George Coxon blog – Devon Care Kitemark

George Coxon was our first blogger here on the PSC site and we revisit him after he won the poster competition at the SW AHSN Best Practice Conference in November. George is a  Devon-based care home owner,  chair of the popular provider-led Devon Care Kitemark with more than 80 care home members, as well as an active mental health clinician and recent NHS senior commissioner.
“We’ve been really busy since we won the poster competition back in November and celebrating positive events in care homes. Our poster was about the Devon Care Kite Mark (DCKM) –  a coalition of care homes in Devon developing a ‘share to learn’ model to support and improve care for people living and working in care homes. To date, the five years of work of the DCKM has created a provider led collaboration of care and nursing homes empowering one another gaining significant membership and much local and national acclaim for the initiative. We set six priority care areas for 2016, which included falls, long term conditions, skin care, nutrition and hydration, medication and end of life care (EoLC). We carried out an EoLC workshop for member homes which focused on three elements: Current practice; what best evidence suggests and what regulatory bodies mandate and constructing an ‘appreciative inquiry’ style peer review template.
Dates for peer reviews were then agreed and carried out between member homes based on the ‘ask not tell’ and ‘non critical onlooker’ principles.  Twelve peer review visits on End of Life Care have been carried out so far, with the experience being reported as invaluable both from the providers and receivers. The DCKM ethos seems to instil pride in and positive values about life in care homes, as there is sometimes a tendency to regard care homes as needing copious external expert training in areas like end of life care. However empowering and promoting existing skills of care homes like those in Devon should be celebrated and endorsed. The DCKM fundamental belief is ‘it’s a journey and we’re not there yet’. EoLC is the part of the journey for all of us that we only have one chance to get right. Partnership working and collaboration with our local hospices, like Hospiscare, is one way of sharing knowledge. This method of sustainable improvement is a crucial part of building mutual trust, respect and sharing innovation, confidence and improved care outcomes.
We presented at the Kings Fund on 6 December talking about enhancing healthcare in care homes, and I was invited to facilitate the panel discussion session at end of day, which was a fascinating experience. We had interest in the poster at this event and it was really useful to tap into lots of people and see what other people are doing. One of my big points from the poster – in fact the founding principle, is that you should not be reliant on other people – I want to empower people and learn though sharing.
George presented again at a huge event in Olympia in March, where he chaired some of the streams presenting the Devon Kite Mark. Last week he was in Somerset looking at cardiology and stroke prevention with Plymouth GP Dr Rosie Heath. There’s always a real buzz around tweeting at these type of events which he describes a really good way of getting the message out there.
On 20th March we are really looking forward to a visit from William Roberts who is the NHS Vanguard Lead for Care Homes. We’d love to be part of a Vanguard, but the nearest to us is in South London. We have a lot of energy and experience and we would like to be participating more in Vanguards.  Together with a fellow founder member of the DCKM we met with Angela Pedder, Devon STP (Sustainability and Transformation Plan) lead this week.  Angela gave good advice about how our work can feature more in future health and social care integration and has since tweeted very positive support for the DCKM work
Another area we are looking at currently is improving mental health and wellbeing in care homes – looking at evidence and best practice – we have a workshop addressing this setting out our peer review template taking place on the 19th April. We are also focussing on Family Friendly care homes – there’s a campaign to promote as vital to our successful partnership work
We are also looking at encouraging really family friendly care homes – there’s a campaign called John’s Campaign which started off in hospitals and is really powerful.  Our work has been celebrated by this national movement and our homes are part of the first 100 care homes ackenowldeged by the campaign as family friendly
If you want to find out more – do have a look at my latest blog on the Pottles Court and Summercourt websites and please get in touch with George or follow him on twitter @coxongeorge.

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