Service User Feedback Audit: 2020

As a service we recognise the value and importance of service user feedback in helping us to improve our services and ensure that they are the best they can be for the young people who use them.

Therefore, we feel it is vital that young people are regularly offered the opportunity to speak freely and openly about how they feel about the service. It is equally important to have an effective process in place to capture that feedback and ensure that it is implemented. To do this, at Care in Mind we conduct an annual ‘Service User Feedback Audit’ which takes place throughout June, July and August. As part of this audit all young people currently in service are sent a survey to complete.

The survey covers all aspects of the service and contains questions on the following topics:

  • The residential home and the environment
  • Care in Mind Team
  • Independence and recovery
  • Education, vocation and activities
  • Service User Involvement
  • Care and treatment
  • Information and communication
  • Feedback and complaints

Survey questions are mostly closed questions, making it easier for young people to complete. However, within the survey there are also lots of opportunities for young people to elaborate further on things if they would like to. Following on from the survey and as part of the audit process, young people are also offered the opportunity to meet with the Service User Involvement Coordinator for a follow up meeting, to discuss any further concerns or suggestions.

Once we have the results of the Service User Feedback Audit, it is analysed and a report containing a summary of the results with an action plan is drawn up. Subsequently, the action plan helps us plan our response to the feedback, and it informs how we plan to grow into the next year in alignment with what the young people actually want and need. The action plan and results are shared with the Clinical/Residential Operations Group, who monitor the action plan closely to ensure all actions are completed.

How Information is Communicated

We strive to communicate all relevant information to young people effectively to ensure that they feel part of their own care and can make informed decisions. Overall, when asked if they felt information was actually presented in a way that was easy to understand, 91% responded with either ‘Yes’ or ‘Sometimes’. Additionally, 83% felt that they were either always or sometimes informed about any changes in their care, and 92% felt that clinicians either sometimes or always take the time to explain their care and treatment in a way they could understand.

The Home

Half of young people surveyed felt that their residential home actually feels like a home, with a further 17% stating that it sometimes felt like a home. When asked why they felt this way, it seems that many of the reasons why it felt less like a home were in relation to COVID-related safety measures, such as PPE and COVID-19 information around the home. It’s unfortunate that this has been yet another negative impact of the past year, however, there were also some positive comments received in relation to this question.

Work Experience & Education

Building independence and providing young people with the tools to build up their future through education and work experience is an key element of our model of care. Of those surveyed, 100% of the young people felt that they are supported by Care in Mind either all of the time or some of the time to access education, volunteering, and work experience opportunities. We also strive to ensure young people explore their identity outside of their mental illness through hobbies and interests. When asked if they felt like Care in Mind supports them in pursuing hobbies and interests, 91% answered ‘Yes’ or ‘Sometimes’. Additionally, all young people surveyed shared that they felt an effort is always or sometimes made to set up activities that would be of interest and value to them.

Service User Involvement/Being Involved in Their Own Care

Involving young people in their own care in a meaningful and helpful way is an important part of the care we offer. Therefore, we were pleased that all young people questioned felt that either always or sometimes felt confident to contribute to their risk management and care plans. Furthermore, 100% also always or sometimes felt confident working with their clinical team on identifying goals towards recovery.

An important part of the survey process includes keeping the young people informed about the outcome of their involvement and are made aware of what action we will take as a service in response to their feedback. Therefore, the results of the survey are shared with all of our young people, utilising the ‘you said, we did’ framework to display this information is presented very clearly. For 2020, we reviewed and acted on feedback from five key areas; therapeutic risk management, complaints, boundaries & consequences, education & vocation, and information about changes to the service and your care. In response to the feedback, we formed working groups where appropriate and made key strides in addressing the concerns of our young people. However, it is also important to note that whilst the Service User Feedback Audit is a key part in addressing the worries of young people, this is also something we attend to throughout the year to ensure that we consistently provide the best possible care.

At Care in Mind, we view the Service User Feedback Audit as one of our most important audits, and we take the young people’s feedback very seriously. Through the audit, we can learn from the young people what we do and do not do well, and it also allows us to learn what they want from the service. Subsequently, the feedback helps us to make important decisions about Care in Mind to ensure that we provide a service that is tailored to the needs of those we care for.

Giving the young people an opportunity to have their voice heard when it comes to their own care is an important aspect of recovery. is essential in making sure we deliver the highest quality of service for those who use it.

Developing Edge Brook

The eating disorder epidemic is something never far from the media, with news stories often detailing how referrals and hospital admissions continue to rise.

According to an article published by the Guardian, eating disorder referrals have seen a stark rise during the pandemic of 2020/21, with lockdown causing eating disorders to thrive and available treatment being significantly impacted by pandemic-related issues. Additionally, the number of routine referrals rose from 915 in April to June 2016 to 1,850 in the first three months of 2020, this number then continued to rise to a record high from July to September, as it went up to 2,001. This data is based on routine referrals starting treatment in the community for children and young people. However, even prior to the pandemic, referrals have been rising, with a NHS Digital press release based on the Health Survey for England finding that 19% over women aged 16 and over screened positive for a possible eating disorder when question on their relationship with food in 2019. The same survey also found that almost one in eight men also screened positive for an eating disorder. This ongoing epidemic is clear when reviewing the eating disorder hospital admission statistics for 2018-19, which not only highlights the growing number of young people diagnosed with eating disorders, but also the amount that fall into the more complex category of ‘Other’, where they don’t fit into the bulimia or anorexia category.

