Ferndown care home joins 5th in group to become ‘Outstanding’

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Colten Care’s Amberwood House care home in Ferndown has been awarded an Outstanding rating be the Care Quality Commission. Previous home manager Gillian Irish is pictured with resident Jim Smith and current home manager Heather Lawrence.

A Dorset care home has become the fifth Colten Care home to be officially declared Outstanding by regulator the Care Quality Commission.

Amberwood House in Ferndown joins what Colten Chief Executive Mark Aitchison described as ‘an elite group of care homes nationally’.

Addressing residents, families and team members at a celebration party, he said: “There are tens of thousands of inspections but only 3% of care homes are rated Outstanding. Many of these are residential only, so it is even more of an achievement if, like Amberwood and our other homes, you are registered for nursing. We now have 25% of our inspected homes rated Outstanding. These are now part of an elite group of care homes nationally, a truly fantastic achievement.”

In their report on Amberwood House, CQC inspectors identified a range of strengths particularly in the home’s leadership and effectiveness. They wrote: “Some people who come in for respite care decide to come and live at the home as their experience is so good. They could go home but choose to stay because they like it so much.”

A prime example is Jim Smith, who recently celebrated his 93rd birthday at the home. Jim said: “I am as happy now as I was on the day I moved in more than a year ago. I have no complaints but 100,000 thank-yous. The staff here respect you and each other. If you’ve got care, food and friendship then you are in business and here we have it all. The manager is tremendous, her door is always open if you want to discuss anything, and she takes time to sit and talk with me. That means so much to me. I also get involved in so many experiences and activities I wouldn’t have the chance to do otherwise. It’s so nice to be happy.”

Jim’s thoughts were echoed by fellow resident Florrie Hughes who said: “This is a lovely home with a devoted team. Colten Care is very lucky to have such loyal staff.”

Inspectors also praised the home’s care quality monitoring and audit procedures, admissions process, support for nurses’ career progression and induction programme for new staff.

Ending his speech at the celebration party, Mark Aitchison said: “We know what Outstanding looks like, the challenge is to maintain the high standards every day. The journey to Outstanding is not through mediocrity, we are one great team who have a real passion for what we do – giving residents the best experience possible. The drive to be Outstanding runs through the homes, our culture and our DNA. Everybody can be immensely proud of what is being achieved and the real difference they are making day in, day out.”

Amberwood House’s CQC inspection took place before former Home Manager Gill Irish left to take up the reins of Colten Care’s Chichester home Wellington Grange.

Returning for the celebration party, Gill said: “I have always been very proud of Amberwood House and still am. Staff are at the heart of what makes it such a special place. They are incredibly friendly and caring.”

New Home Manager Heather Lawrence said: “I am privileged to have taken over the running of an Outstanding home.”

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