Somerset Care Blog

Delivering quality care and support


Clinical Training of Care Workers

At Somerset Care, we believe strongly in training and developing our workforce and we invest substantially in doing so.

Indeed, we have our own training company – Acacia Training and Development ,which provides training to our care and support staff, as well as to other organisations and individuals.

Recently, ourAdvanced Healthcare Practitioners first cohort of Advanced Healthcare Practitioners completed 18 months of clinical training on a Quality Credit Framework Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care programme, jointly run by Yeovil District Hospital Academy and Yeovil College.

These new Advanced Healthcare Practitioners are working in our nursing and residential homes, as well as in our home care service, and play a key role alongside our nurses, in providing high quality clinical care to our residents and community customers.

Home care workers are now expected to care for customers with a wide range of health needs, as well as personal care;  even our basic induction training covers many health-related topics, including: the administration of medication, hearing aids, stoma care, catheter care, compression stocking, infections, diabetes, COPD, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, depression and, of course, dementia, which is an area of expertise for the whole company.

Somerset Care has received national awards and recognition for our specialist dementia care support services. We call this the PETALS service which means: Person-Centred, Empowerment, Trust, Activities, Life History and Stimulation.

We’re involved in award-winning research work, recognised nationally, which we use to inform and develop our services to improve the lives of people living with dementia. We also use a tool known as Dementia Care Mapping (DCM) to check the quality of the support and care being provided.

In addition to providing our specialist dementia care support services in our care homes and people living in their own homes, our Mendip Community Services base now provide support in their new ‘Dementia Active Centre’ in Frome.

The service focuses on short to medium care and support for people with dementia and their families. The Centre is open 6 days a week from 11.00am – 3.00pm providing a variety of stimulating activities including:
• Support with cooking, gardening and other daily tasks.
• Reminiscence, life stories, sing-a-longs and music therapy.
• Light exercise, bowling, walking and outings.
• Games, quizzes, flower arranging, arts and crafts and other creative activities.

Please call a member of the Mendip Community Services team for more information about The Emma Sheppard Dementia Active Centre on 01373 473703.

A recent survey conducted by UNISON of more than 1,000 care workers employed by councils and private firms across the UK, revealed that staff receive inadequate home care training, putting the elderly and disabled at risk.

For example, of the homecare workers surveyed who administer medication, 24 per cent had received no training despite some administering controlled medication such as oramorph (liquid morphine) and insulin, 59 per cent had received no training in how to attach or change a convene catheter, 52 per cent had received no training in how to undertake stoma care, 45 per cent had received no training in how to change a catheter bag and 38 per cent had received no training in how to carry out peg feeding.

More than two thirds (69 per cent) said they cared for people with dementia, with approximately 42 per cent of the care users that they have visited in the last six months having the condition. Despite this, 27 per cent of home care workers have received no training in caring for people with dementia.

At Somerset Care, we agree with UNISON that this situation is unacceptable and are committed to continuing investment in improving and extending clinical training, and development of our home care and residential care workforce, despite the fact that national and local government funding for social care makes it uneconomic to do so.

We’re now looking forward to our next cohort of Advanced Healthcare Practitioner trainees, which includes more home care workers, starting their training and wish them well for their course.
Dr Jane Townson
Interim Lead Executive Director
Somerset Care


Great British Home Care Awards 2015

Two Somerset Care workers were shortlisted for a national award on 24th April.

Joined by their managers, Marjorie King from Preston Park House and Kerry Stanley from Croft House, attended the national Great British Care Home Awards at ICC in Birmingham, after being announced as winners in the regional Great South West Care Awards last year.

Unfortunately, on this occasion Marjorie and Kerry weren’t announced as overall winners on the night, everyone is extremely proud of them both for representing the South West and Somerset Care at a National awards ceremony, a fantastic achievement.

Kerry Stanley and colleagues at the awards ceremonyMarjorie King (right), joined by Manager Chantal Kirkland and Chairman, Chris Davies.



Wiltshire team awarded ‘Base of the month’

Staff at Somerset Care’s Wiltshire office are celebrating after being presented with the ‘Base of the month’ award for March 2015.

This award is presented by members of Somerset Care’s senior team, carefully looking at various criteria and recommendations from other colleagues. The Wiltshire Community Services team, based in Melksham, were presented this due to their commitment to each other as a team and how well they are working together. Members of the team are taking part in many challenges over the coming months such as the Pretty Muddy 5K for Cancer Research and other health and wellbeing challenges as part of the company’s ‘Be Healthy’ campaign.

Speaking on their achievement, Business Manager, Jenny Futcher said “We have really worked hard over the last few months, every week staff have pushed to ensure everyone who needs us gets a visit, the whole team has given 100%.  I could not have asked for a better and more dedicated team, everyone has really pulled together and supported each other. Well done and thank you all.”Wiltshire base of the month




Jenny Futcher Confirmed as Registered Manager

Somerset Care is pleased to announce the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) confirmation of Jenny Futcher as Registered Manager of the Wiltshire Community Services office, based in Melksham.