Introducing Edge Brook

At Care in Mind we have spent the last few years working on developing a specialist service for young people with complex eating disorders. Over the years, we have seen ourselves the truth behind the headlines and statistics, and witnessed the increase in demand across eating disorder services and stretched capacity nationwide for Specialist Eating Disorder Unit (SEDU) inpatient beds. During this time period our own data also shows an increase in referrals for our core services for young people with a primary diagnosis of an eating disorder, or comorbidity with complex mental health needs. We are therefore delighted to be opening Edge Brook, our first specialist residential service for young people with complex eating disorders, later this year. The service will build on our core model of care, with additional specialised support for eating disorders. During the development process, our Clinical, Residential and Executive Management teams have worked hard to ensure that Edge Brook will provide a safe, helpful space for young people to recover and successfully integrate back into the community.

Our commitment to least restrictive practice and the way in which we care for young people will reflect our core service offer. Therefore, there will be an expectation that young people are of stable physical health and have managed at least 6 weeks without tube feeding by admission. Not only is this to ensure we can care for residents in the most therapeutic, least restrictive environment, but also to provide the best chance for a successful journey through our pathway to independence at a time when the young person is ready.

Developing Edge Brook has been a lengthy process, and one that has been taken very seriously by those involved. We have engaged in research in many forms, and held consultation sessions to gain insight from individuals, and their parents/carers, who have been treated by community and inpatient eating disorder services. These sessions were run by our Service User Coordinator who is also an expert by experience, and our Clinical Director. Individuals were given a chance to openly discuss their thoughts and feelings about the service following a brief explanation of our model of care for the service. Additionally, we have worked closely with a dietician on a consultancy basis to gain valuable and specialist advice towards helping us to develop protocols.

Edge Brook: Home Images

Consultation Event Feedback

The research gathered during the consultation event was invaluable and gave us an important insight into what is truly required from an effective eating disorder service. Several key themes emerged from the feedback:

Hope: One of the strongest themes identified was the importance of hope, particularly when in inpatient settings where young people may feel stuck, and it can be difficult to be hopeful for the future and a life outside of hospital. Often young people in hospital with eating disorders can be subject to lengthy inpatient stays, or become ‘revolving door’ patients which may be down to a lack of appropriate pathways out of hospital. Giving young people the hope of a community-based residential treatment option could positively impact their motivation to move on from hospital.

Recovery: Another key theme was the importance of recovery from a ‘whole-person’ perspective. Participants felt that often there is an understandable focus on stabilisation of physical health but they felt it was important for services to consider what recovery means for each individual, and thinking about developing a sense of agency and achievement outside of their Eating Disorder identity. Ways we may do this include giving them more control over their lives, something we already do in our core residential homes, so that they are able to make decisions such as when they want to see their friends or what education they want to access. It’s important that young people are given this space for independence so that they can re-learn and build up their confidence in how to do everyday tasks that may have been done for them whilst in hospital.

Independence: Ensuring the building of independence skills will be a core focus, and it is important this is done in a way that meets people at their current level. Many of the young people we work with may feel de-skilled in many areas following lengthy inpatient stays and it is important that independence goals are developed around their needs and priorities. As with all elements of our service planning, the person-centred nature of this will be key.

Individualised Care Planning: Individualised care planning will be incredibly important to the way in which we work at Edge Brook. We believe eating disorders cannot be treated with one single approach, particularly when working with individuals with different diagnoses. Recovery goals for each individual will be tailored, based on maintaining and developing their own physical health and independence-related goals. Goals will be developed in collaboration with young people to support their understanding of exactly why we do what we do, and why this will benefit their journey to recovery. Additionally, we will take the time to explain to young people why it is that everyone in the home has differing goals and care plans, but that everyone will receive the same high level of input and support.

Systemic Approach: Our participants highlight the importance of joined up and consistent care, both within and across systems. At Edge Brook, building relationships and collaboration with local stakeholders will be essential; particularly where a young person may require a short term re-admission to hospital to support stabilising their physical health. With collaboration, effective communication and clear joint working protocols, our hope would be that admissions can be short with a joined-up approach, supporting the young person to return to Edge Brook in a safe, structured and planned way.

This systemic thinking also relates to how families and carers are able to be involved, which was important to our participants. Edge Brook will offer Family Therapy and interventions but it will also consider other ways they can be supported to engage with the service, in a way that is helpful and appropriate for the young person. Gaining the understanding and appropriate input from parents and carers will help to provide a level of consistency when visiting home, but also if the young person is to return home when transitioning out of care back into the community.

