Birtley House Nursing Home - Going the extra mile to give outstanding care

Birtley House

Birtley House - Credit: Archant

‘Outstanding’ has often been used in the same sentence as Birtley House Nursing Home: ‘The home stands in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)’; now, following inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Birtley House is officially rated as OUTSTANDING. As my two abiding passions are the conservation of our natural environment and improving the quality of care I am delighted to support both these objectives through the Birtley House Group and Surrey Hills Enterprises CIC.

So, what does ‘Outstanding’ actually mean for a Care Home? CQC monitor, inspect and regulate all health and social care services and give ratings to help people choose the right care. There are five questions CQC asks of all care services: Are they safe? Are they effective? Are they caring? Are they well-led? Are they responsive to people’s needs? – all of which help them to make sure they focus on the things that really matter to people. CQC has so far inspected around 3500 nursing homes and have rated less than 20 as Outstanding. How then did Birtley House join such a select group?

Although the long history of the Home played its part in developing its ethos through four generations of one family at the helm, the increasing demand for evidence-based levels of care has set its own challenges. A full understanding of these is therefore fundamental to achieving the best result at Inspection. However, it is essential that all of the team buy into both the ethos and the commitment to delivery, and this can only be achieved through strong leadership and effective training. Demonstrating this leadership was the key characteristic that won the Birtley House Registered Manager, Karen Williams, the Surrey ‘Manager of the Year 2015’ and helped set the course for the successful inspection by CQC.

Residents’ needs are as much about quality of life as care. To create a ‘homely’ environment is essential. However, it can also become ‘institutional’ if segregated from the life of the community. It is therefore important that there is full engagement with the community. Active encouragement of community events, in and around the Home, results in opportunities for residents to interact with visitors, and for the community to have exposure to what good care really means.

There is still one further step that marks Birtley House out as exceptional. This is a commitment to encourage best practice and innovative ideas in the wider care sector. At a time when the pressures on care work have never been greater, it is important to try to develop creative new ways of working smarter and, wherever possible, collaboratively.

As one example; when Waverley BC were looking to try and improve care in this Borough we were invited to join the Waverley Health and Well-being Partnership. This project resulted in a major Workshop, the objective of which was to devise some practical prototype projects. The Workshop resulted in a determination to maintain progress towards greater integration and we have started discussions with our Clinical Commissioning Group on ways to help alleviate the bed-blocking crisis in Hospitals.

In the current climate of uncertainty over the future funding for care, we have to go the extra mile to encourage others and provide leadership for smarter working and to demonstrate that good care is fundamental to the long term issues around the NHS. We are delighted to have now joined the ‘Outstanding Society’ run by Care England and look forward to sharing our ideas both locally and nationally to help meet these objectives. Rd, Bramley, Guildford GU5 0LB

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