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Exceptional team members are care award winners

7th June 2017

Two team members from Wentworth Court Nursing Home have been recognised for their outstanding contribution by winning awards at this year’s Gloucestershire Care Providers Association (GCPA) awards.

Activities coordinator Suzanne Meadows was successful in the Making a Difference for Dementia category and practice nurse educator, Drew Ennett-Saunders was honoured in the Inspiring Leadership category.

Over 70 nominations were received for the awards from care homes across Gloucestershire.

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In the Making a Difference for Dementia category, the criteria stated that ‘the award will be given to a nominee who has demonstrated making a difference to people with any form of dementia, showing a high level of expertise and delivering real outcomes.’ Suzanne was awarded for her development of the home’s stunning dementia-friendly garden.

In the Inspiring Leadership category, judges were looking for ‘an outstanding individual whose leadership has resulted in an exceptional outcome for clients and team members.’ Drew impressed the judges with his inspiring approach to training and development including a commitment to ensuring that every team member undertakes learning and a qualification in dementia training.

Home Manager Kate Stevens said: “All of our team at Wentworth Court are winners, who demonstrate an exceptional commitment to the care of our residents every day. However, we are delighted that both the nominations that we put forward for the first time at the GCPA awards were successful. It’s great that the contribution made by these two outstanding colleagues has been recognised.”

Suzanne’s winning nomination

Suzanne Meadows is activities coordinator at Wentworth Court Nursing Home and every day makes a difference to the lives of those living with dementia at our home.

In particular, one project has had a significant impact on daily life at the home and is an excellent example of the inclusive and thoughtful approach taken by Suzanne to make a difference for people with dementia.

Suzanne has led a project to transform an outside space of rough grass at Wentworth Court into a beautiful sensory garden.

The garden provides an attractive place for residents to relax, and thus helps to deescalate anxious behaviours and enables freedom to wander within the safe confines of the space. Families also like to spend time with their loved ones in the garden, which is planted with flowers, herbs and vegetables. It provides a focal point for conversations with residents and triggers memories. Residents on the ground floor can access the garden from their rooms and are encouraged to have their own pots planted with favourite flowers or maybe strawberry or tomato plants.

The idea for the garden came from visits led by Suzanne to the Butterfly Garden at Dundry Nursery. Chris Evans and his team at the nursery have offered advice and support.

Suzanne developed a project groups consisting of her activities team, including one lady who has won prizes for gardening, a dementia expert, local volunteers, residents, their families and
gardener/handyman.

Sessions were led with the residents and their families to decide what the garden should look like and to choose plants and herbs. Fragrant plants were preferred plus favourites recalled from home gardens including roses, camellias and fruit trees.

Suzanne applied for a Small Sparks grant from the Barnwood Trust to help with tools for the garden and to create a ‘man shed’ where male residents can potter and help with activities such as making and painting bird boxes – increasing a feeling of usefulness and in some cases guiding carers and staff on how things should be done.

Herbs and vegetables grown by the team and residents are tended for therapeutic benefits plus are used in cooking at the home. A greenhouse provides a space for potting and germinating seeds and ripening tomatoes.

Chickens have been introduced to the garden, have been named by the residents who also help with feeding. They provide a talking point and focus when sat in the garden, and their eggs are used by the home’s kitchen team.

Suzanne and her team led a launch event at the home in autumn 2016 attended by Cheltenham MP, Alex Chalk. The garden draws much praise and is an essential part of the home.

Weather permitting, the garden is well-loved and used on a daily basis, whether for relaxing or for engaging in daily tasks by residents.

We would highly recommend Suzanne Meadows for the ‘making a difference to dementia’ award fora project that has greatly enriched the lives of our residents.

Drew’s winning nomination

Drew Ennett-Saunders is our training manager, a member of the leadership team at Wentworth Court and has an instrumental role in supporting the home manager and the rest of the team. With extensive experience from within the care sector, including a background in social work, nursing and home management, Drew has made a huge difference to our working lives.

Drew’s personal qualities as a kind, supportive, approachable and knowledgeable leader who empowers our team of carers, nurses, support staff and managers to be the best they can be.

In terms of what Drew has achieved since he began working with us last year, he has sourced and implemented training for the team including NVQs, diploma courses, Red Crier and Local Authority courses plus NCFE training programmes in dementia care medication management and end of life care plus has overseen revalidation for nursing staff.

Drew has implemented an apprenticeship programme for five apprentices each year who benefit from training and support alongside hands-on learning. The first two apprentices will complete their programme this summer and have been offered full-time caring roles at our home. He is committed to inspiring the next generation entering the care industry, and confidence and knowledge that they have gained this year will provide them with an excellent starting point for their future careers.

Drew has also developed relationships with local schools including All Saints Academy in Cheltenham who spent a day at the home learning about dementia and shadowing the team.

Drew has drawn down over £69,000 of funding for training staff from the European Social Fund for skills training for all the team to increase their dementia understanding and knowledge. There is a further £60,000 funding in the pipeline for additional professional development.

As a result of the investment in dementia training, the whole team have increased their knowledge and understanding of the residents we care for. Predictive training has led to improvement in individualised care plans and response training has de-escalated difficult behaviour. We have seen measurable results in a decrease in 999 calls and hospital admissions, a reduction in the number of residents requiring one-to-one care and a reduction in medication as residents’ behaviours are embraced and understood.

Drew is also highly-respected in the wider care community and is often asked to deliver seminar and talks. Most recently, he provided a session for Gloucestershire County Council on Skills for Care for managers within the care sector. The session focused on good practice in relation to the recruitment and retention of staff and the importance of staff training and empowerment.

We are inundated with CVs every week as the word has spread that Wentworth Court is a great place work!

We highly recommend that Drew is acknowledged for his inspirational leadership that has had a real impact on the lives of our team and residents.