 Identity: The final key theme that emerged from the consultation event was Identity and in particular, who the young person is regardless of their eating disorder. Often young people who have had extensive inpatient admissions can feel robbed of key developmental stages in their adolescence which can lead to struggling with their identity outside of being a patient. One of the suggestions for supporting this was a peer support group, led by individuals who are in recovery, with the aim of providing hope for a future outside of services, but also sharing practical suggestions that have worked for others. This is something we hope to be able to provide as the new service opens, and we will be liaising with experts by experience to support the facilitation of this.

Edge Brook: Eating Disorder Service Consultation Event Feedback

The Home & Staffing Model

In many ways, our staffing model for Edge Brook reflects that of our core homes, however, as this is a specialist eating disorder home, we will have additional specialist staff to support the complex and differing needs of the young people. We will provide dietetic input through a specialised dietitian as well as in-house chefs to help young people create healthy, balanced meals (where appropriate). The home will also have increased physical health monitoring in comparison to our core service. This will be to ensure we are maintaining the physical aspect of the young people’s health as well as the psychological side of their recovery. Staff who work within the home have been carefully selected, with input from our Managing Director, Sharron Amri, to ensure that the right people are chosen for what will be a challenging job. There will also be an enhanced training programme to prepare those working in the homes. Additionally, like with our core service, staff will be well supported through regular staff support sessions and reflective practice in addition to standard supervision, as we know that supported, happy staff are more effective in supporting the young people.

As already mentioned, the home will have enhanced physical monitoring, and to allow for this, we will have a clinic within the home. However, a lot of thought and consideration has been put into ensuring that this clinical aspect does not make the home feel like a hospital. As with all of our homes, Edge Brook will have a homely, caring feel with young people given a say in how to decorate both common areas and their own rooms. Furthermore, outside the home, there is a wealth of green space, including a duck pond and allotment. This will provide a mindful space for young people, but also the ability to grow their own food, helping them in approaching and considering food in a more healthy and holistic way.

Edge Brook: Home Images

We will be sharing more detail about our progress towards opening this exciting new service in the coming months. If you would like to speak to someone for more information please contact 0161 638 3285

What Makes Us Different? – Clinical

At Care in Mind, there are many distinctive elements to how we do things, whether it’s our approach to therapeutic risk management or our specially trained clinical staff.

We are proud to offer care with a difference, and strive to ensure that our staff are well supported in doing the amazing job they do. Here, one of our Clinical Psychologists, Emma Williamson, shares why working for Care in Mind has differed from her previous experiences:

What makes us different?

Before coming to work here, I worked in other NHS services locally, and came to know about Care in Mind from working on an inpatient ward. We had referred some young people to the service, and I had heard good things. While I didn’t know anything in detail, there was just a general sense of the service being good. They seemed like a nice place to deal with and refer young people to.

So, when I saw a job advertised, I applied for it partly because it felt like somewhere I wanted to work, it seemed like a place that was very caring and compassionate and when I read up a little more, I really liked the therapeutic models and the general approach. Hearing about the homes, the environment provided, the ethos and how Care in Mind thinks about supporting young people just all sounded great. I thought, this is a place I would really like to work because it fits with everything that, during clinical training, you think you would like to be able to provide for someone.

Then, when I came to interview, what I really liked was that the Executive Management Group (EMG) at the time were all clinical with a background of working with young people in a clinical setting. They all seemed to really understand it from experience, and that is quite different to some other services, where sometimes those at the top making the decisions have not been able to have the clinical background experience, which really helps to provide a full understanding of what is important and needed. So, I really loved that from when the company had started, it had been clinicians who had created Care in Mind, and that their aims and ethos were based on that experience.

Also, in the years that I have worked here, I have experienced a real culture of openness, so it feels like it is okay to question. For example, if I was to say I think this process could be improved, it will then be a question of how can we better understand or act on that, and let’s look towards making changes. It’s not about doing things reactively, but more planning how we can understand something properly, how we can build processes around it, as well as considering what the research tells us and what kind of models are out there. There is a real commitment to working collaboratively, improving and understanding how to do things well.

How do you think the care we offer to young people is different compared to what other mental health residential services offer?

The complexity of how we understand young people, and the amount of time and attention we pay to really understanding them and what will help them individually to begin to be able to live well independently is definitely different here to my experiences in other settings. Having been through clinical training and worked in a variety of other environments, I think I hadn’t truly understood how to unpick and formulate risk, and to plan well to support someone with that until I joined Care in Mind. I had seen a lot of structured tick box assessments, descriptions of risk behaviours and incident logs. Here it is very different. At Care in Mind, we look a lot more at the context and what the function is, and how we might be able to support people in managing it differently.

Being with Care in Mind is certainly the first time I have truly felt therapeutic risk management has been understood and embraced. There’s a lot of talk about it in other care settings, but there are often difficulties in implementing it and there’s often a fear of ‘what if’. I think that having that least restrictive practice model and having the collaborative way of managing things together, and that understanding of what is going on with people is just brilliant; it makes things feel so much better.

What do you think has been our key to success?

