditions, learning disabilities, dementia and autism, committed to a full review of its provision, after a CQC inspection earlier this year identified multiple breaches of legislation and concerns around safeguarding.
And in only five months, the home – in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside – has raised its rating from Requires Improvement to Good, with inspectors highlighting the “widespread changes…(which have) led to improvements in the quality and safety of the service”.
The new rating, which saw Manor Lodge rated as Good in every headline area, comes after a significant investment project to implement a whole new digital care system, which will take full effect from December 1, and upgrade and refurbish facilities.
Residents have also been given more opportunities to be involved in the running of their home, with some even playing a role in the recruitment of new staff by being part of a second-interview panel and having input into whether potential new residents will be accepted into Manor Lodge.
Paul TM Smith, a consultant to Manor Lodge owner Renal Health, has overseen the major overhaul of the home and its practices, policies and procedures, building on his 40 years’ experience of working in care to identify ways to raise standards and improve residents’ lives.
“It was about stripping it back and going back to basics. We talk about a person-centred approach, but we needed to deliver that person-centred approach. We needed to empower our residents and did this in a very holistic way,” he says.
“We looked at how we could give people as much control over their lives as possible so they can live a good life, one where they’re not just filling the hours, but are living a meaningful life. It’s about looking from a human point of view and seeing how we can do the very best for that person.
“Twenty-bed services such as Manor Lodge are something to be cherished; the opportunity for people to be supported in this way to live in the community is fantastic but planning permission is no longer given for homes of this kind above five beds. We must continue these kinds of services, but make sure they are of the highest quality.
“For us to make the improvement we have done in only five months has taken huge efforts from the whole team, many of whom have worked large parts of seven days a week, myself included, but what we want to deliver is the very best home we can for our residents – after all, this is their home, the place they live, so we want it to be a place they can be proud to call home.”
In addition to investment in its facilities – including redecorating residents’ rooms, upgrading the kitchen and living areas and creating a new staff room and learning area – the biggest new introduction into Manor Lodge has been its new Person Centred Software digital care system, which has been in trial among staff for several weeks, ahead of its launch on December 1.
“This along with other supportive on line systems has been a massive change for our staff going from analogue to digital, but they have been fantastic and it has made a huge difference to how we work,” says Paul.
“We will now have a robust digital care planning system in place which ensures everything is recorded in real time. It’s no longer a case of getting to the end of the day and people rushing to update paper records, remembering what had happened at 8am this morning – comments like ‘slept well’ or ‘a good day’ aren’t meaningful, but now we have whole new levels of insight.
“Gone are the days of the huge paper care plans that no-one reads and end up on a shelf – this is a digital icon-based care plan which can be updated and viewed on a device continually and families and relatives have their own areas too.
“While some of our staff have been quite fearful about the digital system as it’s a totally different way of working for them, they have been like sponges and so keen to learn more. It has given them a whole new confidence and reminds them that the work they are doing is so valued.”
Paul is a passionate champion of care workers and is committed to ensuring the team at Manor Lodge feel valued.
“This really is an incredible place, the kind of place where our staff come in on their days off, where they pay for things from their own pockets or purses,” he says.
“This is not an easy job, and people certainly don’t come into care to become millionaires, they do it because they love it and because they care. It is a very, humbling and honourable profession and treating our carers as human beings and not just numbers is not always the norm in this industry, but it should be.
“Our team at Manor Lodge have been very keen to get on board with the changes and make life the best it can be for our residents, and we’ve had plenty of sweat and tears in turning it around, but we have listened to the CQC, we haven’t complained, and have got on with making this a better place. I’m really pleased with what we have achieved so far.”
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