Introducing 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.

In 2021 we opened Edge Brook, our first specialist residential service for young people with complex eating disorders. The service has been built on our core model of care, with additional specialised support for eating disorders.

Our commitment to least restrictive practice and the way in which we care for young people will reflect our core service offer. Therefore, there is 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 was a lengthy process. We 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 worked closely with a dietician 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 is key.

Individualised Care Planning: Individualised care planning is 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 are tailored, based on maintaining and developing their own physical health and independence-related goals. Goals are 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 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 highlighted the importance of joined up and consistent care, both within and across systems. At Edge Brook, building relationships and collaboration with local stakeholders is 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 is that admissions are short with a joined-up approach, supporting the young person to return to Edge Brook in a safe, structured and planned way.

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. Enabling young people to develop an identity is important whether that’s through giving our young people the ability to decorate their own rooms or supporting their interests in a new hobby.

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 have additional specialist staff to support the complex and differing needs of the young people. We 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 has 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, to ensure that the right people are chosen for what is a challenging job. Like with our core service, staff are 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 with all of our homes, Edge Brook has a homely, caring feel and our young people are 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.

Edge Brook: Home Images

To make a referral or to find out more information about our services, please call the team on 0161 638 3285 or email referrals@careinmind.com

A note from CEO, David Kingsley

The first edition of our newsletter has been sent out! If you would like to receive our newsletters and be the first to know about upcoming educational events, then you can sign up here.

Below are a few words from our CEO, David Kingsley that were included in our first edition.

I am aware that some of you have been alongside us on our journey for many years, whereas others may only have recently come across our organisation. So, in this first newsletter, I have been asked to write a little about the story of Care in Mind from its first beginnings to the exciting organisation it has become today.

Care in Mind first came into being in 2008.  As a Consultant Psychiatrist in a Low Secure CAMHS service I was very aware of the difficulties in finding well supported community step-down placements for young people leaving hospital services who had often been inpatients for long periods. A significant minority of these patients required a more intensive level of support in the community to sustain their progress than could be provided by a loving family alongside a clinical based community mental health team.

Working alongside some clinical colleagues, we began offering a mental health outreach service into a new designated children’s home provided by a partner organisation.  We trained the residential team and we offered a fully CAMHS service including psychiatry, psychology and nursing and a 24/7 on-call support to the residential team to manage out of hours crisis situations.

After a few years of working into residential settings with several partner providers we observed that it was difficult to maintain a common culture across the health and social care components of the service and decided that it was time for us to open our own residential homes.  The first of these, Lyndhurst, opened in 2014.  Over subsequent years we have gone on to open 10 homes across the North of England, spread across Cheshire and Wirral, Lancashire and Yorkshire. 

From the outset we set ourselves up as an organisation that would put the young people and young adults we work with at the centre of all that we do.  Many of our young people have had difficult experiences of care-givers and care organisations previously and more than anything we aim to provide a caring and supportive setting where they feel at home and where they can make the changes needed to their lives, thoughts and behaviours that will help them to move toward recovery.  Our clinical teams work into our homes providing specialist therapy and support, but most important are the moment by moment interactions with residential care staff, who give so much of themselves and who always go the extra mile to show the young people their care for them. Our Participation team ensures that our service users have a voice in all aspects of the organisation.

We are proud of the progress we have made as an organisation but more than anything our satisfaction comes from hearing the stories of the young people who have been through our services and who are making positive and successful independent lives for themselves in their communities. 

In 2021 we branched out in a new direction when we opened our new Eating Disorder residential services at Edge Brook, in response to a clear gap in services highlighted by our commissioners and referrers.  The service has much in common with our other homes but includes specialist dietetic input and more intensive physical health monitoring with ‘in-house’ blood testing and ECGs.  So far the service has made an excellent beginning and we look forward to developing further services.

So what about the future for Care in Mind?  Well, at this time we are recovering from the impact of the COVID pandemic, as are all care services, and focusing on being the best we can be.  We hope in due course to spread out to other areas so that more young people and young adults can benefit from our services. In the meantime, we will continue to support and value our amazing staff teams so they can support the young people in their journeys toward growth and recovery.