I think we have a lot of fabulous staff throughout the company that have strived hard and are dedicated to providing the best care for our young people. Also, having seen across services what can influence culture, the commitment of the EMG is just amazing. Their ability and dedication to openness and to promoting a culture where it is possible to question, understand, and try new things out to strive to improve is something very special. I think some of it comes down to personality, but also many years of experience and really caring about striving to do the best possible for the staff teams and young people we support. So, there is certainly something really special about those people who are leading the ship! I think there is always that dedication to improve things and make changes where they need to be made, and I think that is really what has gotten us to this point.

How do you feel about our 10-year anniversary?

Reflecting on how the service has grown has been amazing. Having been with Care in Mind for just over four years, I remember staff telling me when I first arrived how much the service had grown just in the few months beforehand. We had started off as a very small service with the whole team based in one place, and when I joined we had just moved into Head Office, new people were joining, and staff teams were growing. Now, four years on, things have grown even more, and I think it’s great that we’re able to provide placements for so many young people.

It’s been quite challenging to say the least through Covid-19 working remotely and not seeing each other often, but our support staff and service user involvement teams have done so well in supporting our young people. They have found amazing ways to work creatively during a difficult time and seeing the work they’ve been doing has been impressive. There is just such an ethos of pulling together and getting each other through.

It’s a big milestone and I’m very excited. I think because it can be hard sometimes for people to understand our models and why we take the approach we take but the proof is in the pudding. Look at how we have grown; all of the young people and the positive outcomes highlight that there is a need for what we do, for care that is provided in this least restrictive, collaborative and supportive way. It’s not always easy but it’s so great to see that we have reached this milestone and have grown so much.

How do you see the future of Care in Mind?

There is such a need for a shift in mental health care to become more collaborative and move away from restrictive practices so with that in mind I can’t see anything other than continuing growth. Not just growing in the way that we have been, I think also a growth in the way we share our approach and aim to inspire other services too. I think that there is also a need for a shift in the way things are done sooner on in the process, even before hospital. It would be great to see us provide more support for how care is provided in other settings, and I think many ways this is already happening. Hospitals and other care providers often see the work we do and think that they want to try those methods too, which I think is really great. I’d really like to see this collaboration and outreach work continue and expand into other settings too.

What Makes Care in Mind Different? Residential Services Manager

What Makes Us Different? – Residential

At Care in Mind, there are many distinctive elements to how we do things, whether it’s our least restrictive model of care or our commitment to staff.

We are proud to offer care with a difference, and strive to ensure that our staff are well supported in doing the amazing job they do. Here, our Residential Services Manager, James Lucas, shares why working for Care in Mind has differed from his previous experiences:

What makes us different?

Having worked within the care sector since the age of 21 and having held a number of different roles within different care providers, I can honestly say that no company has come close to offering the support and guidance that Care in Mind does for its staff team.

Obviously support structures like supervisions and team meetings are commonplace within the care sector. However, within Care in Mind, there is also Reflective Practice and Staff Support within service, as well as Team Briefs company wide. I feel that these support structures are something that are highly valuable in looking out for the welfare of our staff team. Working within residential care is a massively challenging job and staff are exposed to some really challenging situations in the line of their duty, it is vital that this is recognised and the relevant support is in place to ensure the wellbeing of our staff members.

This is something that is hugely appreciated by people like myself, who have worked for different care companies previously, who recognise that Care in Mind really do go above and beyond to support their employees and recognise the challenging work they do day in, day out.

Having a happy, supported care team is essential in ensuring the quality of care we are providing.

How do you think the care we offer to young people is different compared to what other mental health residential services offer?

I believe the thing that sets Care in Mind apart is the company values and the way these are central to all of the work completed with the young people in our care.

The 6 core values (Innovative, Collaborative, Empowering, Compassionate, Committed, Respectful) are intrinsic to every aspect of the care received by our young people and the amazing work done on a daily basis by the care teams in our homes.

What makes Care in Mind different? | Our Values

The residential staff are introduced to the Care in Mind values as early as the interview stage and asked to consider which of the values they feel they relate to most. As their employment commences, they are asked to give consideration as to how they are meeting these values on a regular basis, ensuring that they are always central to the work they are completing.

By ensuring that these values are constantly being considered and at the forefront of care staff’s working practices, it creates some really positive environments for our young people to fulfil their potential and assist in their recovery journey.

Another huge benefit is the internal MDT which provides much better consistency for the young people in the management of their care. The positive working relationships between the residential and clinical teams is massively beneficial in ensuring effective information sharing and the direction of the delivery of quality care and support. Not being reliant on external services, and the inconsistencies/delays/etc that comes along with these, provides much more stability for our young people.

What do you think has been our key to success?

Aside from the points previously mentioned, I think something that has been key to Care in Mind’s success is the attitude towards development, improvement and positive change. This is an approach that is evident from top to bottom within the organisation.

Care in Mind is an organisation that constantly strives for improvement, rather than change for the sake of change. Prior to any new systems or structures being implemented, feedback is sought from delegates from all positions – from Support Workers to Managers – to ensure that the changes are going to be beneficial in providing quality evidence for the service and assist in leading to better outcomes for the young people.

