CARE HEROES AWARDS SHORTLIST: Care Home Hero Innovation, sponsored by apetito


This category honours innovations by individuals or teams which helped ensure that service users continued to receive outstanding care during the pandemic.

The innovative use of digital technology has been key to keeping residents in touch with their loved ones during the pandemic as well as helping to provide quality, person-centred care in a safe environment. Nominees have also thought outside the box to provide fun activities in the most difficult of circumstances in order to boost mental and physical well-being.

The finalists are:

Story continues below

Valerie Manor, Upper Beeding, West Sussex

NOMINATED BY Outstanding Society, Board Member and Owner and Registered Manager of Valerie Manor, Zoe Fry

I would like to nominate the team, our GPs and pharmacist, our residents, relatives and community for this award. Since March everyone has worked tirelessly together to ensure the safety, physical and mental well-being of our residents and staff.

We have had regular Zoom meetings with relatives, staff, our GPs and pharmacist and have involved them in every decision that we have made. Relatives even wrote our visitors policy with me!

The below quotes were submitted to the CQC – you can imagine our delight when our inspector sent it to us during COVID: “Valerie Manor is an exceptionally well run care home. During the pandemic its staff and management have operated with a high level of professionalism and care for the residents. Great care has been taken to meet the residents’ psychological needs in this crisis, as well as taking every possible step to protect them from infection. This has been a great reassurance in a time of national crisis. Zoe Fry has been nothing short of remarkable in this situation. She has been diligent in keeping relatives up to date with their relative’s welfare and the ever changing PHE guidance. We are very grateful to everyone there.” – Relative

“Valerie Manor is a brilliant place. It has owners and managers who are working around the clock to ensure that their staff and residents are safe during this pandemic. I feel that they have always been one step ahead of the game to ensure that they are the safest they can be.” – Staff Member

Orchard Care Homes

NOMINATED BY Senior PR & Marketing Account Manager, Sue Colby

When the UK government announced a national lockdown due to the spread of coronavirus, this had a huge impact on every business and industry imaginable but represented a particularly challenging time for those involved in the healthcare sector. Under intense pressure and unique circumstances, Orchard Care Homes managed to continue providing high-quality care to its service users and their families. They are particularly worthy of recognition for the innovative ideas and initiatives they rolled out to keep spirits high amongst those in their care, as well as the influence this had on other care providers across the UK.

In total, Orchard Care Homes achieved 86 separate pieces of positive media coverage during the first 12 weeks of the coronavirus lockdown. More than 3 million views on social media platforms were achieved by Lansbury Court in Sunderland, who went viral on social media after providing residents with lockdown karaoke. All Orchard Care Home social media pages were filled with initiatives such as group dances featuring members of staff and patients throughout this time, keeping spirits high amongst both residents and our workforce.

Most impressive of all was the response to a socially distanced birthday party held for a resident at Eckington Court, who beat coronavirus and turned 100 in the same week. This story, and a video of the day was featured on the Daily Mail and the BBC, including an interview with Orchard Care Homes staff on the national BBC Breakfast television show, with an estimated audience of 2.3 million viewers.

Neil Smith, Graphic Designer, Shaw healthcare

NOMINATED BY Shaw Head of Marketing & Communications, Sean Tregonning

Neil dealt, first hand, with the resident’s families who were frustrated by visiting restrictions. He showed empathy and used his creativity to create a great tech idea in the “Virtual Postcard” that can be accessed from the front page of Shaw’s website

He understood the importance of communication, engagement and relationships and acted on it. He created a link for families and loved ones. Families could click on a button, select a care home and type the loved ones name and message and they received that message within the hour of it being sent.

Feedback has been great and during these strange days, Neil’s idea was a beacon of light for those who were not able to see their loved ones. The warm feeling it created among families and residents was one thing but the employees could see what care meant to Shaw healthcare; they felt they were mitigating the sense of remoteness.


NOMINATED BY Belong Newcastle under Lyme, General Manager, Peter Norman

During the COVID-19 pandemic Belong Newcastle under Lyme (NUL) as an entire village team have adapted to new methods of working to provide safe care and support whilst maintaining Belong’s core values and ethos. Customers have continued to live daily life in a manner that is creative and vibrant in every way possible during these difficult times. We have used our cutting edge electronic systems to maintain communications with family members through the use of video calls and messaging through our electronic care planning system.

We have been able to achieve outcomes with regards to rehabilitation by our Belong appointed Fitness instructor facilitating video link exercise classes for our customers, socially distanced chair based exercises for all customers living within the services and also adapted our activity programme to facilitate a more individualised service. We have undertaken a socially distanced Belong Olympics day, where residents and staff were encouraged to make costumes and later participate in individual events such as dressage, javelin and egg and spoon racing.  These activities were meticulously thought out to ensure that social distancing could be maintained throughout and that any equipment used was sanitised and managed effectively. This added additional pressures on the teams, however, the additional teamwork only strengthened our commitment to our customers and significantly increased the well-being of those previously isolated or shielding.

Not once have the team failed to deliver the desired outcomes and the well-being of customers and staff has been maintained because of this.

Be More Festival, Majesticare

NOMINATED BY Majesticare Head of Innovation and Happiness, Caren Burton

Chris Guest and the team at Blenheim House Care Home have taken Majesticare’s ‘Continue Being Me’ philosophy a step further to develop their very own ‘Be More Festival’. Leading the way in innovative life enrichment opportunities, the Be More Festival ignites the imagination with a week of unique and stimulating activities designed to be enjoyed by residents and staff together, encouraging residents and staff to try new challenges, learn new skills and discover new passions – the Be More Festival has helped staff and residents alike to create new bonds and friendships.

Although the festival was planned before we had any knowledge of the current pandemic, instead of cancelling the festival (as it was planned to incorporate relatives and the local community on site) it was adapted. The team believe that the stimulation and life enrichment of residents and staff was just as important during these times, if not more so, so the festival went forward, albeit an adapted version to that planned initially. Both staff and residents were encouraged to share their passions and hobbies and run workshops throughout the week with resident and staff-led activities. All activities are designed to target the mind, body or soul to ensure a robust set of activities that will appeal to everyone and address different areas of our well-being. This year this has included Be More Drone Racing (drone racing in the garden), Be More Travelled (using our virtual reality tours) and Be More Carnival (a carnival including the coronation of the carnival king and queen).

Tags : Care Heroes

The author Lee Peart

Leave a Response