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BLENHEIM House Care Home in Melksham, which opened three and a half years ago, prides itself on offering outstanding care of all types – residential, dementia, nursing, palliative, respite and in a stimulating, beautiful environment.
Residents of Blenheim House can enjoy the experience of cared-for golden years, but with the emphasis on motivation, so there are also opportunities for social groups and activities such as singing, craft, Scrabble, skittles and trips out to surrounding towns and theatres.
The home has state of the art innovative electronic care planning, with hand-held tablets for the carers, so information about the residents can be shared amongst the team instantly.
There is also an acoustic sound system to alert carers overnight of movement in bedrooms, alerting carers if a resident falls.
In a series of ‘Meet the staff at Blenheim House’ their general manager, Nicola Humphries, explains about the ethos of the care home and its ambitions for the future.
Nicola joined the team at Blenheim House in January this year, bringing with her 34 years’ experience of working in social care. Previously working as a regional director, covering services across up to six counties, the move to Blenheim has given Nicola the opportunity to focus on her core value of delivering a person-centred service. “Working at one site means I can focus on the residents, making sure that they get the person-centred care that they need and deserve,” explained Nicola.
“I am a passionate hands-on manager who will always put residents first. I much prefer being out of my office amongst the residents getting to know them.
“Being based solely at Blenheim House also gives me the chance to support and mentor the wonderful staff that we have and develop them.”
With the home expanding its offer from a 53-bed home to 85-beds, Nicola has big plans to make sure that the residents and their needs are always at the heart of the home. “With our person-centred approach we will find out the likes and dislikes of residents and identify what is important to them, so that we can support and care for them and make sure that they keep as much independence as they can.
“For example, we have one resident in his late nineties who is a keen gardener. He now runs our gardening club and has helped to start growing all our own vegetables, which are used in our own kitchen. You couldn’t get a carbon footprint smaller than that!”
Moving forward, Nicola and her team are looking for opportunities to involve the Melksham community more with the residents. “We want our home to be a real hub for the local people, with regular events and activities open to everyone.
“Things like art classes, yoga or Tai Chi, anything that links us directly into the local community and the interests of the residents.
“We are also planning to contact the local schools and invite them to come in and meet the residents so they can share life skills and talk to the children about what they are interested in.”
Nicola’s plans to involve the community are already off to a great start with the home soon to host its first mother and toddler group on Friday
18th August and the residents are also visited by a nursery school every week who come for lunch and stay for the afternoon.
Whilst focussing on the needs of the residents, Nicola also appreciates the importance of having a strong and supportive team to help deliver the person-centred service. “I have a whole home approach to being a manager, so everybody that works within Blenheim feels part of the team, and no-one feels isolated,” she explained.
“Everyone has the same training, for example moving and handling training and dementia training. I like all the staff to interact and build relationships with the residents. The chefs are always encouraged to come out and talk to the residents, to find out what they would like to see on the menu.”
Blenheim House is currently rated ‘Good’ by the Care Quality Commission, but Nicola wants to see this changed next time they visit. “My vision is for this home to achieve a CQC ‘Outstanding’ rating,” she said.
“Hopefully with our plans to involve the community and our continued focus on the needs of our residents, we can achieve this. It’s really exciting that we are starting to involve the community more. It is a really big piece of work.
“We have fantastic facilities, wonderful staff and we are right in the middle of a vibrant community; we need Melksham to embrace and support us.”