Jenny FutcherJenny has worked in adult social care for 14 years, 10 of those working for Somerset Care; she initially started as a Care and Support Worker and has worked her way up through the company. In 2013 Jenny joined the Wiltshire team as Deputy Manager, working as part of the ‘Help to Live at Home contract’ and she was offered the position of Business Manager in February 2015.

Speaking on her appointment, Jenny said “I’m thrilled to have been confirmed as Registered Manager by CQC, working in care is extremely positive and rewarding and I feel there are lots of opportunities to develop your career. I have been with Somerset Care for 10 years now and I love the feeling of making a difference to peoples’ lives.”



Chairman’s Update

Alyson Martin retired from the Somerset Care Group just a day or so ago. I first knew Alyson when she took over as manager of our Sunnymeade care home in Chard in the 1970s. It was clear right from the start that she was someone with the highest standards, bright ideas, and the ability to lead her team to deliver them in practice. With the transfer out of Somerset County Council in 1991 and the launch of Somerset Care, Alyson rose quickly through management jobs, making a significant contribution to the Board over many years, and building the Company’s quality and reputation in her role as Director of Care. Alyson and Chris together at the 2014 Somerset Care Group Awards


Alyson will be remembered fondly for her quiet leadership style, her calm and persistent determination through the inevitable troubled times, and her commitment to the success of the Somerset Care Group. She became our Chief Executive on Andrew’s retirement three years ago, and since then, it is entirely fitting that her contribution to the care sector was recognised with the award of an MBE. Alyson will be missed, having been a constant presence throughout the Group’s history. But I know she will be delighted that the team is strong, and, with new leadership, rising to new challenges and opportunities. The Board is very confident that the Somerset Care Group has a bright future. We will always be grateful to Alyson for the part she played in building its strengths.


Chris Davies, CBE, DL
Non-Executive Chair of the Somerset Care Group Board


Generous donation for the Emma Sheppard Centre

Somerset Care was delighted to receive an extremely generous donation for their dementia active centre, The Emma Sheppard Centre, in Frome. The Frome Ladies Club chose the Emma Sheppard Centre as their chosen charity for 2014 and the 40 plus members collected a grand total of £525.00 through holding bake sales, raffles and even a pop-up shop in the town centre.
The Emma Sheppard Centre is run by Somerset Care’s Community Services team in Frome. The centre offers short to medium term support for people with dementia and is open 6 days a week. Visitors to the dementia active centre enjoy a range of activities, as well support with daily living skills and socialising.
Speaking on the donation, Colleen Tucker, Supervisor at the Emma Sheppard Centre, said “We would all like to say a huge thank you to the Frome Ladies Club for their donation, we’re intending use the money to organise some more trips out and events, which will be really appreciated by all.”


Emma Sheppard Centre


Care Home Staff Visit Site of New Home

February has been an exciting month for the staff and residents at Preston Park House in Yeovil.

A working group, made up of staff members from each area of the home, made a very special trip over to Cooksons Orchard, the site of their new purpose-built home, Cooksons Court.

Dressed in the appropriate attire, staff were able to tour the development and look at the progress of the build.

Speaking on the visit, Chantal Kirkland, Manager, said “We’re all so excited about the move to Cooksons Court later this year. It’s great that we can take groups of staff over to tour the development and get a feel for the new space they will have. The residents are really excited too and can’t wait for their first tour.”

Staff visiting the site of Cooksons Court



Frith House Raise Funds for British Heart Foundation

Staff and residents from Frith House in Burnham-on-Sea, took part in the national fundraising for the British Heart Foundation on Friday 6th February. This was in memory of their colleague, Pat Walshe, who sadly passed away last year.

Residents and staff wore red items of clothing to raise awareness of the charity, residents also painted their nails red to support to cause. In total the home raised £59.

Frith House red day


Somerset Care celebrates staff achievements

The Somerset Care Group held their annual awards ceremony on 25th September at the Somerset County Cricket Ground, Taunton, at which several members of staff were honoured.

Over 170 guests, including award winners and their families, attended the event at the County Ground, where staff were recognised for their long service and special achievements. Presentations were made to staff members who had been nominated by their fellow colleagues for going above and beyond, with a winner being announced in each category.

Attendees heard speeches from Alyson Martin, Chief Executive, Eoin Keogh, Director of Care, Susan Baverstock, Group Head of HR and Training and Chris Davies, Chairman.

Speaking at the ceremony, Chief Executive, Alyson Martin said, “it is wonderful to see so many of our staff members being honoured for their commitment and dedication to Somerset Care. It has been a lovely day and a pleasure to be able to celebrate the achievements of our staff.

Fletcher House staffPortcullis House staffHR team