Following a visit by a leading UK health industry training body, the emphasis on living well and the excellence in the quality of care provided at the retirement village based at Middleton St George near Darlington was recognised with an award of Beacon status, the highest accreditation available.
The Quality Hallmark Award from the UK’s largest provider of training in end of life care, the National Gold Standards Framework (GSF) Centre, reflects Middleton Hall’s dedication to providing the best possible care for all its residents, whatever the stage of their lives.
Debby Lamont, Head of Care and Quality, said that staff are incredibly proud to have achieved this recognition.“We have worked as a team to ensure we deliver excellent care and to make sure that we provide gold standard care for people’s golden years.”
Initiatives at Middleton Hall include a ‘make a wish’ tree to capture any wishes of residents, their families and also staff which, Ms Lamont added, included “taking one lady back to see her home town where she had been the mayoress. It was incredibly moving to see the pleasure this brought her.”
Gold Standard Framework (GSF) Champions from care and support services ensure that a whole team approach is adopted across Middleton Hall.
Ms Lamont continued: “The framework is all about living well and having a cohesive approach to end of life care. The key to the success of the gold standards framework for us is the culture of our staff and their commitment to the people they support. Everyone has seen the benefits from adopting the framework.
“We have introduced a colour-coded butterfly symbol which we use to communicate sensitively when someone is dying. Staff respect this and go above and beyond to support the resident and the family through this difficult time.
“Relatives are just as important to us. They need support and understanding, and we have produced leaflets to provide information at what is often a very distressing time as well as providing ongoing assistance. Some relatives still visit us as a way of remembering their loved one.”
Middleton Hall prides itself on the low rate of hospital admissions and Accident and Emergency visits for its residents.
“We work closely with local GPs and advocate to make sure our residents’ wishes are met,” Ms Lamont notes.
“Those of us who look after dying people consider it to be a real privilege to make sure that someone has a good death and their relatives are a big part of this. To be recognised at the highest level by the GSF Centre is a huge honour.”
Staff from Middleton Hall travelled to London to collect the GSF award at a special ceremony held at the beginning of April.
Ms Lamont commented: “The award really was a team effort and I am immensely proud of all the staff and their contribution to the GSF accreditation.”
Vic Rayner, Executive Director, National Care Forum, presenting the awards, said: “Residents in Gold Standards Framework accredited organisations are receiving the personalised, proactive care people want and deserve as they approach the end of their life.
“Places like Middleton Hall Retirement Village should be congratulated for being frontrunners by embedding the principles of the newly published NHS Long Term Plan ahead of time, helping more people die where and how they would choose as well as reducing avoidable hospital admissions.”
Keri Thomas, GSF Founder and Clinical Director, said: “Middleton Hall Retirement Village has demonstrated not only a commitment to care for its residents according to their wishes right up until the end of their lives, but also put in place all of the measures required to ensure that it can actually provide that personalised, compassionate care. It should be congratulated for putting gold quality care at the heart of what it does for all its residents.”