Student nurse Lance pays Oakdene a visit

Oakdene were recently put forward and chosen to have a student nurse visit them for the day. This was an honour and a chance that we jumped at as we are always looking to develop our involvement and links with our health colleagues.

Student Nurse Lance Chirume visited the home in early November and spent time with the Manger Brian Ward learning what is involved in running a care home. This included learning about CQC Regulations and Care Planning. Lance also spent time getting to know the staff and residents and even helped with lunch.

The comments that Lance sent through following the visit are overwhelming positive and a testament to the quality of the service delivered at Oakdene;

Dear Prime Life

During my experience at Oakdene, I was introduced to the team and felt very welcomed by the staff and residents. Oakdene is a very special place – they treat every one of their clients with the dignity and respect they deserve.

I was very pleased with the way things are done at Oakdene. As a student in training it makes me proud to know that there are places in the community that protect vulnerable individuals and aim to empower them, giving them the tools to regain / build their independence.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Oakdene and wish them nothing but years of success. I would love to visit again soon.Oakdene - Photo

Lance Chirume, Student Nurse

Thanks for your comments Lance, we enjoyed having you and hope to see you again soon.

Edith celebrates her 104th birthday!

The staff and residents of Westerlands Care Village enjoyed celebrating a very special birthday a few weeks ago. Edith “Did” Parker turned 104 on 22nd October, and enjoyed a day of cake, balloons and visits from family and friends for a party held by carers at her home.

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Born in 1913, Edith has lived through two world wars, four monarchs and 25 Prime Ministers! But, she says there’s no secret to her long life, although she danced for many years, and thinks that might have helped!

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Edith moved into the Westerlands Care Village in Brough in 2003. Anna Pruiewska, a senior care giver at Westerlands, said: “Edith has a nephew who comes to visit her so we thought it would be nice for them and their family and friends here at the care village to have a party to celebrate her birthday.

It’s a privilege for me to be able to care for Did, she’s gentle, caring and so loving. I’d like to think I’m a friend to her and we want to create a family friendly atmosphere for her and the other residents. I think it’s so important to have this sort of relationship between residents and carers.”

We totally agree, and hope Edith had the happiest of birthdays!

To read more about the celebrations at Westerlands, and watch a heartwarming video of the Edith’s birthday, click here.

River Meadows Challenge – Lands End to John O’Groats

In the UK there are around 850,000 people living with dementia. However, it often affects not only the individual living with the condition but also their friends and family.

With predictions that one in three people over 65 will develop dementia, it’s likely everyone will be affected by it at some point in their life.

Dementia usually occurs in people over the age of 65, however in the UK there are also over 40,000 people under 65 living with the condition.

Symptoms include memory loss, problems with language, being confused and visual perceptual difficulties, but these differ greatly between individuals.

The Alzheimer’s Society helps to raise awareness, support those living with dementia and carries out much needed research to help prevent and treat the condition.

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Everyone at River Meadows wanted to show their support and raise money as part of the Dementia Awareness Week (14th – 20th May 2017).

We set ourselves a challenge to cycle 807 miles, which is the equivalent of riding from Lands End to John O’Groats. The only difference is we used a static exercise bike in the home.

Staff, residents, family and visitors of River Meadows all came together for the challenge, taking it in turns on the bike and although we did not hit the 807 mile target we gave it a good go!

We are all very proud of our achievements and we raised a grand total of £325.20.

River Meadows has donated £80 to the Alzheimer’s society, with the rest going into the homes residents fund. With a bit more fund raising we hope to replace the garden furniture.

Thank you to everyone who took part, it was a great effort by all!

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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!


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.


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.

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.


“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.

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.

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.



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

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,

The 2016 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

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

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.


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.


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.