The Springhill Care Admiral Nurse Service Evaluation Report - Blog by Jakki Whitehead

The Overview


In September 2018 the first Admiral Nurse Service Evaluation Report for Riversway Nursing Home was been published by Dementia UK (see report below). 


This report looks at the work I have done as an Admiral Nurse at Riversway Nursing Home from January 2017 - April 2018 and was guided and co-written by Laura, Research and Evaluation Officer from Dementia UK.



  • The service had caseload numbers of 34 residents and 55 family members

  • 9 members of staff have become Dementia Champions

  • 64% of staff have completed Dementia Awareness Training (which I have written and delivered) 

  • 59% of residents have a completed ‘This Is Me’ document (which forms a baseline for life history work)

  • Staff’s confidence and competence in delivering person-centred dementia care has increased.

  • A new forget me not cafe has been established, bringing together residents, their families and care home staff.


The original key objectives were for the Admiral Nurse

  • to work with residents with complex needs associated with dementia and to support their relatives.

  • enabling excellent relationship-centred care in a nursing home environment, working with resident, relative and paid carer

  • and training Dementia Champions to raise awareness of best practice and to facilitate this being carried out.


In order to prove that these objectives were being met Laura and I made a list of evaluation questions such as: Is the Admiral Nurse having an impact on other professionals through supporting best practice?


We also used indicators to prove that that the required outcomes were being met using the Care Fit for VIPS audit outcomes; numbers of This is Me documents filled in; numbers of people trained at both level 1 and 2; results from research questionnaires and results from focus groups held by Laura with staff, residents and relatives.


I wrote a case study to illustrate how I worked with a resident and family with complex care needs.  The conclusions were very positive with data showing that the home had noticeably shifted their practice to be more person centred.


I think we have more understanding of the residents, and… Have a different approach, if it makes sense?” 

Focus Group participants, Senior Care Home Staff


The forget me not cafe was highly rated and helps to encourage better relationships between staff, residents and families.


But also they [the families] find confidence in the fact that the Admiral Nurse holds the cafés, which is also always available, and she has groups with the residents as well, so shes available to them and they have confidence in her and talk about the conditions.

Focus Group participant, Service Managers


The Dementia Champions were recognised as pivotal to instigating change.


I spoke to the Dementia Champions and they are committed to taking action to create a care system that has compassion and respect for those using its services. They told me they had many discussions and meetings to gain insight and knowledge and were generally supported by the Admiral Nurse. They felt far more confident and understood much more about dementia.

External Auditor


I feel privileged to have been part of this process at Riversway and I am very pleased to have this report as proof of actions taken.


by Jakki Whitehead, Admiral Nurse


The Springhill Care Admiral Nurse Service Evaluation report 


















Part 2 Next month - The Springhill Care Admiral Nurse Service Evaluation Report - The Details



Developing meaningful partnerships by Mike Lakins

Over the last few years Registered Nurses have diminished in numbers, fortunately being an innovative company that strives for positive outcomes, we have taken the opportunity to investigate all our options.

As a result of this, we are working closely with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to address this by securing the first stage of a career pathway for those Senior Health Care Assistants and Team Leaders wishing to pursue a career in nursing on a two year Assistant Practitioner (AP) Programme offered by UCLan with a view to progressing on to a Nursing Apprenticeship.  

Assistant Practitioners must possess personal qualities, values and behavioural competencies that are so intrinsically important here at Springhill.  

As an innovative care provider we recognise that effective frontline leadership is vital to our continued success; it is hardly surprising that all of our Assistant Practitioners students are ‘hand-picked’ for their commitment to upholding our core values of kindness, respect, compassion, dignity, integrity and trust. They are exceptional communicators, they continually demonstrate that they can work on their own initiative, they promote equality, diversity and inclusion at all times and they put our residents at the centre of their care encouraging their involvement – the impact of this role is massive to the business particularly in supporting our Registered Nurses.     

The Assistant Practitioner students will develop their clinical and academic knowledge so that under the supervision of our Registered Nurses and in line with company protocols, they will be able to carry out particular tasks to support our residents here at Springhill.

Developing such meaningful partnerships with the University of Central Lancashire and Springhill Care Group is essential in securing our vision for the future – it clearly demonstrates the ethos of Springhill to support the staff to achieve their aspirations through innovative learning and development as we recognise that whilst we may be a market leader, we are part of an ever changing sector. 


By Mike Lakins

Head of Learning & Development 



Mental Health Awareness by Virginia Perkins

The topic of mental illness is becoming more widespread particularly with current statistics indicating that approximately one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.

So what actually is a mental illness and how do we know whether we have a mental illness or indeed an emotional problem?

It is hard to narrow a mental illness to one particular category as there are more than 200 classified forms. We may have heard of some of the more common disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia and anxiety but how do we recognise the signs that we need help and who we go to.

Problems may start when individuals are exposed to excessive stress due to a particular situation or series of events, a reaction to environmental stresses, genetic factors or biochemical imbalances, or a combination of these.

We may think that we are fine but if we start to experience sudden changes in thoughts, behaviours and mood which includes one or more of the following, then help should be sought. Symptoms of a mental illness can include confused thinking, prolonged depression (feeling sadness), feelings of extreme highs and lows, excessive fears and worries, social withdrawal, dramatic changes in eating habits, sleep issues, strong feelings of anger, seeing or hearing things that aren’t there, suicidal thoughts and substance abuse.

If you experience any of these symptoms it is important to seek help and support.

