Creating an outstanding Care Home - 5 top tips

Creating an outstanding Care Home - 5 top tips

With 1000s of Care Homes coming to us for their supplies, we make it our business to stay informed with the latest recommendations and requirements as outlined by key organisations within the healthcare industry. To provide you with an 'at a glance' overview, below we list the top 5 factors that make a care home outstanding.

  1. Safety for all
  2. Efficient communications
  3. Person-centred care
  4. Home from home environment
  5. Dementia facilities

Safety for all

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) Standards states that to make a care home safe, as in protecting people (staff, residents and visitors) from risk, abuse and avoidable harm, their rights and dignity must be respected. A safe environment is where all staff know what to do when safeguarding issues arise, which procedures to follow, and when to raise a concern.

The CQC advocates that safety begins with monitoring and learning from accidents and complaints. It's important to have a dedicated appointed person to record all incidents as part of a proactive risk management system, one that can promote change where needed and link issues to a specific action, person or location. Being able to provide a record of events when under inspection will demonstrate that your home is dedicated to continual improvement. Having most staff trained in health & safety (specifically basic life support) ensures you have it covered at all times, even during times of staff shortages.

Efficient communications

Care homes have a duty to provide a good level of contact with residents' families. This may mean that there should always be a member of staff available for contact, especially important with Dementia residents, who may need reassurance from friends or relatives at short notice. It is important to provide evidence at all times of any communication that takes place.

Person-centred care

According to the Alzheimer's Society person-centred care is at the core of a good care home. This simply means treating each resident as an individual, not as someone with a specific illness, disability or preference. The Alzheimer's Society states that a resident's care should be tailored instead to their interests, abilities, history and personality, and is "an effective way of preventing and managing behavioural and psychological symptoms of Dementia."

The key points of person-centred care

  • Treating the resident with dignity and respect
  • Understanding their history, lifestyle, culture and preferences, including their likes, dislikes, hobbies and interests
  • Looking at situations from the resident's point of view
  • Providing opportunities for the resident to have conversations and relationships with other people
  • Ensuring the resident has the chance to try new things or take part in activities they enjoy

Home from home environment

It's important to remember that your care home is 'home' to your residents, and not a show home or hospital environment. Residents need to have as many of their recognisable objects as possible incorporated into their personal space, and any personal routine that they may have had prior to entering the home kept running if possible. They also need to be encouraged to act as if they were at home, and given the opportunity to 'do it for themselves' when appropriate. Ensuring residents are happy in their environment, are encouraged to do relevant activities and socialise when they want to are all important factors. Providing the right training to your staff will make it easier to spot if a resident is unhappy. Triggers to look for include:

  • Disorientation – are vital areas in your home signposted clearly enough, such as the toilet and the dining room. Navigation issues can be a major factor for causing anxiety, especially with residents with Dementia or Alzheimers.
  • Grooming – any resident that suddenly appears less well-groomed or poorly dressed should cause alarm bells to ring. It may be that they were used to getting dressed without assistance, but their abilities have deteriorated, or it may be a lack of care from a staff member. Either or both need immediate investigation.
  • Mood – if a resident's mood appears to change suddenly and without any due cause (such as the death of a fellow resident, or an illness), it's important to look for the cause.

An outstanding care home will train staff members to look for these subtle changes, and not just deal with the practicalities of day to day needs.

Dementia facilities

Is your care home Dementia friendly? One way to find out is to talk to the residents and find out if they have any particular problems with any parts of the home, but for a quick fix we've outlined some must-haves that are deemed essential for a care home to be deemed outstanding, below:

  • A quiet space to retreat to if feeling anxious
  • Clear signage, easily read and in bright colours. It should be mounted in a clearly visible area, at eye level, and remain in the same position, as any movement will cause confusion. The most important signs to make clearly visible are toilet and exit. Any potential hazard areas should be clearly marked, including stairways and glass doors. (view our range of dementia signage)
  • Lighting should be as natural as possible, not too bright and eliminating dark corners
  • Flooring needs to be safe, not slippery or highly reflective. Bold patterns can cause confusion or visual disturbances with some residents, so best to replace any areas with a plain neutral coloured surface, and ensure the entire area if safe from trip hazards such as different floor levels, slopes or uneven joins
  • Landmarks are a great way to help residents to get around, inside and outside. It's easier to give directions to a location that has a prominent visual reference

Further help

As specialists in the Healthcare industry we're constantly sourcing new products to help you stay compliant and safe, as well as making your day easier! To keep you and your staff up to date, we also supply a range of free online training videos that cover the Care Certificate 1-15, as well as the Care Certificate answers.

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