Care home is where the heart is – spring is in the air

Louisa Forbes

Spring feels like it is just around the corner. The snowdrops and daffodils are beginning to wake from their winter slumber. Health and care workers have also been busy planting the seeds of a new programme called the Enhanced Health in Care Homes programme, (EHCH) – and the new shoots of these seeds are starting to grow – it’s an exciting time!

Check out last month’s blog - seen by 2,500 across Facebook and Twitter– if you missed out on what it’s all about. By way of a quick recap, EHCH is about offering proactive care that puts people’s needs at the heart of everything to enhance their health.

No one wants to see people going to hospital unless they really need to, or having lengthy stays that could be avoided, and in other parts of the country this programme has already helped to reduce the number of people who find themselves unable to leave hospital when they are medically fit to do so. Care home staff are often managing people who years ago would have been in an acute hospital. We really value their work to help keep people safe. They’re often our unsung heroes when we think about the people who are helping to prevent loved ones or friends being admitted to hospital, or trying to get them back in a more homely setting. We need to respect, reward and enhance those skills. This programme will only work if we work together. It’s about collaboration across health and care and allowing the space and time to nurture those professional relationships.

What’s happened in the last month?

Eight care homes are already involved in the programme and I have been bowled over by their enthusiasm and involvement, it has been really incredible. We’ve seen a mix of residential and nursing homes. These care homes are the Crossroads Care Home, Scorrier, The Poldhu Care Home in Mullion, Porthgwara Nursing Home in Coverack, Clovelly Care Home in Newquay, St Austell’s Trevarna care home, Hendra Court Care Home in Par, Caritate Nursing Home, Bodmin, Hillcrest House Nursing Care Home in Looe.

Tea cup

Take time for tea!

The humble cuppa, of which I have gratefully drunk many (thanks to all the care homes for the cake and hospitality) has provided the perfect opportunity to talk with care home residents, their families and staff about what does enhanced health mean to them, what are the things that stop then doing the jobs they want to do. These visits have been amazing and have shown the compassion, energy and expertise the staff have, and that so much commendable stuff is already happening of which I plan to share and celebrate over the coming months.

These chats have led to tailored action plans for each of the eight care homes.

What’s also been really motivating is to see how many colleagues, from across health and care, and residents themselves all agree that there is room for improvement so that together we can provide the very best personalised care and support.

Dates for the diary

I’m on the road on Wednesday with the ECHC education roadshows talking about ‘How to recognise the deteriorating patient and how to act'.

Future road shows (during March and April) will talk about sepsis, national early warning score two and treatment and escalation plans. Find out more about the roadshow.

The EHCH education roadshows will go on tour again in July and the topic will be preventing harm and enhancing the health of people living in care homes which will feature experts presenting on nutrition, falls, dementia, frailty, medicines optimisation and social prescribing. It’s a great opportunity to think about some of the most challenging conditions and risks and think about how we can best practice with the persons individualised needs at the heart of what we do.

I’m also planning a very special event for October, which I’m keeping hush hush at the moment but can’t wait to share more with you over my next few blogs.

Cheers and next month Jessie Retallick, prescribing support dietician, will be blogging about malnutrition and Nutrition and Hydration Week (11-17 March).

Care home is where the heart is – together we can make a difference.

Bye, Louisa