Integrity, trust, kindness, dignity and respect – too much to ask?

Social Care services are rarely out of the media spotlight and occasionally we witness a highly charged and emotive event which seeks to highlight the worst possible mistreatment of our country’s most vulnerable people.

In a free and democratic society this is welcomed as an attempt towards transparency, integrity and truth to which any law abiding and compassionate citizen would wish to applaude.

The down side to this is that it also causes  fear and undermines confidence, creating a global sense that ALL our care and support services reflect this uncaring approach.

David Pearson,  President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services has attempted to offer a balanced view to the Panorama programme (Wednesday 30 April 2014) which was seen by millions of viewers, many of whom will either be users of care services or families of people who are considering care options for their loved one or currently receiving services.

David Pearson reports: ‘this case emphasises the importance of vigilantly safeguarding  the wellbeing of residents, and of ensuring that whistleblowers are always carefully listened to and protected.  Panorama has again drawn attention to the importance of sound management, and investing in the training and supervision of social care staff’.

Safeguarding, listening, effective management, staff support and supervision are at the heart of providing high standards of care. 

Those of us who manage frontline services are acutely aware that our staff, as individuals and teams, deserve the best possible person-to-person support, with managers working alongside their workers to solve problems and create a culture where every member of staff recognises their manager by name and witnesses  their involvement in frontline practice as consistent in the everyday.   

At Springhill Care all our staff receive regular, high quality training and supervision which extends to regular forums for clinical and associated staff to have an on-going dialogue about our standards of care and how we can continually update and enhance our services.  This not only increases the professional delivery of care but enables staff teams to both feel and be involved in the service delivery –‘my name is on this’ gives a sense of ownership to everything we are involved in and a collective sense of responsibility and accountability. ‘Not on my watch’ is then embraced by all in the most positive sense.

Springhill Care strives to do this through its value-based services.  Our commitment to person centred care begins with our staff – they have a right to expect that they will be treated as an individual, known by name and acknowledged, praised and rewarded for their personal contribution to the team effort.  When this is visible staff experience a personal sense of value, not only for their contribution but for who they are.  In a world which often does not see the immense good our nurses and care staff are doing every day and night of the year, this is paramount for maintaining excellent standards of care and effective staff morale. 

Our core values, which guide our mission, begin with our staff and cascade through the care we offer at all levels, extending to our families and all we are in partnership with.   A climate of openness, which extends to a real inclusion of everyone’s contribution, including residents, families and our finely tuned processes of audit and evidence based practice, increases the checks and balances so integral to a service which is designed to serve those most vulnerable in our society.

At Springhill we are aware that we are achieving much success in our many innovative practises.  Delivering complex services certainly brings its challenges  - the need to keep our values at the forefront continues to be as important as ever!  



Sanctuary at Springhill

The word ‘Sanctuary’ has been used in the English language for hundreds of years.  It has traditionally been used to describe a place where people may feel safe and experience peace and security.  Whilst these words may be felt within the human heart, sanctuary has often been linked with a space, a place – where people can experience these emotions and feelings of wellbeing within a building.

The Sanctuary at Springhill has evolved from a tiny seed of an idea to becoming a physical space where the deeper issues of life can be celebrated.  Even its name has been considered by both residents and staff members – eventually emerging as the ‘best way to describe what we want to offer’.

The Sanctuary is used as a room for private prayer and reflection – individuals are welcome to use the room at any time, which is open 24 hours a day.  Books and reading materials are available to aid reflection and the room is furnished to accommodate a sense of calm and quiet, to encourage everyone to feel at home and relax, and feel they can simply experience the peace of the environment.

We are also welcoming our local ministers from the Church of England on the first Monday of the month to celebrate the Eucharist with our residents, and each Thursday the Roman Catholic community at Springhill receive a visit from a Eucharistic minister who holds a Service of Holy Communion.

The Sanctuary offers a space for when we may have to break some sad news to relatives or to  welcome a family following a bereavement.   Following the funeral of a resident, their photograph is placed there  for some time to allow all of us  to remember their presence with us.  The room also holds monthly meetings for relatives of the people we support in the Care Centre, allowing a safe space for people  to share with each other the pain that Dementia brings.  Currently a number of staff are undertaking a course in End of Life care, which is held, very appropriately, in The Sanctuary.

We look forward to this wonderful space continuing to embrace all who wish to benefit from its peace and tranquillity.  Whilst The Sanctuary is housed in the middle of a large and busy Care Home, it is proving to be an oasis of welcome for everyone.



