Creating a culture of Continuous Improvement at Springhill Care

At Springhill Care Group the passion to develop a culture of continuous improvement has really started to gather momentum.  This has particularly been evident through the latest Investors in People (IiP) Steering Group meetings where discussions to improve the business and provide fantastic career opportunities for our valued workforce are very much part of our long term ambition. 


It is evident that all of our leaders strive for continuous success and more notably, as a care organisation that does not become complacent, the senior leadership team want to further empower our leaders to build on recent achievements by aiming for the next level as we embark on our journey to lead the care sector. 


As identified within the IiP assessment we already outperform the care sector on every measure but we want to build on that success to achieve the Platinum standard by the next assessment.  Furthermore, our leaders are being supported and encouraged to prepare to work and operate within the outstanding arena of the CQC framework. 


There is a lot of work to do to achieve our vision of becoming an employer and service provider of choice but nevertheless we continue with our drive to be as successful as we can be.  In order for our workforce to understand how they fit into the bigger picture, the IiP Steering Group is busily working to create a set of stretching competencies for each job role within the organisation.  We had to start by understanding and identifying what excellence looks like for Springhill Care Group, for example putting our customers first and providing a life not just a service; CQC outstanding accreditation for each of our Homes; putting our people first; IiP Platinum for the workforce; financial viability and data integrity. 


We now have to start developing our front line leaders, for example our registered nurses, assistant nurse practitioners, senior health care assistants and supervisors across the Group.  The purpose of this area of development is to build their competence in taking ownership, understanding what is possible and supply them with the power to produce the desired effect in managing their staff teams effectively.  With everybody understanding how they contribute to the vision, mission and values of the organisation, Springhill Care Group will continue to improve as a business, as an environment where our residents are provided with a life and how we as a business can grow and become an employer of choice.


This is not only an extremely exciting time but also very much rewarding as every valued employee will actually understand how they contribute to achieving excellence across every area within the organisation.  


Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection. Get a little bit better every day.


By Virginia Perkins

Associate Director

People and Organisational Development


Communication in the workplace

Throughout my career, I have always understood the importance of effective communication in the workplace at all levels, particularly working for a company that operates across a geographically dispersed area. 

Being able to communicate effectively is the most important of all life skills and we should embrace the impact of positive communication at all times.

Basically, communication is simply the act of transferring information from one place to another and that’s why the vision, mission and values of Springhill Care Group are communicated by the Board of Directors to every employee throughout the company, to ensure the workforce understands the aspirations of the company.  Without this communication the workforce would not be aware of the direction to head in and ultimately unable to achieve the vision of becoming a service provider and employer of choice. 

Springhill is proud to have a set of behavioural competencies which emphasises the importance of communication, and guides employees to adapt style and content to suit the situation and audience, showing good awareness of how others may respond. 

At Springhill we always encourage open and honest communication with others and to be ultimately professional in all dealings.  We encourage each employee to communicate effectively with the residents in our care, relatives, managers, colleagues and key stakeholders. 

Good communication often starts with being a good listener and is one of the best ways to be a good communicator.  Active listening involves paying attention to what the other person is saying and this is so important when responding not only to our residents’ needs but also to each other across the company.

Those employees who frequently attend meetings or indeed are an ambassador for Springhill Care in the wider arena, whether it be supporting a resident at a hospital appointment, a relatives’ meetings or in attendance at internal and external meetings, should be displaying positive body language.  This is particularly important for those employees responsible for leading others. 

Employees should convey a friendly tone to appear approachable, retain eye contact and a calm tone to encourage others to speak only with you.  Through a friendly tone, a personal question, or simply a smile, will encourage fellow employees to engage in open and honest communication with you. It's important to be polite and respectful in all your workplace communications.  This is important in both face-to-face and written communication. When you can personalise your emails to employees, a quick "I hope you all had a good weekend" at the start of an email can personalise a message and make the recipient feel more appreciated.

Displaying empathy even when you disagree with a colleague is important as it shows that you understand and respect their point of view.   It also demonstrates that you have been listening to the other person and respect their opinions.

By displaying positive communication at all levels that is underpinned by our core values we can make Springhill Care a better place to work.


  “Communication works for those who work at it.”


By Virginia Perkins, Head of Human Resources


Six months into my Admiral Nurse journey - Latest Blog by Jakki Whitehead

I have now been in post as an Admiral Nurse at Riversway for just over six months.  Last October I had my induction where we looked at the aims of Admiral Nursing:


*Improving relatives’ wellbeing through adjustment to diagnosis and coping with a caring role

*Improving the wellbeing and quality of life of the person with dementia

*Enhancing colleagues’ knowledge and experience of working with relatives and people with dementia

*Theoretical underpinnings.

I also identified five areas within my job role: complex care needs; promotion of mental health needs; management; training and meaningful activity. The last  two I knew would be enhanced considerably by the new training and activity coordinators, Natalia and Marilisa.

In order to ensure that my ideas for developing the service were in line with what was required by the directors, staff, residents and families at Riversway, Laura, the Research and Evaluation Officer from Dementia UK, asked me to do a questionnaire to identify key areas and priorities for these stakeholder groups. What was interesting as a result was that we identified that relatives and residents were prioritising quality outcomes whereas the staff were asking for the tools to provide the outcomes.


