Sussex Healthcare has clearly been extremely busy as an organization, bringing on new staff, evolving the company culture, and moving forward toward a more person-centric and effective approach overall.
Here are some of the most recent staff stories and how they’ve improved the experience of Sussex Healthcare residents.
Regional Operations Director
Sussex Healthcare recently welcomed a new Regional Operations Director at the Rapkyns Care Village. Martin Hill brings an extensive level of experience in the field and a passion for improving the lives of each and every resident at Rapkyns.
A brief overview of Martin’s history includes work in Social Care for over 15 years, starting his career as a support worker before ultimately progressing to his current position. Martin has intensive experience across all aspects of social care, from residential services to domiciliary care and supported living. He considers himself extremely values-driven and passionate about quality provision and running person-centred services.
Outside of work, you will find Martin in the mountains—snowboarding in the winter or climbing in the summer with his close family and friends.
Martin’s work covers three distinct Sussex Healthcare locations—The Laurels and Sycamore, Day Centre in the Grange, and The Granary.
The Laurels and Sycamore
Martin is extremely grateful to the staff at Sycamore Loge and The Laurels for all of the support they’ve given to residents after an illness made the rounds through the home. Both sets of staff teams worked tirelessly to ensure that the people supported by SHC were cared for, supported, and kept safe throughout this entire experience.
Special mention was given to Sharne Duck, Clinical Lead at The Laurels, who helped ensure that the people SHC supports at the Sycamore Lodge had clinical input to ensure their needs were well looked after, ensuring a speedy and comfortable recovery process.
Day Centre in the Grange
The day centre staff at The Grange can be contacted directly via email, and all staff at this location have started on the Medication learning pathway in order to become more person-centred in their provision and to be more independent from the Grange dedicated staff. This has already resulted in improved success in taking care of residents and day visitors at this location.
The Granary recently received a new team manager, Martin De Lange Stean, who began work in December 2018. Meanwhile, Martin Hill extended a heartfelt thank-you to Helen Abraham, who has overseen and managed the Granary since the loss of a previous manager in summer of 2018.
Regional Operations Director
As many who follow Sussex Healthcare may be aware, the Wisteria/Stable home was without a manager for a few months. It was fantastic to receive a hugely competent and experienced manager in place in the form of Natash Clarke, now heading up the Wisteria/Stable team. Shona King made a point to also mention the sterling job that Gabi Cormos did in holding the fort while we this location was found between managers. Natasha is aware of where improvements need to be made in line with the latest CQC report and has brought with her lots of great ideas as to how she and the team will meet these ambitious goals. Sussex Healthcare management is confident that she will take Wisteria and Stable from strength to strength and receive a warm welcome when met by the rest of the Sussex Healthcare team.
The Kingsmead Lodge now officially has secured an acting manager with the arrival of Sharne Duck. Sharne has moved across from The Laurels, where she was working with the team to make improvements following their last CQC report.
By all accounts, the team at the Laurels has done a fantastic job. Sussex Healthcare is extremely grateful to have been allowed to bring Sharne to the team. The entire management team is committed in their support of the Kingsmead Lodge Team. That support will ensure they can evidence the care provided and that continual improvements are being made to support the people living there for years to come.
By the end of this month, Shona will be handing over two homes to the other two Regional Operations Directors. Kingsmead Lodge will be one of them, and this will now sit within Jon Johnson’s Region, while Beech Lodge will sit within Martin Hill’s. This will even the numbers out a little and will enable Shona King to spend more time with the remaining 6 homes and their respective staff teams. Shona looks forward to recruiting to Orchard Lodge in the coming weeks and establishing a position where she is able to spread her time more evenly. Shona looks forward to seeing more the Sussex Healthcare staff at these respective locations. For the two homes she’s losing, Shona has guaranteed staff they will be receiving a visit from here in the very near future.
As many who follow Sussex Healthcare will be aware, the organization has had a spate of CQC inspections in the past few months. The most recently received report was that of Beech Lodge. At this inspection, Beech Lodge received an overall rating of GOOD. Positive CQC comments were made, including: “People were supported by their staff who were kind, caring and supported their independence.”
Shona King and other management expressed pleasure that CQC inspectors identified this achievement during their visit, and that this is how the team operates. It’s always rather busy when CQC inspectors descend upon the homes of the people SHC supports. As many would expect, the outcome always results in Sussex Healthcare staff working even harder to further improve the standards both the CQC and SHC are eager to achieve.
One of the main areas where Sussex is striving to improve is in how staff communicate with people for whom they care. If Shona had one request of every staff member it would be to ensure that when they do something great with a person they support, they document it and document it correctly.
This gives managers like Shona King the tools necessary when sitting across from the CQC inspectors to be able to show them just how fantastic each member of staff truly is.
Shona has expressed every confidence that the people working for SHC are keen to achieve. Shona knows the feeling of immense pride when previous homes received an Outstanding CQC rating. This is where Shona hopes to take all the homes in her region and, working with the other Regional Operations Directors, their homes too. She emphasizes that each team member must have the will to show up and work hard as well as the willingness to try things differently in order to make positive changes.
