Summary of report content
Following a successful pilot with GP surgeries in 2017 and 2018, where ‘appreciative questions’ were used to explore what was working well in surgeries as well as areas for improvement, this approach was applied to enter and view visits to care homes. After Healthwatch County Durham publicised this approach to care home providers, Springfield Lodge Care agreed to host a visit as they were keen to listen to their residents, families and carers and learn from their feedback.
Healthwatch County Durham spoke to 15 individual residents, carers, family members and staff, using a set of appreciative questions to prompt people to describe good practice they had experienced or seen. Two observation sheets were completed by authorised reps during the visit.
Residents, carers, visitors and staff felt that the quality of care was good. They clearly very much appreciated the good relationships and service they either received themselves, or acknowledge happens, at the home. People told Healthwatch that staff were kind, caring and always looking out for them. Staff would often go the extra mile. Residents clearly had confidence in the staff who balanced offering the required individual care and social interaction. This way of working, staff behaviours and culture should to be celebrated and retained here for the future.
People felt that that the positive environment in the home encourages visitors, carers and others to visit the home. People told Healthwatch that the home is “an integral part of the village”, with activities being brought into the home and residents being taken to activities in, and beyond, the village. Residents and their families valued this effort, and so it should be maintained as a priority.
Residents really enjoyed the external services brought in for their benefit. Some felt that visits from school children were really valuable, and having pets and other animals on site made some residents happy and made them feel at home. It is important in creating a positive atmosphere that residents can have what they like, and are used to, around them in their own space.
Many people felt that the quality of food and refreshments served had improved. This should be monitored so that this high standard can be maintained.
People valued having their own room, with their own personal belongings around them. The home was well maintained and kept. Having a ‘personal space’ was raised as very important by 10 residents. It was clear that the home managed the balance between required medical and care needs with individual personal preference, very well. Retaining the systems and resources that allow this balanced and high standard, seems very important, and is clearly recognised as one of the most effective aspects when it comes to confidence in the care home.