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Osborne Court - what a lovely place
THE fact a young man asked to spend his 21st birthday at a centre for people with learning disabilities in Malvern rather than in his own home speaks volumes.
But, just in case you don’t take this young man’s word for it, you need only read the glowing report written by the watchdog Care Quality Commission (CQC) about Osborne Court .
After the CQC’s damning report last May into the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, where inspectors flagged up ‘major’ concerns about patient nutrition in two of the wards, the report into Osborne Court is a breath of fresh air.
It shows people can get the best care, they can be treated with dignity and respect and as an individual, not a number with a big pound sign next to it.
Journalists often get accused of being relentlessly negative and brutally cynical but reports such as this help restore a little faith in humanity, especially after the Winterbourne View scandal where people with learning difficulties were badly mistreated at a hospital near Bristol.
This report is reassuring at another level – the inspection was unannounced so staff at Osborne Court had no time to brush any problems under the carpet. The inspectors saw this service as it was, warts and all, during their visit on January 5 – and they were very impressed.
Osborne Court was compliant with two of the three main quality measures – safe and appropriate care and the need for checking systems to manage risks and assure people’s health, welfare and safety.
There were some minor concerns about record-keeping with gaps in the medication records and CQC inspectors said some improvements were needed.
The report said: “We saw that staff at Osborne Court looked after people well and wrote down what help everyone needed.
“Staff said they were trained to help them understand how to meet people’s needs and give the support they needed.
“We saw staff interacted with people who use the service in a friendly, courteous and respectful manner. Staff demonstrated they were aware of people’s care and support needs.
“We saw that people were very relaxed and at ease with staff and within the respite service environment.”
Inspectors praised Osborne Court’s detailed and individualised care plans, good communication but one of the things that most impressed them was what the relatives and carees of people with learning disabilities said in questionnaires or thank you cards.
Examples include “what a lovely place”, “home-like”, “a simple thank you doesn’t seem adequate for the help, care, friendship and patience you have all given” and “words cannot adequately express the gratitude that we feel for all that you have done to make this stressful time bearable”.
Hilary Raitt, a qualified nurse and manager at Osborne Court for almost 20 years, said: “One young man requested to stay here on his 21st birthday.
“It is rewarding to see how quickly people become relaxed and comfortable so parents can plan things with their other child or children. That gives me a huge kick.”
Ms Raitt also said it was rewarding to see the benefits people got from the hydrotherapy pool.
She said: “For some who are in moulded wheelchairs it is the one time in life they have no pressure on any part of their body.”
They try to make the service as personal as possible – staff try to give people the same room to stay in each time and they have their own quilt covers to make them feel more at home and it is personal touches like this that can make the difference between a good service and one that is outstanding.
Ruth Krivosic, service delivery lead who works across the Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust and Worcestershire County Council, said: “It’s like going for a holiday for them, a holiday for them and for their family. People really look forward to coming here.
“The people who use the service see it as their break.
“The report shows the high level of personalisation and attention to the individual that happens here.
“We expected the report to be good because we know we have a good service because we have listened to the views of people who use the service.
“There is room on site for the service to grow.
“We were delighted with the findings of the inspection.
“The service is well-managed and provides an extremely valuable service to people with learning disabilities and their families.
“It’s a little gem in the middle of Malvern.”