'Excellent' Milton Keynes care centre shortlisted for national end of life support award

An inspector praised the home for its 'excellent care'.

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 3:47 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st July 2021, 3:48 pm

A care home in Milton Keynes has been shortlisted at the Gold Standards Framework (GSF) following an 'excellent' inspection.

Bluebirds neurological care centre in Shenley Lodge is up for the 2021 ‘Home of the Year’ award.

The care centre maintained its Platinum status granted by The National Gold Standards Framework Centre in End of Life.

Bluebirds Care neurological care centre staff including centre manager, Colleen Brothers

Due to coronavirus restrictions the home assessed virtually by inspectors who put it forward for this year's big prize.

“Everyone just spoke with such passion for the work they did,” inspectors commented. “The centre consistently wants to move forward, continue to improve what they do and also recognises that the most important thing within the home is the resident.”

The Shenley Lodge home looks after people with a range of progressive neurological conditions such as Huntington’s disease and dementia. Many of them will have come to live at Bluebirds at a relatively young age which inspectors acknowledged made conversations about end of life care “10 times harder”.

The centre has 25 bedrooms and is located on Faraday Drive.

Bluebirds team

As well as talking to staff, inspectors reviewed the care plans in place for residents and feedback from families. Their report praised staff for “excellent evidence of care planning, for care being personalised and being given with compassion and dignity.”

A spokesperson for PJ Care which runs the centre said: "End of life care is not a mandatory requirement in social care but the staff at Bluebirds receive training from their induction and every year after that. Staff also have sessions with a Soul Midwife who helps them feel more confident in discussing end of life scenarios with families and loved ones."

“We are delighted to receive Platinum status,” said centre manager, Colleen Brothers. “Care homes often don’t like to talk about end of life but it is an integral part of our care. We need to discuss it with residents and their families so that we know how people want to spend their final days.

“We all want a ‘good death’ and planning in advance can make such a difference to everyone involved. For example, if a resident wants to spend that time at Bluebirds rather than in hospital then we do our utmost to make that possible. We tailor every aspect of their care right down to the clothes they feel most comfortable in, the linen on their bed and music that they might like to listen to.”

PJ Care advises that support continues even after a resident has died, with relatives offered support by a Bluebirds’ family liaison officer.

“It’s difficult to identify where they need to develop,” the inspector concluded.

This is the second consecutive Platinum status Bluebirds has received. It was awarded the same in 2018 and the award runs for three years. The centre will know if it’s been awarded ‘Home of the Year’ later this year.