Outstanding overall at last

After coming a hairs breath to achieving Outstanding overall from CQC two years ago I’m delighted to see that Elizabeth Finn’s Rush Court have now achieved it, and retained their Outstanding KLOE’s in Caring and Responsive.

And it’s great to get a mention in the report too (Caring KLOE since you ask):

“The service continued to involve people and staff in the 'Ladder to the Moon' initiative. The purpose of the scheme was to promote an inclusive culture that ensured everyone felt part of the service and were valued and respected. The scheme is recognised as a good practice scheme that involves people, staff and the wider community in developing care that is person-centred and values each person as an individual.”


Creative Leadership Workshop at National Dementia Congress

I'm running a workshop next Wednesday (4th Dec) at the National Dementia Congress along with  Neil Maiden and Alise Kirtley from The Centre for Creativity in Professional Practice at City University London and our own Shula Hawes.

Creativity is not a gift of a chosen few, but a skill that can be developed with the use of evidence-based techniques. In dementia care, creative thinking plays a pivotal role in being able to offer services of highest quality; from leadership and workforce development through to person-centred practice and positive risk taking. In fact, the Care Quality Commission states that creativity and innovation are key differentiators between Good and Outstanding adult social care services.

Creative Leaders at a recent conference for the orders of St. John Care Trust

Creative Leaders at a recent conference for the orders of St. John Care Trust

In this workshop, Ladder to the Moon and City University London will explain and contextualise creativity in care, in the light of CQC guidance. They will demonstrate how creativity and innovation can be put into practice, with reference to their own tools and the impact these have caused.  

In small groups, participants will then use different creativity techniques (from Ladder to the Moon and City University London, including the digital tools Care’n’ Share and BeCreative in Care) to develop new ideas for providing person-centred care. Groups will consider real-life scenarios and discuss case studies of creative and innovative practice, to fuel their own ideas and self-reflection.

A short closing presentation will emphasise key factors in successful use of creative and innovative approaches, as well as the challenges. Participants will also be signposted to the resources that are available to support creative and innovative practice.

Who should attend:

This workshop will be of interest to care service owners, care commissioners, care practitioners, carers and people living with dementia.

Participants will gain:

  • Understanding of the role creativity and innovation in care, including how it can look in practice, the outcomes it can deliver and how it corresponds to CQC guidance.
  • A number of creative approaches to care challenges, as explored by the attendees together in the session, guided by an expert in creative thinking techniques.

Hope to see you there!


CQC Links and our surge towards Outstanding Services

I had a surprise phone call last week. For the first time that I can remember a home owner called me up out of the blue. It’s usually me going out to them - talking, presenting, calling and care show’s. But this time I was called, and the reason the for the call was that the home just down the street had their CQC report published.

The home in question - Rush Court, operated by one of our Clients Elizabeth Finn, were Outstanding in two area’s and a hairs breath from Outstanding overall. The reason he called Ladder to the Moon was that there were three big paragraphs on the work that they had been doing with us.

the registered manager told us of the positive effects on staff engagement [Ladder to the Moon] had. 

This was how CQC described us 

The purpose of the scheme is to motivate and inspire staff to provide individualised care that was kind and compassionate. The scheme is recognised as a good practice scheme that involves people, staff and the wider community in developing personalised care. 

So what did we do? Our approach is to work on multiple levels with a service (and often Head Office). We work with senior teams on leading for creativity and innovation in line with CQC Outstanding. We focus on developing projects owned by the team in the service to motivate and inspire a creative culture of care.

One of the key places we work is with activity staff to involve and engage colleagues, relatives, friends family and the wider community in a way that makes a meaningful difference to quality of life. Often this involves using events in a slightly different way:

Staff spoke passionately about [Ladder to the Moon] and showed us photographs of monthly themed evenings where people and staff enjoyed time together. All staff were invited to the evenings, this included housekeeping, catering, maintenance and office staff. One member of staff told us, "I come in on my day off for them. Last night we had a cheese and wine party". We heard a person chatting to a care worker about the evening and both had obviously enjoyed the shared experience

We have a strong emphasis on working with the most isolated individuals in a service and transforming their experience.

A small example from the team last week was Mary a resident in a nursing home who normally was ‘brought’ to the breakfast room at the start of the day to eat, and then fell asleep in her chair in the dinning room until it was time to for lunch, at which point she was woken up and fed. Supported by out Outstanding Activities programme, Karen, the activity coordinator used a creative activity box, and the savouring skills she developed during training to engage Mary in a photo shoot. Much to everyones surprise Mary was alert and enjoying herself.

This is important, not only for the improvement in Mary’s quality of life, but also because of the message that it send to everyone who see’s Mary smiling, and everyone who’s then talking about that moment, about what is possible with the right engagement.

As the manager at Rush Court is quoted in the CQC report our programme is about

”Making sure everything we do is about the people who live here"

You can read the full report here CQC report from Rush court

I’m looking forward to more phone calls from operators who want their services to be Outstanding.

Ladder to the Moon finalists at the National Dementia Care Awards

I just got a great phone call from the guys at the National Dementia Care Awards to let me know that we're finalists in the Dementia Training Innovation category.

Chris Yakult Innovation award.JPG

Our Outstanding Activities programme has been shortlisted for the innovative training model, and more importantly the outcomes it causes for people living with Dementia. The outcomes show residents being able to contribute newly to their community or simply by enjoying themselves doing something unexpected, particularly with those at risk of social isolation

“ We did the Rural Radio Play with Rose (who rarely joins in anything involving speaking and listening) and I asked her to take a part….she read the part really well (although she says she can’t see well enough to read) and really got into the character. We all saw a different side of her louder and more confident.’

This was from an Activity Coordinator on our London Cohort. And as a result it's made a big difference to her relationship with other residents.

“Rose has enjoyed more attention from other residents since that day” 

There was also great joy and engagement from someone who hardly speaks

“the other good news from that day was we included ‘R’ who can scarcely speak due to having had a big stroke. No-one had mentioned pigs as essential to our farmyard noises and he suddenly contributed some brilliant pig noises which caused much laughter for everyone, including him.”

The programme has really boosted activity coordinators confidence, and changed the way people think about activities.

 “These boxes are going to absolutely change the way people look at activities. It’s absolutely brilliant.”

We're chuffed to bits to be nominated, and looking forward to the judging on the 19th October.

For more information on Outstanding Activities visit: www.laddertothemoon.co.uk/Programs/Outstanding/Activities/

For more information on The National Dementia Care awards visit:http://www.careinfo.org/dementia-awards/

Ladder to the Moon in Journal of Dementia Care

Chris Gage's article discusses the future of care

The July/August 2014 issue of Journal of Dementia care included a full-length feature on Ladder to the Moon’s vision for a vibrant future in care settings.

The article reviews current trends in activities provision, with a focus on participative arts. The article then considers challenges to change, and the role of creative leadership in overcoming these.

It’s an inspiring read with lots of examples from our own work and across the sector- do take a look and share. You download it directly by clicking here