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.

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.

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.

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.



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.

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.