A Partnership with Relatives and Care Teams

Our Springhill Care Homes share the commitment of developing partnerships with family, friends and others who have previously been caring for people we are now supporting in our services.  At Springhill we have made a conscious decision to maintain links with significant others who have been an integral part of the individual’s life before we became involved in their support.  We also recognise that offering support to relatives and carers can help all of us who are involved towards a better understanding of the progression of an illness or condition.

Our common purpose is to provide ‘Your Care, Your Way’ in which Springhill aims to encompass the value that people we support should maintain as much control as possible over their lives.  Family, friends and people who have supported someone prior to Springhill becoming involved are an integral part of enabling the person to establish themselves into our service, and can provide invaluable information about the person we support, especially if they have a degree of memory loss.  Areas such as the person’s preferences and choices and how the person likes to be supported, all help our staff teams to get to know individuals and personalise the service we provide.  Our one page profiles, as part of our Care Plans, help us to record this vital information which can be shared appropriately with the support team.  We also encourage families of people with dementia to bring in memorable photographs and items of significance that can be used in memory boxes which can help the person identify their own room – a great feature of the independence Springhill values.

We recognise that moving into a support service – be it a Care Home or a Supported Living facility is a major step for the individual as well as family and friends.  At Springhill our managers and key staff are happy to spend time discussing the many complex areas which surround a modern care placement, including funding and the various types of care offered.  For many relatives, admission to a service can happen in the midst of crisis, and relatives and people who they have been supporting may not have had contact with care services previously. 

At Springhill we welcome visitors during the day and at other times by appointment, and are happy to discuss with relatives how they can continue to assist providing some elements of support as they wish.  We operate an inclusive policy of encouraging families and friends in assisting their loved one with care and support, always in accordance with the individual’s needs and wishes.

Successful partnerships, which work collaboratively, can share their knowledge of the person’s condition and how this might progress.  Our senior team members welcome discussion regarding plans of care and positively encourage this.  As the number of people
with Dementia increases our managers are developing relative support groups which have links to community services such as the Alzheimer’s Society and other helpful resources.  These support groups can be invaluable in supporting families and others to understand the complex progression of dementia.




Leadership values into action

In my blog about what makes a good care home or hospital the values of the organisation and the staff it employs, together with effective leadership, were seen as key elements of a good service.

It is interesting that Care Quality Commission (CQC) are beginning to home in on the effectiveness of the manager of services as a key determinant of a good or excellent service.  As part of the revised CQC Inspection process they will be asking 5 questions – Is it:-

1) safe

2) effective

3) caring

4) responsive

5) well led. 

 David Behan the CEO of CQC suggests that inspectors will be concentrating on number 5) is it well led.

So what are the key attributes of effective leadership in a care home or hospital?

  Clear values which the whole organisation signs up to

  Commitment to Core Value driving the service – equally valuing staff and residents as whole people not as labels and roles.  Compassion, dignity and valuing everyone no matter how they may present to services.

  Clarity of what is expected from the staff teams and clear standards

  Willingness to continually strive for better outcomes for people we provide services to

  Open to new ideas and ways of doing things

  Provide role models for staff – how their interact and value one another

  Commitment to individuals and understanding everyone as a whole person

  Commitment to excellence

  Openness, transparent and democratic style of management – valuing all contributions

  Walk the service, recognise and listen to staff

  Encourage and empower staff

  Recognising and rewarding excellence

  Celebrating success

  Developing supportive teams

  Accepting and learning from mistakes

 What do we look for in a good manager in relation to their staff?

  Recruiting staff with congruent values

  Respecting and affirming that everyone is a key part to play in the service

  Involving staff in running the service – supporting new ideas and ways of doing things

  Empowering staff – with career structures for nurses and carers

  Developing well led teams

  Recognise excellent

  Developing and promoting – recognising and develop talent

  Train in the skills needed

  Support through supervision and coaching

  Offer opportunities for apprentices etc.


In Springhill, Directors work hard to ensure that we recruit and develop people from within the services who share the above values so that we have congruency throughout out services.  Providing a care service is a very complex task with a wide range of legislative requirements not only from CQC but also Health and Safety, Fire, Environmental Health and Water Authorities.  A good leader ensures that staff are clear on responsibilities, establishes day to day systems and procedures to manage compliance as well as most importantly dealing with residents, relatives, staff and commissioners of services. It is a job that is never done and one that requires clarity of thought knowing what your short, medium and long term objectives are.

Steve Newton

Director of Quality and Compliance




What makes an excellent care home or hospital?

Over the last year or so, much has been written about poor care in Hospitals and Care Homes.  They all share a common theme – poor leadership and management from Board Directors down to the manager running the establishment.

The NHS has had a decade of performance management, targets and a need for good news stories which has led perhaps to a rather negative culture of fear and reprisals which contributed to the Mid Staffs problems and recently another 11 other hospitals being placed in ‘Special Measures’.  Winterbourne View led to the collapse of the whole company which owned it.  So getting it wrong does have serious consequences not only for the patients/residents but also the organisation running the service.

So what makes a good Care Home or Hospital? 

At Springhill Care the Board has been crystal clear that you can only provide excellent care if your whole staff team have the right values.  For the last four years we have been driving this message from top to bottom starting at the Board and Senior Management level.  The culture of the organisation and how it treats its staff is critical if we want our front line staff to deliver excellent person centred care.  We are just going through our ‘Investors in People’ reaccreditation and it is encouraging that the assessor is picking up from his staff interviews that the Springhill values are understood through the organisation and the staff feel there is supportive leadership with excellent training and staff development.

It was encouraging to read a blog by John Kennedy, from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, that he had identified 10 key attributes of a good care home.  John is undertaking a yearlong study into what makes a good care home. 

It is interesting that John’s top attributes are:- Values; Leadership; Staff must be supported and Engagement with Relatives.  All these are congruent with the Springhill way.  It is our belief that having staff at all levels and all roles with the right values and good supportive leadership – able to juggle short, medium and longer term goals are the critical elements of a good care home.  Whilst at Springhill we invest heavily in the fabric of our homes, including evidence based design, this can be a complete waste without ensuring we have staff with the right values and commitment to provide excellent person centred care.


Steve Newton 

Director of Quality and Compliance  





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Springhill Care Group Limited
Head Office
11 Cannon Street
Accrington, Lancashire
United Kingdom BB5 1NJ

Tel: 01254 304500
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