Staff are also empowered to make suggestions for potential changes and recognised and rewarded for these suggestions should they be implemented. This is obviously vital in ensuring that our staff feel valued and appreciated. It is also important for the progression of the staff and development opportunities.

This is something else that has been intrinsic in Care in Mind’s success, developing their staff into both management and senior management positions. Due to the specialised and unique nature of the work we do, it is hugely beneficial for Care in Mind to promote from within to ensure ingrained company values and working knowledge and understanding of our models of care.

How do you feel about our 10-year anniversary?

In June I will have been with Care in Mind for 5 years, so I have been with the company for around half of its journey so far. I started as a Deputy Manager before progressing to an RM, Residential Lead and recently obtained my current position of Residential Services Manager.

What makes Care in Mind different? | 10 Years of Care in Mind

More than anything else, I am really proud of having been a part of the progression of the company and directly (or indirectly) being involved in the care, progression and recovery of some fantastic young people.

As I have previously mentioned, it is a massively challenging line of work, but I believe that it is evident that the positives always outweigh the negatives.

How do you see the future of Care in Mind?

I’m excited to see where Care in Mind is at the 20-year anniversary. I would like to think that the company will continue to expand, which in turn will allow us to offer more placements for young people to recover within a community setting and provide them with opportunities that they would otherwise not have access to.

I do wholeheartedly believe that as much as Care in Mind does continue to grow – the core values will always be maintained, allowing the opportunity for the excellent work that is currently being completed to be done on a larger scale.

Celebrating Our Staff

Celebrating Our Staff

At the end of each year, we host a ‘Staff Awards’ celebration to recognise individuals who have gone above and beyond over the previous 12 months.

During 2020, we were especially impressed with the resilience and dedication of all our staff, in a year of unprecedented challenges. So, although we weren’t able to get together in person, our virtual awards ceremony on 17th December was a particularly special celebration of our staff team’s achievements.

Each category is carefully considered, and the finalists for each category were nominated by their colleagues, with the winner being carefully selected by our Executive Management Group. The ‘Young Person Award’ was particularly meaningful, as it was voted for by the young people we care for across Care in Mind.

Our Winners

Care in Mind Values Champion: Cara Godbold-Holmes (Residential Manager – Willowhurst), Danny Rawcliffe (Deputy Manager – Lyndhurst), Hannah Langton (People Services Manager)

This is for an individual who consistently demonstrates the Care in Mind values (Committed, Empowering, Collaborative, Innovative, Compassionate and Respectful) within their role.

Head Office Team of the Year: Service User Involvement Team

This award was for a Head Office team who consistently demonstrate good team working, to deliver an efficient and high performing service. They have successfully implemented change and/or improved services. This could include developing new ways of working and shared learning.

Residential Home of the Year: Lyndhurst

A residential team who consistently demonstrate good team working, to deliver an efficient and high performing service. They have successfully implemented change and/or improved services. This could include developing new ways of working and shared learning.

Residential Home of the Year: Lyndhurst

Clinician of the Year: Josef Comyn-Doyle (Clinical Nurse Specialist / Clinical Lead – Yorkshire)

An individual working in a clinical role who has made an exceptional contribution to Care in Mind and its services, but whose contribution and role often goes unrecognised. They show dedication and commitment to their role and make a genuine difference to others.

Manager/Leader of the Year: Danny Rawcliffe (Deputy Manager – Lyndhurst)

An individual with outstanding leadership skills who inspires people to go the extra mile. They are innovative and value their peers while actively mentoring and encouraging people they work with. Tireless in their efforts to change the system for the benefit of all.

Calmer of the Storms Award: Jordan Griffiths (Deputy Manager – Brockenhurst)

The person who has the ability to show resilience when things are hectic. They remain calm in any situation and can be relied upon to get the job done and support their team in a time of crisis.

Best Newcomer: Carly Finch (Residential Manager – Elmhurst)

This is someone who has joined Care in Mind over the past 12 months and has already made an impact to the company, the lives of our young people or to the team they work in.

Extra Mile Award: Danny Rawcliffe (Deputy Manager – Lyndhurst)

An individual that goes beyond their job description to help Care in Mind deliver its objectives. They epitomise creative thinking, commitment, determination, and drive.

Covid Hero 2020 Award: Lauren Ugbode (Head of Service)

An individual or team has gone above and beyond to care for young people and colleagues during the COVID-19 pandemic. Where the nominee has made a ‘heroic’ effort on behalf of the young people or colleagues.

The Young Person Award: Rosemary Snow (Support Worker – Westfield)

This is an award nominated by our young people to an individual who they feel has enhanced their experience at Care in Mind and has had a real, positive influence in their journey.

Outstanding Achievement Award

This year also marked an important milestone for our Managing Director, Sharron Amri. Sharron has been with Care in Mind since the very beginning, and has consistently been a positive force throughout her 10 years. She played a key part in developing Care in Mind into who we are today, and has helped the lives are countless young people.

