A radical programme of change introduced to increase the happiness, and meet the complex emotional needs, of its residents with dementia at a Nottingham care home has been rewarded with an "Outstanding" rating from the CQC.
Reporting for the Nottingham Post, Issac Ashe explains more...
"Almost four years ago Landermeads Care Home in Chilwell, a family-run care provider, decided that despite patients being well looked after physically, a change in culture was needed to address their residents' emotional needs.
Huge changes were undertaken - from getting rid of staff uniforms and nurses' trolleys, to physically restructuring their buildings - in a bid to improve the day-to-day happiness of the homes 85 'family members', leading to results that director and registered provider Ros Heath says can now be seen on their faces every day.
And this month, inspectors at the Care Quality Commission agreed, reporting the facility is outstanding overall.
In the report, which can be viewed in full online, it says: "People told us they were treated with compassion dignity and respect and staff ensured their privacy was protected. We observed very positive, caring relationships between staff, people using the service and their relatives, which helped to promote a calm family atmosphere where people were safe.
"Staff demonstrated an excellent understanding of people's support needs and used skill and innovative methods to ensure they received personalised responsive care. Forethought and innovation was used to ensure that people had the opportunity to take part in enjoyable, constructive activities that reflected their interests and life history."
Ros Heath said the new approach was based on the 'Flower of Emotional Needs' strategy developed by psychologist Tom Kitwood - making sure that each day dementia patients felt love, comfort, occupation, attachment, inclusion, and identity at Landermeads.
She said: "Our whole approach, all we're doing, looks at every single aspect of that. Four years ago this January we sat down. We've been around a long time as a family-run nursing home, and always done very well and had a good reputation. People were supported, well fed, clean - but people were definitely unhappy.
"They were demoralised and felt they had lost their worth. We asked how we could make them feel loved, and part of the family."
Landermeads set about restructuring the way they worked, scrapping their system of having several units and introducing five households, with residents of each matched by the level of their dementia, and each run in different ways - for example giving a more calm, sensory programme for people living in the final stages of dementia, with activities like massage and aromatherapy.
Staff uniforms were scrapped, and employees even wear pyjamas while working night shifts to make patients feel more at home.
Ros said: "We used to have situations where people would bang on doors to get out. They didn't understand why they were there, felt institutionalised and were looking for home, for security.
"When we took away the 'us and them' those behaviours stopped. We're now a lot of happy people, there's laughing and joking and banter with staff.
"We have less hospital admissions now, fewer falls, overall better well-being - you can feel when people are happier, it's tangible."
Article by Isaac Ashe, first published in The Nottingham Post 29/12/16