The initial plan following this was to:

*Do baseline audits within the home for dementia care

*Develop a Dementia Champion programme in order to train 10 Dementia Champions within Riversway

*Improvement in the use of life stories and promoting the use of the This Is Me document

*Group work with residents and relatives

*Continue with training dementia care to all staff

*Continue working with supporting residents with complex care needs and their relatives

Over the last six months a lot of work has gone into place. We have looked at the Social Care and the NHS Outcomes and the CQC Frameworks to ensure that what was being planned fitted in with recognised good practice.  Presentation power points have been written, initial audits have been completed and Marilisa, Natalia and I have discussed training and meaningful activity needs within the home.


So where are we 6 months on?

The Dementia Champions course has now had its fourth meeting. 

The first was at a ‘virtual dementia tour’. Jan, my manager, agreed for all of our champions to attend this course where participants use clothing and items, such as gloves and dark glasses, to help them experience what it might be like to have dementia and some accompanying sensory impairment.


All of us agreed that the experience was very powerful and immediately helped us to relate to some of the residents within the home. Natalia has booked the tour specifically for Riversway in the near future so that 24 more of Riversway staff can put themselves in the shoes of those with dementia.


The other sessions so far have looked at statistics regarding dementia; practical information involving the different types of dementia and the required role of the Dementia Champions as:

*Leaders in dementia care within the home

*Role modelling established and proven good practice

*Carers who are in touch with their own feelings of compassion and empathy

*Carers who understand the importance of good dementia care for residents and relatives within the home

*Carers who are prepared to take time to look for messages behind certain behaviours. 

The carers involved have been chosen for their abilities to relate and communicate well and have shown a great interest and involvement in the work so far. Two projects to enhance the experience, will be rolling out Dementia Friends across the home and also using This Is Me as a way to develop life story work.


Finally today Riversway held the first Forget Me Not cafe run by Marilisa and I where relatives and residents are invited to come to share cake and coffee whilst chatting with staff about residents’ life histories. This helps the staff to get to know the residents well in order to help meet their needs and maintain their identity.


The other benefit of the cafe is to allow relatives to meet with volunteers and staff who understand the difficulties of walking with dementia, giving support as needed. One relative commented that he had been helped a lot within five minutes of arriving.


The cafe today was very successful and I’d like to thank everyone who participated in any way: the residents and relatives who came to join and support us at the first event; Alan, our volunteer, who shares his experiences so generously; the staff who made it happen and of course Simon and his catering team who provided such great cakes! 

Our next Forget Me Not cafe is on Tuesday 20th June at 10.30.



Team work at Springhill Care Group by Virginia Perkins

We hear all the time that good team work is essential to achieving shared success when we are working towards that same goal.  When you feel like you’re a valued team member, you’re more likely to do the best work you can.  It is no different at Springhill Care Group and working together within the healthcare sector is even more important, in the current climate, to foster good team relations to help, support and improve the service we provide to the vulnerable people in our care.


Teamwork in healthcare requires constant communication, regardless of our respective roles, so that we can ultimately be a part of and contribute to the business to ensure we achieve our vision of being the best service provider and employer of choice in the communities we serve.


By working together we can become more efficient, particularly if there is a problem faced along the way, there are more people to help solve the issue.  At Springhill Care you will have noticed that we frequently set up specific project teams to address challenges within the working environment or to identify and improve ways of working, for example the Employee Voice and Rota Management Group.  We do this as it allows us to get the work done faster with shared responsibilities.  From a management perspective, encouraging teamwork at Springhill Care allows us to take on additional work and in turn generate new ideas that contribute to achieving our vision and mission.  Great teamwork fosters improved communication and creates a better working environment.


We constantly promote positive teamwork through the Company’s Staff Code of Conduct by expecting our workforce to show commitment and participate fully in achieving team initiatives and goals.  We encourage individuals to make an effort to ensure relations within the team are positive and there is a good team atmosphere but also to understand others roles and how they impact upon each other.


Alone we can do so little.

Together we can do so much!


 By Virginia Perkins, Head of Human Resources


Implications of Brexit on our Workforce by Virginia Perkins

Almost 12 months ago, in June 2016 we saw the UK voting to leave the European Union in an unprecedented referendum, so what are the implications for the Springhill Group’s workforce. 


After attending several employment law updates over the past several months, the real consequences of the vote are still very much unclear.  Now the country gears up to vote in a snap general election scheduled to take place on 8th June 2017 due to claims that divisions within the Houses of Parliament are at risk of hampering the Brexit negotiations. 


So what does this all mean for our valued workforce, particularly bearing in mind that we have a significant number of European employees working across the Springhill Care Group.  The good news is that there are strong indications that, after the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 that the government will grant a form of permanent residence to those who have resided in the UK for at least five years as a qualified person, i.e. as a worker, self-employed, self-sufficient, student or jobseeker before a cut-off date is determined.  This could be when we eventually leave the EU but it could be sooner.  It is hoped that European employees who have been living in the UK before the cut-off date but have not yet completed five years as a qualified person will be given temporary permission to stay in the UK after Brexit and given the chance to complete the five-year period. 


To ease employees’ concerns across the Springhill Care Group and help us plan for the future, we will be conducting an audit of our European employees and inviting them to communicate with us about any concerns they may have or questions to pose.  As an employer we can also offer access to credible Home Office immigration advice, so do please contact the Human Resources department for further information if you wish to discuss this area further. 


We value our diverse workforce and because at Springhill Care we have a diverse range of employees, we are well placed to understand the needs of a wide range of customers, and it also puts us in a good position to recruit and retain staff in an increasingly diverse and competitive labour market.



We will endeavour to keep you updated as soon as we hear more news about Brexit but in the meantime please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any concerns or comments.



By Virginia Perkins

Head of Human Resources 


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Springhill Care Group Limited
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Accrington, Lancashire
United Kingdom BB5 1NJ

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