A home care company based in St Albans, whose service provides ‘exceptional care’ has been awarded the highest possible ”Outstanding” rating by inspectors from England’s care regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Home Instead Senior Care St Albans is now officially amongst the top three percent of home care companies, having been rated ‘Outstanding’ in both caring and well-led.
Inspectors from the independent care sector regulator observed that ‘people were truly respected and valued as individuals; and empowered as partners in their care, in an exceptional service’. In fact, the team received high praise from inspectors across all areas of the recently published inspection report.
The organisation, led by Fiona and Nick Harrall, provides at-home care and companionship that enables older people to continue living independently for as long as possible. Inspectors interviewed clients, relatives of clients and Home Instead staff members, before praising the couple’s leadership as ‘exceptional and distinctive’.
They found a ‘strong, visible, person-centred culture’ running throughout the organisation, quoting a member of staff as being ‘proud of my company’ and clients that had been made to feel ‘positive’, ‘independent’ and ‘happy’ as a result of the service.
The report found that ‘people valued their relationship with staff and felt cared for and supported.’ It refers to numerous examples of these relationships in action. One member of staff noticed that a client was becoming frustrated when they couldn’t remember where items were stored in their kitchen cupboards. To support the client’s independence, they placed pictures of the contents on the cupboard doors.
Another staff member noticed that a client with dementia was constantly exploring with their hands so, in their own time, they made a cushion with lots of different textures for them to experience. “I look forward to every visit,” said one client.
This exceptional service was supported on an organisational level by training described by staff as ‘very good’ and ‘amazing’, as well as a real-time electronic reporting system that has saved time and ensured that updates to care plans are immediately available.
One relative stated “I am really happy with the service. It’s reassuring that they always come on time.” Another said, “They are very caring… they take their time, it’s never rushed.”
Home Instead care visits last for a minimum of one hour, to ensure that quality care and companionship can be provided to every client. The company’s approach received high praise from one client who said, “Staff are very friendly, supportive and very helpful. We always have a good laugh… they have become my friends.”
The report also praises Home Instead for working with numerous local charities and community groups. It notes that the team worked with one group to make their village a Dementia friendly community, by delivering the Alzheimers Society’s signature ‘Dementia Friends’ training sessions to church groups, the parish council, and volunteers at the library. In addition, their Dementia Café meets twice per month in Marshalswick. It is free to attend and attracts over 60 people at a time and, according to the report, ‘ensuring a very positive impact’ on people’s lives.
Of the organisations ‘Outstanding’ rating, owners Nick and Fiona Harrall said, “We are so pleased to have had the hard work of our dedicated team recognised in this way. We do our best to ensure that high quality care is provided to every client and that Home Instead positively benefits the St Albans community. We also pride ourselves on being an employer of choice in our industry, so to hear such wonderful feedback from staff is fantastic.”