Our specialist care home in Wisbech has been rated as “outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission, following an inspection. Conifer Lodge was also rated as good for being safe, being caring and providing effective care and outstanding for being responsive to the needs of its residents and being well-led.
Conifer Lodge, in North Brink, cares for men with learning disabilities or mental health issues. It is a nurse-led residential service for people who require ongoing assessment and treatment.
The CQC inspectors reported that people living in the home, which is run by The Huntercombe Group, received kind and compassionate care and support from a team who understood their needs and the things that were important to them. People were put at the heart of the service. Staff empowered residents to be involved in the assessment, planning and review of their care; they respected and acted upon peoples’ wishes, ideas and suggestions; they supported them in the least restrictive ways, often finding creative and innovative ways to help them live as full a life as possible.
Residents were able to take an active part in a wide range of pastimes and interests. Access and involvement in the community was promoted, including volunteer work that helped to boost their confidence and wellbeing.
Residents and their relatives and external health and social care professionals all spoke highly of the care provided by the team. One resident said: “I am happy here and I chose to come here [from another health care service].” Feedback from relatives included: “Feels like a family. It gives us peace of mind. Conifer Lodge is very, very special.” A social care professional emailed the Home Manager to say, “Without your support we would really have struggled to keep [resident] safe. I recognise how you have gone above and beyond what we could have asked.”
The inspectors reported that Health and Social Care Professionals who they contacted were unanimous in their praise for the leadership of the Home Manager, who they said led by example and inspired staff to support people in an open and honest culture. They also said that it was evident that staff were very motivated and proud of the service they worked at.
The manager and staff were always looking at ways to stretch and challenge their knowledge and skills to better support the people they cared for. For example, to have a greater understanding of what it was like for people to live with limited verbal communication skills, they had a day when they could speak to residents and visitors but had to find non-verbal ways of communicating with other colleagues. This gave them insights into how better they could support people to with limited verbal skills to engage.
There were sufficient staff on duty with the right mix of skills and experience to meet residents’ care needs and they were supported with management oversight and ongoing training and development opportunities. They were trained in positive behaviour support, which is a person-centred approach to supporting people who display or are at risk of displaying behaviours which challenge. It involves understanding the reasons for the behaviour and considering the person as a whole – including their life history, physical health and emotional needs – to implement ways of supporting them and to reduce reliance on medication.