Mears’ care service in Bristol has been rated as Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).Only 2% of all adult social care services in England have received this top rating since 2014 in 33,000 inspections.The service mainly provides care to 47 people living in an extra care housing scheme (ECHS), where elderly people or those with mental or physical disabilities live in their own flats in the complex with Mears care staff on site to help them live as independently as possible. The service also provides home care services to 75 people in the local community. Both services are commissioned by Bristol City Council.The CQC report said the Bristol team “often went above and beyond their contractual obligations to ensure people had a good quality of care”.The CQC inspectors were particularly impressed with how the team organised events and activities to combat loneliness and isolation, saying the scheme “had become a focal point for the local area and this enhanced the quality of life for all concerned”.As the CQC report noted, one resident said: “Coming to ECHS has changed my life”.The Mears Care Manager in charge of the scheme, Sue Appoo, said: “We are delighted to have received this rating. We have worked really hard to go above and beyond our contractual obligations to go from ‘Good’ to become ‘Outstanding’.“We achieved this by using many methods, such as person-centred planning, but also finding that special little something that would mean the world of difference to the person and change their life for the better.”Cllr Helen Holland, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care at Bristol City Council, said: “Mears are setting an excellent example for how care can be delivered. I’d like to congratulate all of the staff on their Outstanding CQC rating. The CQC report highlights many areas of good practice and it is clear that Mears have shown a real commitment to going above and beyond to improve the quality of life for the people they support.”Innovations big and smallThe CQC inspector’s report noted that the residents “were empowered to take responsibility and make decisions about aspects of their lives within the scheme”. This included encouraging them to apply for a National Lottery grant to fund social and community projects. The application was successful and funded a community open day as well as a week of music events, including lessons in ballroom dancing.The scheme is also taking part in an innovative project with the University of Bristol, using specially-developed apps to record memories and life histories, using audio, photos and text, as well as helping co-design engaging community spaces where older people can interact with evocative objects to aid memory and story-telling.The inspectors said: “We saw the space that had been created within the scheme and this included memorabilia items such as old telephones, a record player and LPs. The registered manager told us the space had been used to invite local school children to come in and work with people on electronic tablets. Through this project, people had been supported to make books about themselves and their lives.“Local school children and people in the ECHS had also been involved in the 'paint pals' project, which involved coming to the service to complete art projects together. Other projects included a volunteer shop that was held at the service two days a week.”The inspector noted that “the range of social and community projects available for people to become part of reflected a significant effort on the part of the registered manager, staff and people using the service. This was an exceptional aspect of the service and greatly enhanced the lives of people receiving support.”One person told the inspectors that the staff were “kind, caring, polite and very efficient”, while another said: “I cannot speak more highly of them.”Read the full report on the CQC website here.
Outstanding: Manager Sue Appoo and team celebrate with Chief Operating Officer Bernadette Walsh (left) and Cllr Helen Holland