You are here

Archived: St Martins Residential Care Limited

All reports

Inspection report

Date of Inspection: 14 September 2011
Date of Publication: 4 November 2011
Inspection Report published 4 November 2011 PDF

Staff should be properly trained and supervised, and have the chance to develop and improve their skills (outcome 14)

Meeting this standard

We checked that people who use this service

  • Are safe and their health and welfare needs are met by competent staff.

How this check was done

Our judgement

Overall we found that St Martins was meeting this essential standard but improvements are required.

The manager had taken steps to ensure the staff team have a real understanding of the needs of people who have dementia and how they can best meet those needs and improve outcomes for people using the service.

Formal one to one staff supervision would help to ensure staff are suitably competent in their role and supported to meet peoples needs.

User experience

Most people living at St Martins have varying levels of dementia and different communication needs. We were therefore unable to fully understand people’s specific issues.

Other evidence

During the first day of our visit to St Martins the manager and deputy manager were facilitating a virtual dementia experience for all care staff, ancillary staff, kitchen staff and the trustees. The virtual dementia experience was a training tool used to simulate physical and cognitive problems that people with dementia may suffer from, for example physical pain and limitation, poor vision, noises in the head, altered sensory perception and disorientation. The prepared environment simulated loss of recognition and layers of confusion. Each participant was given a series of tasks to complete made difficult by these physical and mental challenges.

When asked, the manager told us that she had sought this method of training because she “wanted staff to understand why people with dementia needs may not always respond in a way that staff want them to.” She told us that “although staff would deliver care in a manner they feel people would want, you still need empathy and understanding of what people are experiencing. It is hard to imagine what the lives of people with dementia must be like, and the training provides a window into their world.”

The following day we spoke with members of staff following their experience and they all felt that this method of training was extremely effective. One staff member told us that they did not expect to experience what they did and that they did not realise fully what people they cared for were actually going through. Other staff commented they hadn’t realised how much a visual and/or hearing impairment could create or increase confusion and isolation. Staff used words such as panic, fear, anxiety and apprehension to describe how the experience made them feel.

One staff member said “This different approach to training has enabled me to appreciate and understand more what older people and those with dementia are going through. It is very effective and a complete care plan in itself. It is something I will not forget.”

Another staff member told us that they had learnt more in ten minutes about age and dementia related needs than in previous traditional training sessions.

Everybody with whom we spoke felt that their virtual experience had identified areas where they could improve their practice and outcomes for people. They gave us examples such as giving people time, having patience, speaking clearly and slowly, explaining and reassuring, maintaining respect, dignity and understanding.

The manager told us that the virtual training had motivated staff and provided a firm foundation on which to build further training in this subject area and that she hoped to explore with staff how the home can continue to improve outcomes for people with dementia.

Staff with whom we spoke told us that mostly only the new and less experienced staff received formal one to one supervision sessions. One to one supervision was offered but it was not a mandatory and regular occurrence. They told us that informal group supervision sessions were held and that these provided an arena for staff to address any practice issues. Staff told us that they were not aware of learning and development plans. Formal and recorded supervision provides personal and protected time for staff and the opportunity to discuss their learning and development and ensure that they are suitably competent and supported to meet people’s needs. During discussion the manager agreed that this was an area for improvement and would be addressed.