The best we can be - nursing excellence at Colten Care homes
From the perspective of the nursing teams at Colten Care's homes across the New Forest
“A credit to their profession, leading by example to keep everyone safe.” Zoe Mills is brimming with praise for her nursing colleagues as they step up to the many challenges of caring for older people during the pandemic. Read about the excellence of clinical care in Colten Care's homes below...we know from personal experience how good it is, too.
A former NHS ward sister, Zoe joined care home provider Colten Care in 2016 and is now a Clinical Lead. “Nurses in care homes are often underestimated. There is a perception that somehow they are not as professional as those who work in hospitals and that’s completely unfair.
Our residents present severe frailty and complex needs all the time and we need to balance our clinical skills with leading safe, appropriate care without the immediate back-up of a doctor on hand.
We always have to demonstrate sound, up-to-date clinical knowledge. When you go into nursing you expect challenges along the way but I think the manner in which my colleagues have risen to the demands of managing Covid has been phenomenal.
They have maintained the safety of residents and colleagues, shown amazing skills in team working and kept up everyone’s mental wellbeing.
I am surrounded by inspirational nurses day in, day out who deliver the highest standards of care.”
About some of Colten Care's New Forest nursing team
Among Zoe’s colleagues is Jeanette Hendon, Colten Care’s longest serving nurse with nearly 26 years under her belt. Jeanette says: “As an on-duty nurse, you are the clinical expert and you need to be at the top of your game all the time. I love my job – you have the responsibility of balancing clinical expertise with leadership skills as residents, families and colleagues look to you for reassurance and direction as a clinical situation changes.”
Also part of Zoe’s team is Care Co-ordinator Kim Gritt, one of 15 Colten Care staff who are training to become Nursing Associates. This is a nationally recognised role that provides support for registered nurses while creating a career pathway for carers. It offers the potential to convert to RGN after three years of juggling study at Solent University with paid nursing. “This is an ideal opportunity for me,” says Kim. “At the end of the day, it’s all about having the best team in place to provide the highest standards of resident care. We want to be the best we can be.”
Zoe, Jeanette and Kim all work at Kingfishers in New Milton, one of seven Colten Care homes - a third of its total of 21 - to be officially rated Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission. This is a remarkable achievement rate compared to other operators.
An astonishing 258 years combined experience
Elaine Farrer, Colten Care Operations Director, and herself a nurse with 35 years’ experience, is clear that CQC recognition reflects a combination of long-standing home-based nursing excellence and a robust and consistent group-wide clinical and quality framework.
Her central management team of eleven senior operations, clinical and quality managers includes nine who are nurses with exceptional expertise. Their combined nursing experience runs to an astonishing 258 years.
Elaine says: “Because we continue to invest in nursing, we can offer our residents the reassurance of clinical excellence. We can meet the vast majority of clinical needs while welcoming older people into our homes.”
As well as enabling team members to train as Nursing Associates, and supporting homes with a consistent clinical and quality framework, Elaine can cite many other ways Colten Care champions and develops its nurses: “We operate a Royal College of Nursing-accredited preceptorship for all new recruits who are recently qualified, returning to work, or new to the UK. We support student nurses by offering placements at all our homes in partnership with Bournemouth University. Students benefit from the input of both practice assessors and mentors.
“Uniquely for a provider of our size, we employ a dedicated Nurse Learning & Development Manager, Sally Smith, who focuses on the ongoing training needs of our 250 nurses.
“As they progress their careers with us, we enable our nurses to take on more leadership and complex clinical roles supported by opportunities for reflective learning, team conferences and best practice sharing.
Summarising the team’s responsiveness to Covid, Elaine adds: “All our nurses have stepped up to the challenges of wearing PPE, caring for residents in isolation, leading the care teams, maintaining social distancing and supporting each other. While suddenly having to think differently, they have continued to do amazing work maintaining our consistently high standards of care.”
Find out more about Colten Care's New Forest homes online
With more than 30 years’ experience, Colten Care is an award-winning family-owned care home company. It has 21 quality care homes covering Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and Sussex and offers a range of services spanning residential, nursing and dementia care.
Colten Care operates six residential nursing and care homes in the New Forest, including three in Lymington: Belmore Lodge, Court Lodge and dementia specialist Linden House. There are also homes in Brockenhurst (Woodpecker's), New Milton (Kingfisher's) and Mudeford (Avon Reach). Click on the links to find out more about each home...
It is not currently possible to visit Colten Care's homes. Please find more details here: https://www.coltencare.co.uk/news-events/coronavirus-update