This case study exemplify one or more of the Principles of Excellence that was identified during the research and engagement work of the Commission on the Role of housing in the future of care and support.
Model of housing or service: Care home
Introduction and overview
Clare Court is a residential, dementia and nursing care home for older people. The 80 people living at Clare Court are as diverse as the Birmingham neighbourhood the care home serves and is located in. Clare Court delivers exceptional care and support through a diverse group of trained staff, who celebrate the lives of each resident and ensure their continued wellbeing in what is a fun and companionable setting. Well-Being Coordinators develop several activities that help every resident achieve an active and balanced lifestyle. From baking to bingo, arts and crafts to enjoying the company of dogs, there is something for every resident to enjoy, whatever their interests or abilities. Reminiscence therapy is also a big part of everyday life for people living with dementia, either with one-to-one sessions or in a group activity.
Residents and staff are drawn from the nearby towns such as Sandwell, Handsworth, Ladywood, Bearwood and Smethwick and spend much time visiting clubs and organisations in these areas. The home has large, comfortable lounge and dining areas which are great for socialising and joining in with activities as well as more restful spaces for quiet conversations and privacy. Each bedroom comes fully furnished with walk-in showers and flat screen TVs, and residents are encouraged to have as many personal items, keepsakes and mementos around them as they like.
Clare Court is part of the Avery Healthcare Group – a private care provider which in 2021 had 56 care homes and four ‘high-end’ retirement developments with more in development. The company is committed to delivering care and service with a difference and have established a reputation for delivering high-quality homes with imaginative design-led solutions.
Clare Court’s work has been recognised within the sector and the home has won multiple awards, the most recent being the ‘Care Home of The Year’ in the Best Individual Care Home in a Group award in the National Care Awards and the ‘Residential care provider of the year’ in the Health Investors Awards in 2020.
Celebrating diversity and connecting communities through strong leadership
Celebrating the diversity and meeting the needs of a diverse resident community is one of the key features that Clare Court is known for. Staff are fluent in a variety of languages including Urdu, Punjabi, Mirpuri, French, Polish and Russian and care teams are recruited to reflect the residents’ rich Asian, Caribbean and European cultural heritage. Outreach into these communities is a strong feature of life at Clare Court. For example, Sikh residents enjoy visits from the local Guru Nanak temple in Smethwick to pray and share in culturally significant interests and conversations. Similarly, the home has excellent relationships with the local Seventh Day Adventist Church, whose choir visits every three weeks to sing hymns, and the local Baptist Church, who hold a monthly service at the home. More recently, a workshop about the Muslim faith has been planned with the Imam from Masjid Usman Mosque in Smethwick.
A range of outside speakers from local interest groups attend Clare Court to deliver talks that reflect the rich cultural mix of residents. As part of the Avery Re-Connect Programme for older people living with dementia, afternoon poetry sessions in a variety of dialects are being developed. Local poets such as Ita Gooden from the Caribbean community, have visited the home to support this work.
In addition to this outreach, the home’s dining choices reflect the cultural diversity of the residents and staff with a wide range of culinary dishes with Caribbean, Asian and European options every day. Moreover, menus are adapted to not only meet the cultural needs of residents but also the dietary requirements for various religious groups and those living with medical conditions.
Staying connected to the local Birmingham community is an important part of life at Clare Court and regular visits to local places or groups helps residents maintain a connection with the communities from which they came. Residents often visit the nearby community club, the park and the pub for lunch and enjoy a walk down Dudley Road with its rich variety of independent shops. Such trips provide opportunities for residents to exert their independence, enjoy the outdoors and connect with local residents.
Entertainers, local groups, and plenty of pets through the PAT scheme (Pets as Therapy) regularly visit the home as well. Visits from local school children create meaningful and enjoyable opportunities for intergenerational engagement. Families are encouraged to visit as often as they like and to take advantage of the many activities available when they visit. Staff also take the time to help residents use technology, such as Skype and FaceTime, to connect with family and friends who aren’t able to visit them.
The home, along with Avery Healthcare Group as a whole, is committed to recruiting and retaining staff whose values and behaviours align with that of the organisation. To this end the Group has developed a bespoke apprenticeship and training programme and also ensure that staff receive the best possible continuous personal development with supervision and coaching, and ongoing learning and development to assist them with meeting their career goals.
Living a full life and being well cared for
Residents at Clare Court are supported to enjoy a fulfilling and meaningful life. Their days are filled with a wealth of enjoyable activities including Bollywood dancing, spiritual singing, gardening and arts and craft to name just a few. Tailored to residents of any ability, these activities encourage participation without residents needing to worry over whether they can complete or fully engage with the activity. Not only do these activities present an opportunity for socialising, but they also allow residents to contribute to their care home community, for example, with their artwork displayed in an exhibition, or fruits and vegetables they’ve helped grow being used in the kitchen.
Additionally, the residents are well cared for and supported by staff that are not only well trained and highly qualified but also friendly and caring. This shines through in the resident video, with residents highlighting how happy they are with all aspects of the home.
The CQC in its most recent inspection report also described a very caring and supportive environment at the home. This has also been echoed by family members and friends in their reviews on carehome.co.uk.