The culture of a home sets the tone for how people interact with one another and how the home feels for people living and working there. Taking a proactive approach to building a culture of positive interactions and a strong value base makes an enormous impact on what it’s like to live and work there.
Simon Stockton - Strategic Consultant in Health and Social Care
Lynda Beadnall - Physiotherapist, Athol House
Carol Taylor - Manager, Garth House care home
Alison Hardy - Manager, Athol House care home
Vicky Clarke - Contracts Manager, Surrey Continuing Healthcare
Simon Stockton: When you walk into a home often people say that you can feel the atmosphere and in many ways that's the responsibility of the care manager to help set the tone for what a place looks and feels like for the staff and for the people obviously who live in their home.
That it's a welcoming place, that it's a relaxed atmosphere that it's attentive to people's needs and then it's open to learning when things don't always go well.
Lynda Beadnall: I think a positive culture is extremely important in an organization and I think that as a therapist motivating and actually changing residents all the time really for the better you want to be able to encourage and motivate other staff members to do the same within the team and that's something which I like to feel it's a very strong goal for me so I engage with all other members of the team, support workers, nurses in some places, activities coordinators, garden therapists I try to connect with them all to bring about this change really, which is really important.
If we don't do that - and I think coming from a hospital background I've been in a big multidisciplinary team working situation, that team working is particularly important.
Carole Taylor: We do a lot of things at Garth House to ensure that we maintain and encourage a positive culture and we do it in a variety of ways. So we celebrate success if somebody is successful at gaining an award for instance, gaining a qualification, we normally have a celebration, we make an award, we give them a cake or flowers. We've had a birthday celebration today - one of my carers has turned 25 so we've surprised him with a cake, a bottle of wine, we sang happy birthday to him. That encourages positivity, it encourages motivation, it encourages a happy workforce so we try to do things like that.
We try to ensure honesty and transparency so if we're doing something well we celebrate it if we're doing something not quite so well we talk about it and then we share that with everybody. And by doing that and not making a big deal of things – obviously when things go seriously wrong we have to do the right reporting and we're accountable for that but we still - it's a no blame culture because we're all responsible.
And that's why I like this tool as well that it allows you to look at how well you're developing look at ways you can change things and look at how you're progressing.
Allison Hardy: It's essential not to be frightened of change, it's the only thing that that keeps things moving and if you take two steps forward and three back at least by taking three steps back you've got an opportunity to reflect and make sure that you can take further steps in order to move in the right di-rection. So even though the change could be feel as if it's quite negative you can usually cre-ate a positive out of that.
Vicky Clarke: I was a judge for some local care awards and one of the nominees was up for a prize and what I was particularly attracted to about the winner was the fact that they weren't actually a care deliverer they were a member of the admin team but on their days off they would go back into the home and and do things such as at Christmas this particular person and their husband went into the home dressed as Father Christmas and his elf and and handed out small presents to all the residents there which was really well received and then there were lots of other examples in the entry which made you think you know what? Your faith in human nature is still there.
You see we see and read about so many bad things when it comes to care homes but this was one of lots of examples that I'm fortunate enough to see.
Positive Culture: Points to Consider
- Be open when things don’t work and share the learning
- Everybody has a role to play in creating a friendly, welcoming environment
- Make time and space to celebrate things that matter to people
Use the care home action plan – it’s free!
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Designed for managers and owners of care homes for older people, use this care home action plan to:
- Build a shared understanding of what personalisation (or person-centred care) means in a care home setting
- Identify and plan practical improvements that will make your home more personalised
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