Jewish Care report: the challenges faced by staff

April 01, 2017 12:12

Lunch is over and a dozen wheelchairs are gathered in a semi-circle for the afternoon’s activity at the Betty and Asher Loftus Centre, Jewish Care’s Friern Barnet complex, of which Lady Sarah Cohen House is part. 

Today the living well team has organised a word game. But it could just as easily be a singalong, exercises, a discussion group or a gardening session.

Although a few residents are enjoying a post-prandial snooze, others engage enthusiastically in the activity. At the back of the room, a woman is trying get involved but struggling to be noticed. 

When this is pointed out to Albert, the senior nurse who is showing me around, he smiles. “That’s where she sits,” he says. “She likes it like that.” 

It’s the kind of detail that Albert, a resident nurse at the home for 13 years, prides himself on knowing.

Following a recent inspection, the Care Quality Commission reported that the home requires improvement in three of the five CQC categories.

But to a visitor, the communal space is bright and airy, the staff attentive. Albert flicks through a voluminous file as he makes the medication round.

Other employees tidy up and assist residents needing to use the bathroom. 

The pressures are obvious. This is a nursing home whose residents have complex care needs. In the past, some would have been cared for in hospitals and hospices. The age range is from 60s to a 104-year-old.

“We often deal with end of life situations,” explains Albert, adding that residents’ conditions include Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease, MS and diabetes. 

Daily routines involve food, drink, medication, exercise, therapies, activities and more — all of which must be recorded and logged. 

Shifts last for 12-and-a-half hours and nurses spend three to four hours each day on paperwork. 

“It a lot of work, but we manage it,” Albert says.

“I’ve been here 13 years so I can’t complain. I like the place, the environment and I like my team and the residents. There can be some hiccups but we have a good manager and work through them.”

That manager is Denise Cooper, who says the CQC report came “as a disappointment because everybody has really worked so hard. 
“The inspectors don’t see the whole day or how the staff had been interacting with the resident beforehand. They see such a small part of what goes on. 

“We have already got an action plan in place and will be working towards good, if not outstanding [for the next CQC report].”

April 01, 2017 12:12

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