A heartfelt thanks to Maureen Turner

PrimeLife said goodbye to a long standing QCF Assessor Maureen Turner, who retired today after a long career in nursing and assessing. We’d like to wish her a very happy, relaxing retirement!

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Maureen initially trained as a cadet nurse and successfully progressed through the ranks, from staff nurse to ward sister. In 1987, she qualified as a Registered Nurse Teacher before completing a master’s degree and becoming a Principal Lecturer at University.

In 2008, Maureen worked for a training provider and provided training for PrimeLife staff through this provider when she met our previous Learning & Development Manager. Maureen talked about her passion for helping to improve the health and social care sector, and the rest is history! Maureen has been working as an assessor in vocational qualifications ever since.

Throughout the years Maureen has supported over 300 staff to gain a variety of both NVQ and more recently QCF qualifications in Health & Social Care at Levels 2, 3 and the management Level 5.

Both learners and colleagues speak highly of Maureen – she has always gone the extra mile to help staff achieve their best.

Barbara Lambert, the Internal Verifier for the QCF Centre at PrimeLife said “ It has always been a pleasure to work with Maureen, we have had some laughs over the years and her work has always been of a high standard.”

Michelle Smith, Manager at PrimeLife’s Holmes House in Wigston, worked with Maureen to achieve her Level 5 Diploma in Management & Leadership said “Maureen was really thorough and pushed me to achieve my best, I learnt such a lot. It was great to have an assessor that was so supportive.”

Vicki Shaw, Director of Quality Matters said “Maureen has made a huge difference to the lives of residents that live in our care homes by supporting staff to develop their knowledge and put their skills into practice.”

Maureen says that the best part of her role as an assessor has been encouraging those who often lack self-esteem to learn, grow and progress in their confidence and skills, “I love to see people develop and blossom.”

The QCF Centre;

Prime Life re-launched their QCF Centre in June 2016 and have been actively promoting staff to achieve their QCF qualifications in Health & Social Care with the pay review also reflecting staff achieving qualifications. This investment in staff is  helping to improve the quality of services that we provide and reduce the turnover of staff with staff feeling more valued in their workplace.

Over 220 staff (12% of the workforce) have taken advantage of the qualification programme since the re-launch in June covering levels 2, 3 in Health & Social Care, support services such as administration and catering plus Leadership & Management qualifications at Level 5. The aim is to continue with this investment to further help staff to realise their potential and support them to progress further in the organisation.

PrimeLife is proud to offer a learning pathway that enables staff to develop through the company with a ‘grow your own’ model that means that a member of staff starting as a carer, can work their way up to senior Management roles.

Mill House receive a letter from the Queen

The staff and residents of Mill House, situated in Fakenham in Norfolk, had a lovely surprise last month – in the shape of a letter from Buckingham Palace!

 

Back in June, Stacey and the team at Mill House thought it would be a great idea to send a special homemade card to the Queen to wish her a very happy 90th birthday. The residents at Mill House all enjoy talking about the Royal Family and were thrilled to get involved and help make a card.

 

In November, the residents and staff were delighted to receive an official letter from Buckingham Palace, from the lady in waiting, expressing the Queen’s gratitude for the card and birthday wishes. The Mill House Manager Stacey, is pictured below with some of the residents and the letter and card.

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Mill House also commemorated her majesty’s milestone birthday by holding their annual Strawberry Fair event on 11th June, which was enjoyed by staff, residents, relatives, friends and members of the local community alike. For more information on any of the PrimeLife Care Homes across the UK, click here.

The virtual dementia tour

Rolling Out Pioneering Dementia Training at PrimeLife

A pioneering staff training programme about dementia will be rolled out nationally across our group of care homes following a dementia-themed virtual reality workshop pilot held at our head office in Leicester.

The virtual dementia tour

We commissioned Training2care’s virtual reality tour in response to former Prime Minister David Cameron’s pledge to boost dementia research last year, who also said he wanted provide better access to help, advice and support for people who have the condition and their carers.

The workshop was led by Training2care and 90 people took part, including staff and people affected by dementia.

Vicki Shaw, our Director of Quality Matters, said: “At PrimeLife we are committed to ensuring our high standards of care are not only maintained but improved.

“We wanted to develop a deeper understanding of what our clients who have dementia go through everyday.