This can be from a friends and family support network, but if this is not possible and you don’t have anybody to ask, please speak to the HR team so we can direct you confidentially to the right place or to local self-help groups.

Just to remind staff that at Springhill Care Group we have invested in the Employee Assistance Programme which provides 24 hour confidential counselling, six free face-to-face sessions per employee and referrals. Their website also contains a free online health portal that offers lots of techniques to improve health and wellbeing.

This is a free benefit for our staff and their family members that reside at their home address.

For more intense support we can offer Occupational Health whereby reasonable adjustments can be made to support you through a difficult time. We will be holding our next round of health check days conducted by our registered nurses, of which a big focus will be on educating and raising awareness of mental health, so we encourage you to attend.

Furthermore, following attendance at the Lancashire Care Association conference last week, it actually highlighted the seriousness of mental illness, and in particular noting that one of the highest occupational risks for suicide is those working within the care sector.

It is World Mental Health Day on 10th October 2018 which is all about raising awareness of mental health issues around the world. Please don’t suffer in silence, speak to somebody that you trust; your line manager or the HR Team can help and signpost you to get help.



Please remember that it’s good to talk and people will be there to help you.


Below is a list of some of the support networks that you can access.


Springhill Care Group Employee Assistance Programme - Tel: 0800 030 5182 or website:

Anxiety U.K. - Tel: 03444 775 774 (Mon-Fri 9.30 am - 5.30 pm)

Bipolar U.K. website:

CALM - Campaign Against Living Miserably Website:

Depression Alliance - Website:

Mencap Learning Disabilities - Tel: 0808 808 1111

Men’s Health Foundation - Website:

Mental Health Foundation - Website:

Mind - Tel: 0300 123 3393 Website:

No Panic (sufferers of panic attacks) - Tel: 0844 967 4848

OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) - Tel: 0845 390 6232

Rape Crisis - Tel: 0808 802 9999

Relate (relationship support) - Website:

Samaritans - Tel: 116 123 (free 24 hour helpline)

Victim support - Tel: 0808 168 9111




by Virginia Perkins 

Associate Director of People and Organisational Development 




Creating transparency and trust by Virginia Perkins

As a Human Resources professional, I always try and lead by example and act as a role model in the organisation, in a bid to continue being viewed as a trusted employee who operates transparently and above all fairly; to promote a genuine relationship of mutual trust with employees in order to build a better workplace. 


However, it goes much further than this as we recognise that transparency and trust needs to permeate every one of our leader’s actions and be executed throughout their everyday behaviour.  Creating transparency and trust is an essential ingredient in forming the basis of all relationships and interactions. 


At Springhill Care Group our culture is guided by our core values, of which trust is one.  In order to keep improving on our journey to high performing and outstanding, it has been essential for our leaders to understand what the phrase “creating transparency and trust” means so that this can be part of their everyday practise and measured against the company’s leadership standard. 


When leaders ensure that there is a constant level of trust at all levels within the organisation and are active role models, leading by example in everything they do, a number of benefits can be seen. 


These can range from better team cohesion, improved morale and increased productivity.  


Within our business we continuously build trust in our leadership team by encouraging each other  to do this through actions and not words, some of which is conducted on a daily basis.  Our actions include taking ownership of our mistakes or issues, viewing them as learning opportunities and being open and honest with our communication, making sure there is regular two way dialogue between leaders and people at all levels. 


By making sure our leaders continue to engage in transparent business practices, giving and receiving feedback and ensuring policies and procedures are applied fairly, this will only assist us to increase trust and transparency across the Springhill Care Group.



Virginia Perkins

Associate Director

People and Organisational Development




Values based recruitment by Virginia Perkins

Early on in my HR career, I learnt the importance of recruiting the right people for the company in which I worked. 


Not only did I look out for people with the right values, skills, know ledge and experience to work in the company, but also had an eye for how they would fit in with the culture and particular team they would be assigned to.  


People often assume when a new employee doesn’t work out that the employee couldn’t do their job or they didn't have the right experience, but in my experience it usually has something to do with the person’s personality and approach to the job and how they are welcomed by the team.  That is why it is so important when recruiting that we appoint talent who fit the culture of the company because it can make it harder for those employees who do fit.  This can lead to teamwork problems and eventually performance issues.  


In the care industry, I acknowledge that staff can come and go from time to time but at Springhill Care we must continue with our values based recruitment to employ like-minded, values driven people with a passion to care at their very core. Recently, we have welcomed a large number of new employees to the team who have all been selected via our values based recruitment practice.  So it is important to consider that when recruiting in volume and integrating them into the workforce, this can also present potential problems.   


In my role it is essential that the management team are on board to embrace this new talent into the workforce, but more importantly to ensure that their transition from the very start of their recruitment journey is seamless in order to achieve better retention. We attract great people to work in our business, now our focus is on retaining this talent by getting our basics right. 


Our new employees receive a great induction which includes all the necessary mandatory training required by law to work in the care sector, in addition to ensuring all necessary paperwork is completed and being assigned a buddy.  It can be daunting for a new employee to join an experienced team, but it doesn’t have to be and that’s why we are communicating to the wider workforce, the importance of welcoming our new employees by displaying an excellent attitude underpinned by our core values, whether it be to one individual or a group of ten.  By doing this, new employees will be engaged quickly and enjoy working in a company that heavily promotes its values to ensure the highest standards of care and support is delivered to our residents.


Virginia Perkins

Associate Director

People and Organisational Development



Awards & Accreditations




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