Award winning end of life care in Merton

Award winning end of life care in Merton

Posted by Eyes of Lady Wimbledon | 29 June 2024 | Community Spirit, Home & Garden

People have the right to choose where they wish to spend the last days of their lives. For many people, this will be to remain at home in familiar surroundings, supported by friends and family.

We understand how distressing it can be to see how a terminal illness is affecting a loved one. That’s where we can help. Bluebird Care provides essential end of life care and support to enable individuals and their family to make the most of their time together at home.

Why Choose End of Life Care at Home?

 

We are dedicated to providing a comfortable, professional and compassionate care service for customers during the final stages of life. We design an end of life care plan that puts individual requirements at the centre. We can work to ensure family and friends are included in this process too if it’s what the care recipient wants.

Our domiciliary care service will then be tailored to meet specific needs and preferences. We value and respect each person’s spirituality and their right to dignified care at this time of their lives.

At Bluebird Care, our team works with health professionals and other people involved in providing an individual’s care. We manage a care recipient’s symptoms, maintain their dignity, and keep them as comfortable as possible. We will work with an individual and their family to ensure they feel safe and supported around the clock.

If you’re looking for end of life care for a loved one, then our trained care team will be with you every step of the way. We put the choices and priorities of our customers at the centre of our end of life care planning and delivery.

We pride ourselves on open and sensitive communication. We ensure the individual and their friends and families are well informed about the range of options and resources available to them, and they will be involved with end of life home care planning.

Get in touch today to find out more about how we can help you and your family with end of life care services.

What is End of Life Care?

 

End of life care is the term used to describe the care of a person with a terminal illness. This type of care focuses on providing relief from symptoms, pain and the stress of a serious illness – to keep the person as comfortable as possible at all times.

At Bluebird Care, our ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life for individuals while they approach the end of life. We treat our customers as if they were they were our own family, and build our end of life care at home plans around personal requirements and preferences.

How Long is End of Life Care?

 

End of life care can begin as soon as you or your loved one needs it and can last a few days, months or sometimes more than a year.

People in a variety of different situations can benefit from end of life care. These include people who:

  • Have co-existing conditions that mean they are expected to die within 12 months.
  • Have a life-threatening acute condition caused by a sudden catastrophic event, such as a stroke or accident.
  • Have an advanced incurable illness, such as cancer or dementia.
  • Have existing conditions whereby a sudden crisis in their condition could result in death.

Our Approach to End of Life Home Care

 

One of the main benefits of receiving end of life care at home is that it allows your loved one to spend their remaining time in the place where they feel most at ease and safe. It also gives peace of mind to friends and family as they know their loved one is being well cared for in the safety of their own home.

Having end of life home care instead of hospice or hospital care is less disruptive for everybody and can make this difficult period more manageable. Round-the-clock care means that any changes in your loved one’s condition will be noticed and responded to quickly.

Our fully trained carers are on-hand to provide support to improve their quality of life while remaining at home.

Our care can involve:

  • Companionship and supporting independent home living.
  • Help to move around the home, whether it is gentle support or joistedtransfers.
  • Preparing meals to individual tastes and washing up afterwards.
  • Medication support including prompts or administering medication.
  • Support with pain management.
  • Running errands to collect prescriptions or do food shopping.

Our care assistants are fully trained in end of life care and are supported to develop further knowledge and skills to help you through difficult days.

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Martine is one of our Bluebird Care Merton managers & Lynne is a supervisor. They have recently been awarded the Gold Standard Framework for end of life care.

 

 

How did your journey with Bluebird Care (Merton) start?

Lynne- I was doing the same job for 17 years, but I had to give up work to take care of my dad and grandson. I did not want to go back to my previous job and a friend said she was applying for a job at Bluebird Care and asked me to apply with her. Funny enough Jay called straight away and asked if I could come in for an interview the same day which I did, followed by training the next day. My DBS came back very quick, so I even started working before my friend. I shadowed Jenny who was a friend of my mum which made me feel a lot more comfortable. It was a whirlwind and it all happened very fast but at that time living in Merton already I was often going to customers who I already knew through my mum and dad which gave me loads more confidence while first starting out. I knew this is what I wanted to do, and I always wish I’d done it much sooner.

 

Martine- My mum passed away from cancer in 2006 and had carers towards the end of her life, I was also working with children around that time, shortly after my Nan became ill and she too had carers who I believed was just not doing enough. I decided I wanted a career change and planned that I wanted to work with the elderly, so I applied for Bluebird Care (Merton), got the job and that’s how I started as a carer. I had a regular customer who I cared for up until she died which made me want to pursue my career in end of life. I then became a senior carer followed by a supervisor then onto a specialist manager where I started the end-of-life accreditation (GSF), not too long after I was offered the position of a care manager in 2020 during the COVID pandemic.

 

How did you find starting out as a carer?