“We are committed to delivering quality care, which is why we felt this training day would be hugely beneficial to our members of staff. The feedback we received was hugely positive so we’re rolling it out across the rest of our care homes.”

Participants were asked to conduct a series of tasks while wearing specialist equipment which were designed to stifle their senses.

Attendees wore goggles to blur their vision, spiky inserts in the bottom of their shoes to impair movement, large gardening gloves to replicate loss of nerve endings and headphones with loud music to increase disorientation.

Rachel Hough, one of our carers, said: “It wasn’t easy to understand what we were being asked to do by the course leaders and most of us just ended up guessing and walking around helplessly.

“Afterwards we were told some of the instructions we were given had actually been things like ‘match a pair of socks on the bed’. However, the glasses we were wearing were so bad you couldn’t even tell where the bed was.

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“I think what we’ve learnt today has definitely helped me understand dementia better. I think the tour will be hugely beneficial to the rest of our staff as it really does change how you see the condition.”

Lesley Hartshorne, whose mother has dementia, also participated in the workshop.

She said: “I’ve learnt more about the daily struggles my mum encounters in eight minutes than I have in the past 20 years, thanks to taking part in this workshop.

“The tour made me feel like I was living her life and I experienced the frustrations she must regularly go through. I have a much better understanding of dementia now and what it feels like.”

For more information about dementia, click here.

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Choosing a care home in the East Midlands

Choosing a care home for your loved one can be a daunting decision. There are a whole myriad of things to consider, and while it may not top the list, the location of your prospective care home can have a significant impact on the experience a resident, and their family, has during their time living there. PrimeLife enjoy being able to make your decision a little easier. With care homes based in numerous locations across the UK, you’ll have no trouble finding one that suits your needs, both in terms of service and location.

PrimeLife have established care homes throughout the East Midlands, supporting areas across Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Rutland. As a national provider of care homes, we aim to bring our high quality services to a substantial amount of locations across the UK, hosting a range of specialties from dementia to respite care.

Throughout all of our homes, we encourage our residents to take part in activities that encourage interaction and promote a positive lifestyle. Leicester has a rich cultural centre, with Bradgate Park, the King Richard III Visitor Centre and Rockingham Castle, all offering potential day trips and spots to visit in an around Leicestershire.

In Nottingham, co-ordinators look to take our residents to sites of interest across the whole of Nottinghamshire. Whether this be to the local cinema, or via mini-bus to somewhere a little further afield, everyone is encouraged to be a part of and get to know the region. The same can be said for Lincolnshire and Rutland based homes, where on-site transport means that our residents can readily take part in community based activities and events.

The high quality service provided by our homes across the East Midlands, coupled with the charm of region, means PrimeLife can offer you some reassurance when selecting the perfect care home in the Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Rutland areas.

Click here to search our homes.

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Celebrating the Queen’s 90th Birthday

In celebration of the Queen’s official 90th birthday last month, a number of our homes held events to mark this momentous occasion.

At Beechlands, located in Clarendon Park in Leicester, the residents and staff successfully hosted a street party on Central Avenue on 12th June. They took part in a range of games and activities including an egg and spoon race, a treasure hunt, a cake baking competition and a three legged race. The spoils were shared between the residents and staff. Residents made crowns and decorated tables for the event too.

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The local community were also treated to guitar entertainment, which went down a treat, received to rapturous applause. A member of staff from Beechlands said: “The neighbours thanked our residents for taking part in the day and said we had all been great company, which made for an even more positive outcome from the event.”

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Over at Clarence House, situated in Horncastle, Lincolnshire, they threw a Royal Garden Party in the Queen’s honour, which included cream teas and fruit punch followed by a Royal Disco. A raffle was also held to raise more money for the residents’ social fund.

 

Finally, the residents of Mill House, situated in Fakenham, Norfolk, commemorated the Queen’s milestone by holding their annual Strawberry Fair in conjunction with her birthday on 11th June. Many visitors attended, including residents’ relatives and people from the community.

 

For more information on our care homes across the country, please click here.

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Summer excursions for residents at PrimeLife

With the good weather truly upon us, many of our residents have been venturing out for day trip and Little Acres recently visited the seaside town of Whitby.

