EXCLUSIVE: Outstanding home just got better

Forest Healthcare’s Bridgeside Lodge Care Centre has gone two better with its second Outstanding in two years. The Islington nursing home went from two to four Outstanding KLOEs following its latest inspection in September. CHP asked Home Manager Fatma Makalo how she did it.

“It’s great to receive an Outstanding,” Fatma said.

“It’s an amazing feeling. It’s a confirmation of what we do and deliver on a daily basis.”

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Bridgeside provides nursing care for a wide range of specialist needs, including neurological and spinal conditions, dementia and end of life care.

The home was praised by inspectors for its strong focus on person centred care.

Fatma told me being flexible and structuring care provision during the day around residents’ preferences and needs was key at Bridgeside.

“People are very informed about their care needs and they know better than we do so we have to let them teach us what works for them,” she said.

“It’s about being one big community and one big home.”

Fatma and her team actively engage residents and their families in the service in order to provide the best possible care.

Regular meetings are held with them so they can express their views and concerns.

The service also encourages feedback as a way of developing best practice.

“I have an open door policy on complaints,” Fatma told me.

“We rarely have them because the residents are actively involved in everything.”

Residents are consulted on everything from decorating their rooms to gardening, with Fatma making sure she speaks to everyone on a regular basis.

Tasting sessions are held every three to six months to get feedback on food.

The service offers cooked food as well as meals provided by health and social care food specialist apetito to suit all preferences.

Bridgeside is on the Regent's Canal

Bridgeside is on the Regent’s Canal

The home’s People Like Me initiative helps embed connections between carers and residents with the same interests and preferred activities.

Staff invest time in taking part in meaningful activities with residents whether that be accompanying them on a trip to the seaside for the day, going out for lunch or a night out in the West End.

Bridgeside has also adopted the FISH philosophy, a technique promoting fun at work to make staff alert and active in the workplace, and partners with care home culture change consultancy Ladder to the Moon.

Forest Healthcare CEO Paul Musgrave said: “Fatma does an amazing job of leading a person-centred approach to the centre, where staff build meaningful relationships with the residents, always going the extra mile to deliver excellent service.”

Bridgeside has also cultivated strong links with community organisations. Charitable Trust Spitz provides participatory music sessions at the home and children from two local nurseries also play regular visits. Volunteers also come in to share their pets with residents.

“We encourage anything that is fun,” Fatma said.

While Fatma ensures her staff are fully trained, she stressed that the right values are upmost when recruiting new people.

“There’s no training for kindness and being compassionate,” Fatma said.

While the sector as a whole finds it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain carers and nurses, Fatma told me staffing was not a problem at Bridgeside.

There are no agency staff employed at the service.

Vacancies are filled by word of mouth via staff, friends and even residents’ family recommendations.

She said the strong support of local GPs, hospitals and commissioning groups was key to the service’s success.

The Geriatric Consultant and the Integrated Community Ageing Team (ICAT) team from UCLH is regularly at the home and Bridgeside also provides valuable work experience to student nurses.

The home introduced Person Centred Software’s mobile care monitoring system in March.

“It’s really good,” Fatma said.

“It’s working well and is very accurate. Whenever there’s a new thing it takes time for everybody to get the concept of it. It gives the staff a lot more free time to do activities with the residents.”

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