Outstanding Achievement Award: Sharron Amri

Here is what some of her colleagues and a former young person had to say:

“I have worked at Care In Mind for nearly 6 years and I can honestly say Sharron has been amazing… Compassion is the focus of all her decision making and she continues to strive to support the delivering of care for an amazing company.”Kelly Yates, Residential Services Manager

You helped me in every single area of my career from support worker skills to managerial skills and even my training skills… You are never afraid to put yourself out there if it means the young people would benefit or have a moment where they forgot their problems and felt truly happy… You are an amazing Managing Director… Care in Mind wouldn’t be what it is without you where you are now. On behalf of every single person you have ever met I want to say thank you.” Dominique Hooper, Best Practice Facilitator

Imagining how my life might have turned out without Sharron’s intervention is not worth thinking about… Sharron was not, and is not, just a nurse, she’s a person who puts her whole energy into helping those around her. Any current or future young persons Sharron has in her care are some of the luckiest people; they are getting a second chance at life, and although not at all easy, Sharron provides all the tools needed to persevere.

So, from the bottom of my heart, I am so indebted and grateful for you, Sharron. Care in Mind would not be Care in Mind without you and you are everything people should aspire to be.” – Former Care in Mind Young Person

Many congratulations to all who received awards this year! We are very proud of all Care in Mind staff for their hard work over a difficult year. We’re looking forward to an exciting year ahead, which is particularly special as we will be celebrating our 10th anniversary – watch this space for more details!

Our Commitment To People

At Care in Mind, we pride ourselves on our commitment to our employees, because it is our hardworking, passionate colleagues who make us what we are.

Therefore, when faced with the opportunity to step up our Investors in People (IIP) accreditation from the Standard First Time assessment to Silver or Gold, our People Services team decided that they wanted to quite literally, ‘go for gold’. Over many months, the team worked alongside IIP, with employees also getting involved through answering questionnaires and having interviews with an IIP representative.

The People Services team were keen to achieve Gold as a way of recognising and showing to others that we are truly committed and invested in our staff. Subsequently, on 19th November 2020, we received the news that we had been awarded the Gold level accreditation.

The CEO of IIP, Paul Devoy said of our achievement: “Gold accreditation on We invest in people is a fantastic effort for any organisation, and places Care in Mind in fine company with a host of organisations that understand the value of people.”

We could not agree more with his words, and with just 17% of accredited organisations managing to achieve the Gold level, we really believe this quite the accomplishment.

Here is what Sharron Amri, our Managing Director, had to say of our triumph: “Being awarded the Gold level accreditation by Investors in People is a huge achievement, and it could not have been done without our fantastic People Services team, as well as each and every Care in Mind employee who took part in making our dream becoming a reality.”

Additionally, Julie Burton, People Director, said: “This is an amazing achievement for Care in Mind. To achieve Gold in only our second assessment makes us extremely proud. Over the past 3 years we have worked hard to aim for the Gold standard. There has been tremendous teamwork to ensure we have the right support in place for our staff and our management and leadership team have strived to embed our new core values. The healthcare sector has faced an extremely challenging time in 2020 and this award is a testament to of all of the excellent work our teams have done to ensure a safe environment for our young people. 2021 marks Care in Minds 10th Anniversary and achieving this recognition is the icing on the cake to what will be a very special year.

We received Investors in People Gold level accreditation!
So, why did IIP award us with Gold level accreditation?
  • We are effective communicators, which allows for better decision-making.
  • Our values are truly embedded in everything we do, with almost 100% of those surveyed agreeing that we have clear values.
  • Staff understand how to improve with the help of appropriate, in-depth auditing.
  • We are dedicated to recognising and rewarding our people, with 85.3% of those surveyed expressing that they contribution to the organisation is valued.
  • Staff are well-supported through regular supervisions, staff support groups and reflective practice sessions.
  • We are dedicated to collaboration across all teams.
Investors in People statistic: Almost 90% of employees surveyed feel that Care in Mind is a great place to work.
What else did our people have to say?
  • About management: “They are open and really motivating. They want everyone to work to the best of their ability and they push to be best that you can be. They are challenging in a really positive way.”
  • About our values: “It’s a positive culture. The thing that appeals to me about the organisation is that values are at the centre of what we do. It feels like an organisation that puts the young people we work with at the centre and at the heart of what we want to achieve. You see and feel it everywhere.”
  • About our culture: “It’s very warm and caring. I’ve worked for a number of companies and never found any as caring as here – there’s no blame culture, we thrive on lessons learned and genuinely listen to our young people.”
  • About being empowered: “We are empowered. Everyone is so open to suggestions and people have boundaries and frameworks and support to make decisions.”
Investors in People quote: “Care in Mind is one of best organisations I’ve worked for. There are lots of fun things and as much effort as possible is made to make sure staff are appreciated.”
  • About rewarding our staff: “We reward massively to be honest. Every month every house has an employee of the month and a budget for gifts and treats to use how we want. We get certificates for over 95% audit. We get thanks on the HR system. There’s loads.”
  • About progressing within the company: “We encourage people to progress and achieve – we recruit people with little or no experience and then progress them with NVQs. People are empowered by the fact that they can grow and progress and there is a process for that.”
  • About training opportunities: “I do feel very invested in personally. I’ve been doing training and was offered a lot of support with that, such as time off work to study. Training is really good here and the best I’ve had.”
  • About our auditing processes: “Any findings from audits are sent to the internal teams, then they are reported into monthly operations meeting, then they go into clinical audit committee. Escalations are fed into appropriate groups, any lessons learned recorded onto a log and actions plans compiled form audits and each action reviewed monthly. ”
  • About diversity and inclusion: “We are working on a big project in terms of inclusion and diversity. We are looking at diversity and how representative we are and looking at how this impacts on how we recruit and manage people.”