As well as a boat trip along the river the group also went on a number of short walks and visited the RNLU Whitby Museum. Here the residents really enjoyed learning about the area and many had not visited Whitby before.

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The group also stopped at a pub in Aidensfield as many of them are fans of the TV show ‘Heartbeat’ that is set in this location. Care Home Manager, Marie, said:

‘We had a fantastic time in Whitby. The weather was perfect and the residents really enjoyed themselves. It was lovely for us all to be out in the fresh air, taking in new views, and everyone has been talking about the excursion for days.’

The trip took place on a Saturday, which meant that nearly all of the residents could go along and with an extension at Little Acres last year the weekend trips are becoming more social than ever.

The home is now planning a trip up to The Deep Aquarium in Hull. Many of the residents enjoy seeing animals and after Whitby all of the residents are excited about another weekend adventure!

Little Acres cares for adults with learning disabilities. For more information please click here.

Joseph and Melissa

Thoughts from a PrimeLife Care Assistant

It has been an exciting year for PrimeLife and a period of great change: from being recognized as one of the top 20 Care Providers in the UK to the expansion of our Quality Matters Team and the application of the national living wage.

In light of all these developments, we could not find a more appropriate time to take a moment to reflect on all of this with one of our youngest employees, Joseph O’Connor (19, pictured above, left).

Chloe Davies, our HR Advisor for the Eastern Region, travelled to Mill House Care Centre to speak to the young Apprentice Care Assistant, to find out about his experience with PrimeLife and gain his perspective on these recent changes:

‘Joseph joined PrimeLife in September 2015 after finishing his school education at Cambridge Regional College. Joseph was looking for experience in health and social care and discovered Mill House through Norfolk Training Centre.

When asked what inspired him to pursue a position in Care, Joseph told me that it was a ‘personal’ vocation and that he had ‘cared for a family member’ throughout his life.

Joseph went on to explain that he had joined PrimeLife because of its ‘homely’ environment, where he could gain experience in many aspects of care.

Achievements and Reflection

Mill house Care Centre offers care to clients with dementia and those who have needs associated with old age.

Although Joseph has experience volunteering with young people with learning difficulties, I was interested to find out what he had learnt and experienced since becoming a Care Assistant in an environment of which he had little understanding.

Joseph admitted that he ‘struggled with some aspects of care at the beginning’ of his role yet his commitment and dedication is verified by the confidence and knowledge he exudes today, an appraisal that is shared by his Manager, Melissa Stroud (pictured above, right).

From speaking to Joseph it is evident that he has gained many insights and embraced various training opportunities since joining Mill House.

Joseph went on to talk to me about his duties which range from ‘personal care’ to promoting independence and dignity. Joseph supports clients with limited mobility and has successfully completed training in the use of hoists and other mobility aids.

Joseph spoke with such assurance and enthusiasm and even took the time to enlighten me about the technique of ‘stand aiding’. Joseph stated that one of the skills he had acquired in particular since joining Mill House was ‘the ability to work independently and more confidently’ and has developed his ‘ability to deal with aggressive and challenging behaviour’.

Joseph stated that one of the highlights of his role is ‘building relationships with both residents and staff members’ but that the biggest reward is the ‘feeling of making a difference in people’s lives’.

The National Living Wage

After establishing the personal rewards of working in care, I went on to talk to Joseph about the recent introduction of the national living wage.

This year PrimeLife chose to apply the national living wage to all of our PrimeLife employees, despite the legal application for those aged 25 and over. A £1.6 million investment was made in order to recognise the importance of every staff member in our organisation.

Joseph informed that the pay review had been a ‘topic of conversation in the homes before its introduction and went on to emphasise that it was a ‘positive’ development that will ‘make a difference’ in living standards and motivate PrimeLife employees.

Long Term Goals

I really enjoyed talking to Joseph at Mill House. It is obvious from his demeanour and language how passionate he is about caring for others.

Joseph eventually wants to work with children with autism and learning difficulties and feels that his experience with PrimeLife has equipped him with skills and experience that will prepare him for his next role.

Although he is ‘really enjoying’ his ‘work at Mill House’, Joseph feels that working with children is his ultimate vocation and I wish him to best of luck on his journey.

Like Joseph, all of our staff have access to a wealth of training opportunities, all of which are free of charge and part of our development programme.