Come on Care Homes by Donna Briggs

Donna Briggs (Managing Director)As we all know there is a constant diatribe of news in the media about bad care and care providers are faced with the constant challenge of building a more positive profile of their Care Home and therefore the sector in general.

When attending various forums, particularly around innovative ways of working in care, a common question from the speaker, with typically negative connotations is “would you want to be in a care home when you are older?”

This happened at a recent meeting I attended and when this question was put to a room full of mostly care home providers, there was no response, silence. I then said “yes, if I could choose which one, I have a vision of how my room will look and where my wine and chocolate supply will be stored.”

Not sure this was the answer the speaker was looking for.

I would like to challenge the question and how it is put to audiences.

When asked “would you want to be in a care home when you are older?” What is going through the minds of the audience? Are they really hearing…? “Do you want your health to be as such that you will need support and care when you are older?”

I would expect the majority would respond “no” to this question.

Come on care home providers and managers, become advocates for the fantastic work that you and your colleagues carry our tirelessly day in day out. There are some fabulous care homes doing great things every day, let’s celebrate and be proud of it. Shout about it!  Speak up at meetings, get on Facebook, Twitter, tell the local press, tell the world about the good you do, if you don’t, no one is going to do it for you.

For you speakers out there, an alternative question going forward maybe “what makes a good care home?”

Donna Briggs

Managing Director

Springhill Care



Values in practice

Following on from our previous blog we discussed the importance of our Springhill values and how these permeate every aspect of our life and work.  Increasingly the general public are becoming more aware of the working practices of care facilities and have, quite rightly, a high expectation of the services we offer.  As we seek to develop the quality of all our services, we are aware that we, as providers of care, together with those who wish to access our services, we are in a valuable partnership where all are working towards achieving the highest standards of excellence.

Two of our Springhill values state:

  • We strive to be honest, transparent, fair and ethical in everything we do
  • We learn when things go wrong

Working together in partnership, the above values offer those who wish to access our services the opportunity to explore a care facility which is striving for greater transparency, honestly answering questions and at the same time encouraging all those we encounter to share in assisting us in continuous improvement.  At Springhill, we believe that many people can contribute to the process of offering high quality services, and having this honest and open approach enables us to work closely together so that relatives and friends feel they are involved in every aspect of the person’s care as appropriate.  This can be very reassuring and maintain a sense of the family continuing their support of the person, even if the person is no longer living in their own home.

The values are always challenging us to ‘put flesh on the bones’ so that we do not simply offer pleasant and reassuring words but make these actual.  Being honest and transparent means we are always ready to have a difficult conversation if necessary and we find that family members and friends appreciate an approach which has integrity at its centre. 

Rather than a ‘glossy image’ of the facilities we offer, we strive to have fairness as our touchstone and respond, rather than react, to each situation as it is presented.

At Springhill we will never be in a position to say we have achieved everything to the highest standard.  Delivering a ‘people focused’ service means we will encounter challenges – but our value based approach enables us to move forward as a team totally focused on continuous improvement with the welcome assistance of all our partners!



The values we hold so dear are very much alive and active within Springhill Care

At Springhill we recently held a reflective session to explore our company values and whether we might change some of these. 


The vision and values at Springhill are paramount in every aspect of our work.  Our aim is to ensure that our values are enshrined across the range of services we offer, whether these are in personal care services, lifestyle, housekeeping or meals.


Many care services are making the transition from more institutional forms of care to one which embraces the challenges of a person centred model of care, which constantly keeps the individual person at the centre of the care process.


In order to achieve a vibrant and inclusive service, our staff teams are encouraged to develop their own style of communication and approach which includes values such as integrity towards the person, kindness and appreciation of each individual, which opens us to see possibilities rather than problems. 



The development of a value based service is always focused on people – seeing the person as a unique individual, who has aspirations and hopes, with whom we are intrinsically involved at every level of life into which we are invited.


Emphasis is always about a holistic approach – a person may be encountering difficulties in some areas of their life, and in other areas are able to maintain independence: our role is to listen and assist where the person needs, at the same time actively encouraging, in a variety of ways, the person to live life as well as they can.


This person centred approach has a twofold effect: it enables the person using our services to feel confident in entrusting their care to us, and it also empowers our staff teams to believe that the challenges we encounter in supporting people are centred around a belief that wants people to enjoy the highest levels of support in enabling the person to be the best they can be!


Our reflection concluded that the values we hold so dear are very much alive and active amongst us – long may they remain so!



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

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