Lynne- I found it very daunting, and I was very apprehensive. I hated being late, so I had to be very organised which I wasn’t used to. Although I loved the fact I was doing something worthwhile. I found myself using my own experiences with my dad and how I dealt with him to guide me within my role, this played a big part in shaping me as a carer. It almost felt like it was just meant to be, and it all fell into place very quickly. The best part was losing two stone running around all over Merton like a maniac.

Martine- At first it was very nerve racking as I had no experience. I felt very scared knowing I was the one responsible for the customers I cared for. I got through by ensuring to read all details within the care plan to guide me as well as calling the office all the time with any issues I had rather than trying to resolve things on my own. As a new carer I remember a time where I took a customer’s medication home by accident, I was freaking out but instead of not calling it in, I made sure I called up and was honest about what happened as I believe transparency is key and mistakes help you learn and grow. I also gained lots of knowledge along the way.

 

What made you stay with Bluebird Care all this time?

Lynne- It was the freedom of not being tied down to an office at the time. Just being able to walk around a lot which I loved as I could clear my mind before going to customers. I loved making special bonds with those I worked with. My strengths tended to be with the most difficult customers such as those with dementia. I strived with the customers that caused me the most anxiety and they naturally became my favourite customers.

Martine- My personal development. It’s a job where I’ve grown from a carer to a manager with the support from jay and others. Jay asked me where I saw myself heading and I said I would like to specialise in end-of-life care, and he gave me the opportunity to do so. Having someone that pushes you and believes in you is rare in the working sector and that is what makes me keep going.

 

What makes Bluebird Care different?

Lynne- You honestly have to care to be a carer. You tend to know which carers will stay and which ones will leave. We are very family bonded and we all work well as a team, everyone brings something different to the table. We all have individual strengths which gives us a big advantage, when we all put our ideas together, we can maximise positive results. It’s a sense of belonging as I feel we are all one big Bluebird family.

Martine- We are a small company, but we always give everybody opportunities. We accept everyone regardless of their race, learning disabilities, age, religion or sexuality. We offer one to one sessions with all our staff that feel they need extra emotional support which has shown to have a positive impact. We have made people feel accepted for who they are and a sense of belonging where this has not always been the case in previous jobs which is a big deal for many. We have been able to build confidence within our staff and although we keep professional boundaries, we also get to know them personally. This allows all our staff members to feel comfortable talking to us about any issues. We have staff meetings, which gives everyone a chance to have an input. We like to make things fun and relaxed by having the office staff dress up for holiday seasons, eat food, do quizzes and we also acknowledge positive developments by awarding carer of the week and quarter, this is also applied to office staff and those who have been with us for many years. This is a chance for us to show everyone our appreciation while also pushing everyone to do their best.

What positive changes have you made from when you started with Bluebird Care (Merton) to now?

Lynne– I’ve made some amazing changes, I’m a completely different person to when I first started. I was very anxious and I just had no confidence. I learned by making mistakes and I guess I am a better person because of it, I believe in myself now. I struggled with my level 3 but I did it and I’m proud. It’s opened many doors for me and now I’m good at talking to people and taking leads. I’m not very organised at home but I have to be at work otherwise nothing would get done. The best thing I’ve learnt along the way is to be myself and I no longer worry about what people think of me, it’s taken a while to get to this place of comfortability within myself, but I got there in the end and that’s what matters. I also think having a little bit of anxiety keeps you grounded in this job.

 

Martine- I’ve learnt a lot about myself as a person. I’ve learnt to have a lot more patience, I take my time now to ensure I achieve the best results. I have gained lots of knowledge and experience within the care sector along the way. I have learnt how to converse with families of customers, doctors, district nurses, pharmacists and many other external organisations. I have a lot more confidence within myself and my role and I am proud of the person I have become.

 

What life skills have you gained since working with Bluebird Care?

Lynne- I used to struggle to separate work from home which I have now overcome. If I had loads of tasks to do my mind would be in overdrive and I would find it hard to shut off. I am now able to self-manage and set my self with realistic goals and deadlines, I prioritise my work which gives me time to recharge which I believe is very important in this job and I am glad I found my way to balance things out.

 

Martine- In the beginning I found it very difficult with the workload, being the only supervisor and I used to take work home with me a lot. I found it so difficult to shut down, even when I was sleeping, I would be thinking about work. Whenever I was on annual leave, I would always have my work laptop with me to be in the know with what was going on, I was reading emails and answering the phone to carers who wanted to discuss work. This took a big toll on my personal life, so I had to find a way to detach. I started only completing tasks within my work hours but in this job it’s hard not to worry about customers and carers, but it is also important to balance work and home for the sake of your own mental well-being.

Can you talk me through the process of obtaining the gold standard framework?