PrimeLife offer care to a wide variety of client groups and homes that specialise in caring for clients with various needs, such as young adults and the elderly. Career progression is available for those willing to train, learn and possibly re-locate in order to develop their skills in the care sector.

Since joining PrimeLife as a HR Administrator, I have had the opportunity to develop my own skills and experience in both the operational and business sector.’

PrimeLife is dedicated to recognising and developing their employees to the best of their ability. Joseph’s story illustrates how all of our team have the potential to inspire results and promote quality throughout our organisation.

Click here to find out more about working for PrimeLife.

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Falls prevention at PrimeLife

We undertook a pioneering approach to significantly reduce the number of falls amongst older residents.

Holmes House, located on Kenilworth Road in Wigston, was asked to take part in a pilot by Leicestershire County Council, alongside two other care homes in the area.

The project involved introducing devices and systems to help a person maintain their safety and wellbeing. Some of the technologies used included a fall pendant, a bed sensor, a pressure mat and a movement detector which all helped alert staff if high-risk residents were on the move.

Vicki Shaw, our Director of Quality Matters, said:

“Taking part in this pilot was hugely beneficial as the findings showed the number of falls reduced by 83 per cent across all the participating care homes.

“Over the 12-week period of the pilot, there was also a reduction of 27 calls made to the East Midlands Ambulance Service. We believe the project has demonstrated significant benefits in using assistive technology to improve outcomes and quality of life for residents.”

Councillor Dave Houseman, the County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “We’re pleased with the results from Holmes House. We’ll be discussing a further roll-out of the scheme to produce better services and significant health savings.”

Early indications from the pilot also showed the technologies were beneficial to those who have dementia and similar illnesses because they were less anxious.

Previous research has suggested that older people who live in care homes are three times more likely to fall than older people living in their own homes. A total of 25 per cent of those people suffer serious injuries and approximately 40 per cent of care home hospital admissions have occurred from falling over.

The project combined the assistive technology with specific training for falls which was also provided by Leicestershire County Council.

Following on from the success of this pilot project we will now be rolling the programme out across our Leicestershire County Council homes, with more details to follow soon.

To read more about Holmes House, click here.

 

 

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Award for Top 20 Recommended Care Home Group 2016

We are pleased to announce that PrimeLife has been given a ‘Top 20 Recommended Care Home Group’ award by Carehome.co.uk.

Every day, visitors and residents fill in review cards that let us know how well we’re doing, and these reviews are counted and moderated by the leading UK Care Home website, Carehome.co.uk.

The 2016 Carehome.co.uk awards reveal that the quantity and quality of these reviews places us in the top 20 of large care home groups recognised within the industry.

Our Managing Director, James Wood, says:

‘We think it’s very important to have your voice heard, whether you’re a resident or visitor, so we’re delighted by the positive response that we’ve had from these reviews.’

When searching on our website for suitable care homes across East Midlands, West Midlands and North Lincolnshire, you can now find a link next to each home that has live reviews on Carehome.co.uk.

To begin looking for a care home now, please click here.

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Celebrating Leicester’s Premier League Win

Over the last few weeks our Leicestershire homes have been backing the blues of Leicester City Football Club in their efforts to become Premier League Champions.

It’s been an exciting few weeks where both staff and residents have been watching games together and dressing up in blue to show their support.

One resident at Holmes House, John ‘Ian’ King, aged 78, played centre half for Leicester in 1963 and has been following Leicester’s progress very closely, talking to others in the home about his history in the team.

Ian was very definite that Leicester would do well this season and he’s over the moon that they’ve officially won the title. You can see him below, sporting his original kit from the 60s.

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Vicki Shaw, our Director of Quality matters, who visited the home this week, said:

‘It’s been wonderful to see everyone come together for the football. Ian will be watching Leicester’s final game on Sunday with his family and the rest of Homes House will be celebrating with decorated cakes and having a kick around whilst listening to the match.’

The celebrations have been continuing at Stoneygate Oaklands as well, where staff and residents have made their own homemade banner to support the Foxes.

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And not forgetting our team at Head Office, who are continuing to wear blue in celebration.

We’re looking forward to watching Leicester’s two remaining games in the season and many are looking forward to seeing the awarding of the cup this weekend.

For more information about our Leicestershire homes, please search here.