We are very pleased to announce that our Conifer Lodge service has maintained a CQC rating of Outstanding. Service Manager, Nina Bailey, speaks to us about the teamwork that was involved in making this happen, the challenges they faced, and her vision for the service.
Conifer Lodge is an Adult Learning Disabilities Service in Cambridgeshire. It is a specialist service for men with a Learning Disability or who are on the Autistic spectrum.
How does it feel to have maintained a CQC rating of Outstanding?
“As a registered manager I am incredibly proud of the whole team. It validates all the hard work that everybody continues to put into Conifer Lodge. Receiving an Outstanding rating lets the team know that their work is making a difference. The staff team regularly go above and beyond so it is great to see their hard work being recognised.”
What teamwork was involved to maintain your Outstanding rating at Conifer Lodge?
“It involved all of us working together with residents and with their families, or significant others. It’s not only teamwork in terms of the staff, but also the residents, the residents’ family and friends, care coordinators, and commissioners. We wouldn’t have the incredible service that we do now with an Outstanding rating if it wasn’t for everyone playing a part.
“The key thing is engagement with families. It’s our main aim at Conifer Lodge. We do lots of family events and try to make the residents feel as included as possible here because this is their home. If they want a family member to come over for a cup of tea and a chat, then we make it happen. We all work hard to create a homely atmosphere.
“Our teamwork includes everyone on the team. Whether it’s housekeeping, maintenance, support, or management, everyone is involved. Even though we are a nurse-led service, it’s the whole team contributing as a whole that has made it possible for us to be an Outstanding service.
What were the challenges you faced in maintaining your rating?
“Trying to maintain an Outstanding rating is hard work. We had to put forward different evidence than last time to the CQC. Since the last inspection I have now become Clinical Lead, so in terms of Well Led that was positive for us.
“We had to think outside the box in terms of innovation, different practices, and maintaining evidence. For example, we have an Outstanding evidence file that is emptied after every inspection so new evidence and paperwork can be undertaken. You don’t really know exactly what they are looking for on the inspections so that’s why maintaining Outstanding is really tough.
“The inspection itself went really well. CQC came back on the second day to complete the inspection when I wasn’t on-site, and as a manager that was quite a nerve-wracking experience! But I’m so glad everything went smoothly.”
What is your vision for the service going forward?
“Ideally to get another Outstanding rating! It would be great to extend the rating into other areas, such as the Caring domain. This was one of the areas that I wanted to get Outstanding in, but we didn’t on this occasion.
“I want us to keep improving. Even though we have an Outstanding rating, that doesn’t mean we stop there. We need to keep pushing so that we continue to uphold our amazing levels of care. We have to keep looking at different ways we can support people to make their lives as happy as possible whilst they are at Conifer Lodge.”