This year, we have begun the process of getting in touch with these Care Homes to find out what has changed since our report and whether our recommendations have been put into action.
It has been eleven months since our visit to Kents Hill Care Home last September. We were pleased to be invited back by the manager to hear about the positive changes made at the Home following our Recommendations, all of which had been addressed since the visit.
We said: “Consider the social needs of the minority male residents.”
They did: Upon receiving our original report, the Home immediately got in touch with Men in Sheds to explore how they could meet the needs of male residents looking for likeminded company. Since then, the Activities Programme has been further extended; Age UK run a weekly Gardening Club at the Home, a popular and well-attended activity in which the residents are joined by members of the community to enjoy some gardening and have a chat. Many of the male residents enjoy this, as well as the Bowls Club and other outings provided by the Home.
We said: “Ensure that residents’ suggestions for new activities are properly considered and responded to.”
They did: The Manager explained that, following our visit, she explored the providers activities budget and discovered this is unlimited. The Home are now keen to try and accommodate any activities requested by residents; in the November following the visit, the Home introduced ‘Make a Wish’, which has since allowed one of the residents to go horse-riding at 103 years old!
The Home have their own minibus, which is used for outings. A recent trip involved taking 36 residents on a steam train.
We said: “In respect of residents alone and unoccupied in their rooms, ensure they are truly alone of their own volition.”
They did: Since the visit, the Home continue to include resident-led room-based activities in the scheduled programme, such as ‘Active Mind’ cards and hand massage. The Manager explained that residents often prefer to simply have a carer keep them company in watching their favourite TV programme.
We said: “Review staffing levels to ensure that appropriate personal care is available, e.g. to enable access to the gardens, mealtimes etc.”
They did: The Home completes a monthly audit to determine appropriate staffing level based upon resident’s needs. The Manager is confident that the Home is often over-recruited and that agency staff are used rarely but when needed. Call bell response times continue to be monitored by management.
We said: “Explore the opportunity to make more use of the garden area and improve ease of access for residents, particularly those with limited mobility.”
They did: The Home has found the Garden to be better utilised during the recent warmer months and continue to support residents who wish to spend time in the Garden in doing so. On the day of our follow-up visit, a BBQ had taken place in the Garden and was well attended by residents and visitors.
A Gardener tends to the grounds 10 hours per week and residents have been enjoying the new Gardening Club, which is run by Age UK at the Home every Wednesday.
We said: “Consider involving residents in menu planning to try and increase variety.”
They did: Following the visit, the Home held a Residents Meeting and a revised menu was created. The Home found that, after consulting residents on the subject of food, many residents preferred more traditional meal options - Offal Mondays and Fish & Chip Fridays are now weekly features. Residents said they did not want a Seasonal Menu so this has been removed. Resident feedback also indicated that custard was a popular preference and now features on the dessert menu three times per week at the residents’ request.
We said: “Review food quality.”
They did: Since the visit, a new Chef has been appointed and has been receiving positive feedback from the residents. Meals are now freshly prepared by an experienced Chef with a military catering background and menus are planned with resident input.