Lynne- Lynne- I was very new to the office when Martine asked me to help her, I knew she always wanted to do the end of life and although I was happy to support her, I was also extremely nervous as I was so fresh in the office. We attended two seminars and then COVID hit, which meant we had to put the course on pause, but with the knowledge from the two seminars we were able to put everything into motion and implement the GSF standards with our existing customers. We recorded and monitored everything, we were working with next of kins, district nurses and palliative care teams. By doing this we were able to figure out what worked and what didn’t which gave us a huge advantage when continuing the course. We learned on our journey and through our experiences. We became more confident when discussing end of life and we was able to teach the carers all we had learnt. We introduced whatsapp groups for our end of last customers and their team of carers which allowed us to build a better support system that works within the company, even the office staff completed the training which was amazing, and it made us feel highly proud by the end of it all.

Martine- I’ve always wanted to do end of life care and jay knew this, so he signed me up to the course, as we are a small company, it was just going to be me, but I wanted some extra support, so I kindly asked Lynne and she agreed. We started in September 2019 and was supposed to complete our last session in January, but this got postponed due to the covid pandemic. We decided just to implement the gold standards with our customers in the meantime. We continued this in 2023 and we were so nervous as it had been many years due to the pandemic which left us struggling to find the time to commit but as this was also the deadline it was now or never. I believe we benefited heavily from all the input we had implemented over the years and from being able to reflect on how we could do things better with trial and error. This eventually led to us obtaining our accreditation.
What’s the most rewarding part of being part of the end-of-life team?

Lynne- With end of life it’s that sense of fulfilment of knowing your always doing everything you possibly can to support the individuals we work with, their families and the carers from beginning to end and its honestly very rewarding to know you done the job to the best of your ability and having the confidence to approach death in a more empathetic way is a bonus.

Martine- Receiving the lovely feedback from the customers and their families and them letting us know that we are appreciated for the level of care we have provided. Knowing that we allow those to stay in their homes and to die in their homes as they wished. It is having the knowledge to give the best possible care as well as training the carers to provide the best possible care also.

Would you recommend Bluebird Care (Merton) to your family and friends?

Lynne- Most definitely and I already have. Based on my own experience I knew I could trust them with my own mother’s care and it’s the best thing I ever did as she loves the care, she receives from all the carers. It’s just peace of mind for me because I know she’s in good hands.

Martine- Without a doubt. I have had a few friends of mine with family members that needed care which we provided for them, and they were highly satisfied with the care they received. My dad has Alzheimer’s and dementia and I have had to arrange care for him recently. I would have loved for this to be provided by Bluebird Care (Merton) but unfortunately, he does not live in the borough.

In a day in the life of Lynne, how do you incorporate the end-of-life gold standard framework in your job role i.e. assessments and care plans?

Lynne- Forward planning is key, I start with having the care plan up and ready with as much information as I can gather such as name, address, birthdays and GP practices. I would then print documents like terms and conditions etc. I would always ring customers beforehand to arrange the best day and time to meet. I always arrive at an assessment early which allows me to sus out bus routes, travel times and parking for the carers while also carrying out external risk assessments. Once I go into the customers home, I would let them guide me while using my eyes and ears to analyse as much as I can and take pictures around the home to help me with things I may have missed. I tend to just have general discussions ensuring they remain in full control of the care they would like to include such as preferred times which I can pass over to the coordinator. I also ask for permission to do an advanced care plan while explaining the gold standard framework, I understand this can be quite sensitive for certain individuals and it’s a lot of information to process at the time

so, I always give them lots of information, leaflets and relevant documents which I can leave with them, so they don’t feel under pressure. These assessments can take up to two hours but writing up the care plan can take up to two days. I enjoy meeting new people whether they become customers or not. I feel as though I have developed good people skills and just having that bit of humour and being down to earth allows those individuals to see that we are just people, we are not judging, and we are not trying to take over. We ensure that they always remain in control of their own care.

 

Martine- Daily/weekly/monthly audits for the business to ensure we are meeting all our regulatory requirements according to CQC. I also carry out weekly support sessions with all our staff and liaise with customers to discuss any additional needs. I also have weekly meetings with Lynne to catch up on our GSF work and making sure our quality and assurance is up to date. We regularly monitor and assess our customers while also ranking where they will be coded in accordance with the GSF standard. I do my best to support everyone within their role and I am always there to provide assistance wherever needed.

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Our staff members are the face of our company and it’s our care teams that enable our customers to stay in the comfort of their own homes. Our teams provide vital care and support as well as building and growing relationships, bringing smiles to the faces of our customers, laughing, sharing experiences, listening to stories and sometimes wiping away tears.

Being a part of our dedicated Bluebird Care team is immensely rewarding, but it also demands commitment and professionalism. Working with some of the most vulnerable members of society can give enormous satisfaction to the right person. It offers the opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives; a vocation rather than just a job.

We are looking for people who are passionate about great care. If you share our commitment to provide the best home care services, get in touch with us today.

Instagram: @bluebirdcare_merton

Facebook: @caremerton

Tel: 020 8687 5745

Email: merton@bluebirdcare.co.uk

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