We are thrilled with our new Gold accreditation from Investors in People, and are looking forward to continuing to invest and empower our people going forward.

To Risk Or Not To Risk?

To Risk Or Not To Risk?

At Care in Mind, we work within a least restrictive model, with an emphasis on therapeutic risk management.

The dilemma of risking or restricting risk comes down weighing up long-term benefits with present day risks. So, why do we believe in long-term benefits and managing risk therapeutically and with the least restraint?

When a young person spends lots of time in a hospital, it can lead to a heavy reliance on others to protect them. Additionally, it can be easy for them to unlearn, or become fearful of, various normal areas of life, such as making a cup of tea or using metal cutlery. Essentially, it can significantly hinder their ability to learn the value in responsibility and independence. This is especially true of young people who may have been in and out of hospital during their early teenage years.

As well as a loss of independence and reliance on others, heavy restrictions can cause young people to feel out of control. Losing this control may lead them to take increased risks as time goes on, thus they find themselves in a dangerous cycle of risky behaviour.

Of course, it is understandable that restrictive care has become the norm, as what is a natural reaction to someone hurting themselves? It is to take away that risk and stop them. However, at Care in Mind, we have intensive training in place for our residential staff so that this reaction can be challenged. Instead of restrictive care, we focus on assertive care and train our staff to support young people in keeping themselves safe. Our least restrictive model is very much based on the principles of Therapeutic Risk Management.

The Five Principles of Therapeutic Risk Managament
The Principles Of Therapeutic Risk Management

There are five principles of Therapeutic Risk Management and they each underlie our Therapeutic Risk model, which is paramount to successful risk management in a least restrictive manner.

The first principle is focused on collaboration, therapeutic rcaelationships and informed decision making on the young person’s part. Care in Mind young people are put at the forefront of their own care and work alongside our comprehensive MDT to ensure they receive care that is most helpful for them. Much of those relies on an open and honest relationship between staff and young people, which gives them the confidence to trust those who care for them.

The second principle is about creating a strength based, person-centred approach to recovery. This is done utilising the “Managing Mental Health Ladder” and the “Mental Health Recovery Star” (Recovery Star™ (4th Edition) – Triangle (outcomesstar.org.uk). The ladder is all about progressing how you manage your mental health issues. To assess how young people progress and to ensure we focus on the necessary areas of recovery, we utilise the “Mental Health Recovery Star”. These will be filled out on a regular basis throughout the young person’s time within the homes to document how they are doing.

The third principle is about effective team-working and building risk-sharing partnerships. This is about the way we always care for young people being understood and consistent, including when liaising with Emergency Services, Social Care and Safeguarding teams. Maintaining a stable level of least restrictive care is vital in minimising the risk of further setbacks into a risky cycle of behaviour.

The Mental Health Recovery Star & The Managing Mental Health Ladder

The fourth principle is providing a safe culture for both residential staff and the young people. A significant part of this is through reflective practice and a no blame culture. We try to take every opportunity to learn from where we may have gone wrong and improve upon our practice, both individually and as an organisation. Rather than having one way of doing things and strictly enforcing that, we encourage staff to bring forward any innovative ideas they may have.

The fifth and final principle is about providing least restrictive interventions. Rather than removing risks, using physical restraint, or conducting observations on people, we utilise less invasive ways to care for our young people.

Naturally, a least restrictive environment is not suited to every individual and their mental health journey. In cases where young people are actively suicidal, have a means to end their own life or lack capacity, we may not necessarily recommend a least restrictive model of care. It all comes down to assessing potential risks and weighing up the potential benefits for each unique individual.

For some young people, a least restrictive environment and therapeutically managed risks can allow them to gain the necessary independence to thrive once they leave residential care. It can help break the cycle of readmission and give them the self-belief that they can take responsibility for their own safety.

Therefore, we choose to risk (where appropriate), because it can help the young person learn to live their most safe, satisfying, and meaningful life.

The Importance of Clinical Audit

Clinical audit and quality assurance are an important part of any healthcare organisation.

Behind the scenes, Care in Mind is very much like a well-run machine with various vital components to keep things running smoothly. One component of our organisation that helps us to remain high-quality, compliant, and reflective is our Quality Assurance Department.

The White Paper “Working for Patients” introduced the audit of clinical care initiative in 1989. The purpose of the initiative was to improve the quality of patient care and to ensure best practice is being undertaken. Whilst this process originated within the NHS, it is now embedded across many healthcare organisations, including Care in Mind. Additionally, our auditing process does differ from that of the NHS as we have a unique model of care.

