Conewood Manor, a Grade II listed house in Bishop's Stortford, is home for up to 42 elderly residents with varying care needs.
Managed by Attila Gyarmati, a qualified nurse/social worker, it is one of four homes run by The Best Care Homes Group.
Conewood Manor joined the Vanguard programme last year, in the second wave of east and north Hertfordshire homes to sign up.
It has five ‘champions’ across six specialist areas - dementia, falls, health, engagement, nutrition and wound management.
Staff have all received additional training in these areas to develop their confidence not only in dealing with frail, elderly residents with complex care needs but also with other care professionals. In turn they cascade their learnings to other care staff so that knowledge is spread across the home.
In practice the extra training demonstrates visible results in terms of brightly coloured crockery and plate guards to assist dementia sufferers with eating and drinking, additional items on the menu, such as smoothies to aid nutrition, and engaging, stimulating activities for all residents whatever their needs.
Vanguard’s additional training and complex care payments feed into Conewood’s commitment to caring for staff as well as residents.
Building trust with staff and treating them well is essential to a well-motivated and happy workforce
“Building trust with staff and treating them well is essential to a well-motivated and happy workforce,” said Attila.
Conewood Manor’s team of nurses and carers has been stable for some time. Staff are rewarded for extra skills and enjoy benefits on successful completion of their annual reviews. Shifts are planned in advance on a four week schedule and include adequate time off to allow for proper rest.
Many of the staff, including domestic, catering and maintenance staff are local and often know residents because Conewood Manor prioritises local applications.
“We believe residents need the support of their families so we support the whole family, not just the person who is living here.”
This is borne out by a daughter who said: “Not only do the staff care for my mum who is the resident, they all care about my dad as well when he visits. They greet him (and me) warmly by name and if we arrive at mealtimes they always give us a cup of tea and insist my dad has a meal or tea time snack. They also took his blood pressure when they thought he looked under the weather one day. I cannot fault the care and consideration that ALL staff have for them both.”
Shortly after Attila joined the team he axed the practice of using agency staff.
“If a night nurse is sick I will jump in to cover the shift. It gives me the opportunity to care directly for the residents and I enjoy that,” he said.
Major refurbishments are ongoing with 31 rooms upgraded to a high standard, en-suite wetrooms added and resident lounges improved. A further project will provide an annexe with six additional rooms, joined to the main house by an impressive glazed walkway.
“Being part of the Vanguard programme has not only benefitted staff, but brought improvements to care that residents and families can see,” said Attila.