Community involvement key to running Cumbria's top care home
Community involvement is the not-so-secret ingredient which has made a north Cumbrian care home stand out among the crowd.
Wigton's Inglewood care home last week received a rare "outstanding" rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) putting it among the top one per cent in the country.
It's one of just two homes in Cumbria to receive the status as it joins Silloth Nursing Home earlier this year.
Leaders at the 40-bed home, off Lowmoor Road, say that its biggest asset is the strong link with the local community.
That's a statement backed up by the CQC inspectors who said in their report that it was a key community resource that acted as a hub for a wide range of groups, all of which improved the lives of the people living in the home.
Audrey McKay, the home's acting manager said: "We have got marvellous connections with the community and have all sorts of different groups coming in such as the stroke club and a sugar craft club."
Irene Maxwell, who manages the Cumbria County Council's care homes, toldthat the CQC had found that the residential home was part of the community, while the community was part of the home.
"We have a league of friends who hold regular coffee mornings, all the community are invited and it's very well attended," Irene added.
"This isn't just a building that houses elderly people. It's a community hub where service users who are able to go out and members of the community can come in."
Choice is also a key thing at Inglewood with residents able to pick from a number of lounges and resting areas so they can enjoy some peace and quiet if they wish or get involved with group activities and chatter when they're up for it.
A group of residents even sit on the recruitment panel helping to interview and chose new members of staff.
Irene continued: "The CQC recognised this. They felt as though there was dignity and choice offered which was all to a high standard.
"We have well-trained staff and lots of staff who've been with us many years. We have person-centred care plans and have established that service users are at the centre of everything we do."
John Lancaster, 86, has recently moved into Inglewood after spending about 10 weeks living between care homes in Longtown and Brampton.
But his family were determined to move him "home" and back to Wigton which they were able to do last month.
His wife Anne, 87, said it was wonderful to bring him home and highlighted the importance of local care homes.
"It was a long trail to go out there two or three times a week. It's great he's here now," she said.
Frances Bell, 73, can't speak highly enough of Inglewood and its staff after seeing how well they've treated her mother Ann Heal, 97.
"Everything is good about here," she said.
"I'm happy that she's happy, they have great food and everything."
Resident Norman Scott, 84, said: "It's a great spot. There's very good people here."
Wigton's representative on the county council, Lord Roger Liddle, said: "Congratulations to the staff at Inglewood. This is great news for the residents of Inglewood and for the people of Wigton.
"We have a wonderful home where our elderly relatives, who can no longer cope on their own, can spend the evening of their lives happily and securely.
"When there is so much bad news around about the problems of social care, it is glad to know that there are places like Inglewood still around, where staff show a splendid commitment to their work, that make us a decent society.
"It reinforces my strong conviction that we should not privatise our care homes in Cumbria."