The auditing undertaken within Care in Mind is used to measure performance across all areas of the business:

Residential audits

  • Medication and physical health equipment audits are completed by the CQC champion of each home.
  • Health and safety audits are completed by the health and safety champion in each house.
  • File audits are completed, which review areas such as, care plans, risk management plans, daily notes, and incident reports.
  • We also have a Service user involvement audit completed by the service user involvement champion for each home.

Other areas we audit

  • Medication management
  • External communications
  • Risk assessment and management
  • Quality audits set against the model of care
  • Annual young person feedback survey

Why is auditing so helpful?

  • Clinical audit provides the framework to improve the quality of patient care in a collaborative and systematic way.
  • Through Audit we can identify emerging trends, which enables us to identify risks and implement actions before it becomes a bigger issue.
  • Auditing allows us to identify which services are performing well and promote good practice, which improves the quality of the services and outcomes to users and similarly to identify where services require improvement.
  • During the pandemic, auditing has played an important part in protecting the physical health of our young people and residential staff.
  • Additionally, audits can help shed light on how young people cope with external factors (such as a pandemic). This allows us to be better prepared going forward and provide the best care.

To ensure we learn from audits they are reviewed across the organisation through our Audit Committee and Governance processes.  Data is scrutinised to ensure we gain all that we can from it and move forward making the necessary changes to support best practice.

Care in Mind: Our Values

As a mental health care provider, our values are immensely important in helping us to achieve our core mission.

With a strong set of values, we are able to ensure that as individuals, we can understand each other and work towards the same goal. This is particularly important when it comes to working within mental health care, as our collective goal is to help people, and the most effective way we can achieve this is together.

Below, we are going to share with you how our values came to be, based on the words of Sharron Amri, our Managing Director:

The Story of Our Values

The journey of creating the Care in Mind values was a process that took several months. It was important to get right as we knew that they would carve out the company culture and reflect who we are and what we care about to all our stakeholders. We also strongly felt that the values should be created collaboratively with the very staff that embody them, so our employee focus group was a key part of the process.

Firstly, the group looked at a number of visuals and everyone picked an image that they thought best described Care in Mind. Then, they reviewed the values of other companies, both big and small. After that, they discussed which images and words most related to the Care in Mind ethos.

Next, the group utilised Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle model and considered what our ‘why’ is. Why do we do what we do and what is our purpose? The overwhelming consensus was that we do what we do to make a difference to the young people we support. The group then came up with several words that described how we do this, and it was discussed which values the group felt were a good fit with our ‘why’.

From the session, the group decided on several values, which had to be narrowed down to our core values. This was achieved by sending an online survey out to all staff giving everyone the option of voting on which they felt were the most relevant words to describe our values. From this feedback the Care in Mind values were formed!

Our values: Respectful, Compassionate, Innovative, Collaborative, Empowering and Committed.

Our six values are: Respectful, Compassionate, Innovative, Collaborative, Empowering and Committed. Each and every value plays a role in informing what we do on a daily basis. They play a part in guiding residential staff through caring for our young people, they help managers to make decisions and they allow us all to work towards the same goals.

To learn more about our values, click here.

The Truth Behind Mental Health Myths

Whilst mental health is more widely understood than it once was, there are still harmful myths and stigmas attached to it.   

Continuing to believe these myths, and the many others that exist, seriously hinders the excellent progress being made regarding understanding mental health. So, in honour of World Mental Health Day, we want to disprove just a few mental health myths.

MYTH: People with mental health issues are often violent and unpredictable.

This particular myth is, sadly, commonly believed, and may somewhat be attributed to the way in which TV and film portrays mental illness. However, the truth is that there no evidence to say that people with a mental health condition are more likely to commit violent crimes. In fact, it is far more likely that someone with mental illness will be victim to violence or harm themselves.

MYTH: Talking therapy either makes your condition worse, or doesn’t help at all.

The myths surrounding treatment of mental illness are aplenty, and people often have their own opinion on what does or doesn’t work. Unfortunately, there are often falsely believed ideas about the benefits of therapy, but the truth is that therapy is a helpful part of recovery for many people.

MYTH: People with a mental health condition cannot succeed professionally, romantically, or socially.

People with mental health conditions are not only capable of being successful in all areas of life, but they also very much deserve to be happy and achieve their goals. There are many highly successful people who also have experienced mental illness and have subsequently talked about their journey. For example, One Direction star Zayn Malik has openly discussed his battle with anxiety, and “Roar” singer Katy Perry has also shared her experience of depression and suicidal thoughts.

MYTH: You can tell if someone has a mental illness.

One in four people will experience a mental health condition at some point during their life, and despite the myth, it can affect anyone, regardless of skin colour, age, gender, sexuality, or social class. People with a mental illness do not look, or necessarily act, a certain way, as it is truly something that could impact anyone.

Myths such as these cause a lack of understanding, which can result in heightened fear and stigma around mental illness. Fear and stigma can hinder individuals receiving the help they need or may even lead someone to feel that their mental health condition is something to be ashamed of.

Being aware of, and subsequently challenging mental health myths is an important step in educating ourselves about what mental illness is.