Regional Operations Director
As a Peripatetic Manager, Jon Johnson has the opportunity to be involved with a wide range of new and exciting developments. He considers himself lucky to work at the Laurels on the Rapkyns Care Village with Janie. Janie has become somewhat of a celebrity among Sussex Healthcare, not allowing her physical challenges to stop her from wanting to know everything there is to know and always asking questions.
One of the questions Janie recently asked Jon was, “Can we have a meeting?” She explained that she used to chair meetings at her school. Jon Johnson believed this was a powerful idea—a meeting driven by the people that SHC supports with outcomes based on their comments, needs, challenges and wishes. Jon promised he would look into the opportunity on Janie’s behalf, and took the question to Nina Webb (SHC’s involvement and Engagement Manager). Nina agreed that it was an excellent idea and immediately involved Catherin Fitzgerald (SHC’s Autism Lead). Working with Janie, they set a date and set about developing an agenda for this flagship meeting.
Other people that SHC supports became involved, and an official agenda was developed for a meeting to be held on 22nd October 2018. Jon Johnson joined the meeting, which was very well attended by staff and people SHC supports alike. The agenda was developed using a pictorial method as well as words and subjects covered that included everything from personal care to a new social hub were people can hang out. A new, “You Said/We Did” notice board is now hanging in the Laurel’s reception area with updates on the subjects mentioned in the meeting.
SHC is now joined by Martin Hill, the new Regional Operations Director for Rapkyns Care Village, who saw this is as a big positive step towards encouraging independence and decision-making for those who call The Laurels their home.
Developments for Autism Lead
As the Developments for Autism Lead, Catherin Fitzgerald believes that effective communication is absolutely essential. That’s why SHC has established a way of honouring 12 communication champions throughout the organization, with the ultimate hope that all staff across all homes will receive this training in due time.
These members of staff will then be able to assist with communication incorporating elements of PBS (Positive Behaviour Support) in the following areas:
- Basic communication
- Creating communication passports
- Completing ABC forms
- Assisting with communication aids when making MCA decisions
- Informing and developing good practices within homes
The next sessions will take place in January, and each member of SHC is invited to attend each session in order to become a champion and receive an official certificate.
Service Reviews specialist Lisa Rowland-Hall recognizes that the organization has been in need of a complete service review of all homes, with the operational team agreeing on the priority and order in which reviews will occur. Lisa has worked closely with the OT to ensure that everything is done in conjunction with the management team in each individual home.
Initially, a review of the current service provision will be completed. Then Lisa will draft a proposal with the manager and submit it to the Regional Operations Director and Senior Leadership Team.
The review will focus on several key areas including the staffing structure, salaries, training needs, etc. It will also look at the people supported and living in the homes—their needs, fees, and contractual obligations.
The second phase of the review will also look at other important areas including the environment, IT support, as well as other support functions. The reviews will be done with support from the Donna Bates Director of IT, Mark East, Director of Facilities and Estates, Nina Webb, Catherine Fitzgerald, the training department, as well as any other key team members.
Lisa is currently working with Beverley Gregory and her team at Longfield, drafting a potential rota/staffing structure and reviewing the potential implications of this approach. Lisa is also striving to understand the needs and fees of people within the home. The proposal will be completed in the coming weeks for consideration. If accepted, a consultation process will begin and work on fees and occupancy will move forward.
The purpose of the review is to ensure that Sussex Healthcare is providing the best service possible, meeting the needs of the people living in the home with a diverse, skilled, and motivated team. SHC recognized the importance of investing in the staff, properties and future and wants to ensure that they are in the strongest position possible going forward.
SHC emphasizes that this is not a cost saving exercise, but a process of ensuring that all homes are of the highest quality, have a robust and sustainable business model, and that the skills and experiences of all staff are used in the best possible way.
Estates Updates from Sussex Healthcare
On top of the many infrastructure and cultural progress taking place at Sussex Healthcare, it’s also been a busy year for estates maintenance. Boilers have been updated, and a maintenance restructure has meant a brand new team has been working since December. The new maintenance department will be run centrally via the Estates team, and will offer a reactive and proactive response to each site and home. The maintenance manager will oversee repairs and projects, while the new Estates help desk ticket system is now live. Each home and site can now open tickets for repairs or general maintenance issues.
Some of the new roles, such as the electrician and facilities assistant roles, have already been filled. Others will be filled over time as qualified candidates are selected and trained.
A Statement on Quality from Debra Fox
In a recent employee newsletter, Debra Fox asked the question—Is it better to spend fifteen minutes with someone or one hour? The answer depends on how an individual or team member spends time with someone. The statement is as true for the people that Sussex Healthcare supports as it is for any client or customer.
Quality care means effectively meeting the needs of each individual person—making them feel valued, respected, and included. A shorter time spent with a person has far more value if they feel listened to, supported, and better than when they were first approached. These fifteen minutes can be more powerful than an hour of completing tasks with little engagement.
Sussex Healthcare’s mission is not to build on this work and begin the journey towards providing truly outstanding care, a process that is already well underway. The focus on providing high quality services at SHC is centred around considering everything that the staff does in the light of the people they support and how they’ll be affected.
Debra Fox ended her message with another question to employees—How do your actions improve the lives of people we support? That question now seems to be guiding Sussex Healthcare as it moves forward into the future.