To make a referral or to find out more information about our services, please call the team on 0161 638 3285 or email referrals@careinmind.com

Ashurst Achieves a ‘Good’ CQC Rating

Care in Mind home, Ashurst has achieved an overall ‘Good’ rating, following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Inspectors examined services offered in December. They rated it ‘Good’ overall, and in each of the individual categories; safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led. The inspection was prompted in part due to concerns around risk and the CQC noted that although there were risks present due to the young people’s mental health needs, these risks were mitigated appropriately with clear and robust procedures in place to monitor and manage this. They also noted that were appropriate staffing levels to support this with staff well qualified to work with vulnerable people. The report said,  “Staff at Ashurst were extremely well supported. There was a thorough induction programme and ongoing appropriate training throughout their employment.”

Inspectors found that the culture at the home was positive and inclusive, people’s needs were thoroughly assessed, and care plans included appropriate health and personal information. They noted staff worked with other agencies and professionals to ensure the young people’s needs were met appropriately with the young people being treated with respect and compassion.

Julie Smith, Business Development Director at Care in Mind said, “Ashurst is one of Care in Mind’s newest specialist residential services (opening in May 2021) and we are proud that in their recent CQC inspection, they achieved good in all outcomes. In particular, the young people felt cared for, treated with dignity and respect and that their opinion mattered.

The report also reflects how we work collaboratively with all external stakeholders and deliver individual person-centred care, carried out by well trained and skilled staff. We are always focussed on achieving the best outcomes for the Young People in our care, providing them with the skills to work towards independent life in the community.”

You can read the full report here.

To make a referral or to find out more information about our services, please call the team on 0161 638 3285 or email referrals@careinmind.com

A Young Person’s Perspective: ‘Coping Strategies: Dealing With Tough Situations’

A young person, who has been through our services, has produced this blog post to provide you with some tips and tricks he has found useful for coping with tough situations. These coping strategies are his own experience, and whilst they may be inspired by his time with Care in Mind, they are also unique to what he has personally found useful.

Here are their tips, in five separate categories, based on different ways to cope:

Coping strategies can come in many different forms and are useful for different people.

Part 1: Sensory Coping strategies:

There are two main sensory ways to help: one is via a sensory box and the other is creating a space that appeals to your sensory needs.

To create a sensory box you need to find items that appeal to your senses, this could be any of the senses you have. One way is to use something called a sensory hand. This is where you grab a piece of paper and draw around your own hand and each finger can be a sense. Write down next to each finger what you like with each sense for example: for your sense of smell it could be coffee, perfume, item of clothing or even a new item that has that classic “new item smell”.

A space that appeals to your sensory needs means items that help you relax can be put in a certain room (a snug, bedroom, living room) where you can go to relax. This could include LED lights, noise boxes, incense, candles, blankets.

Part 2: distractions

Distractions are for when you don’t feel like you can face the emotion, there are many different ways to distract yourself. Some examples are:

  • playing games
  • playing with or having your pet around you (if it wants to snuggle or play)
  • playing music that allows you to think differently or move your mind to a different thought
  • watching films or tv shows that will also distract you can be brilliant
  • going on walks can help due to focusing on the outside, try to recognise what’s around you and the beauty of it all;
  • photography can distract you because you are looking for the right angles, lighting, background etc.

Part 3: Facing the emotion head-on

The best way to deal with emotions is to deal with them as they come up so they don’t build up subconsciously and return. Here, we will share six steps for dealing with a specific situation – my friend didn’t come to meet me and didn’t apologise.

  1. Be aware of how you feel and the emotion you are feeling. Trying to know what the emotion is and why it is there will best help you on a way to deal with it. For example “I’m so angry that my friend didn’t come to meet me and didn’t apologise.” Here, the dominant emotion is anger.
  2. Remember not to start blaming when recognising an emotion. What we are trying to do is understand it, your friend isn’t trying to hurt you by not coming to see you. There are a variety of reasons why we may feel we need to blame, but at the moment we are trying to recognise and understand the emotion.
  3. Understand that it is okay to feel that way about a situation. Everyone copes with emotions differently and it’s okay to feel the way you feel in whatever situation.
  4. Think of the most positive way to deal with this emotion. For this there are ways to do so, such as communicating calmly with your friend that you feel hurt by their actions.
  5. Remember to talk to someone about it, even if you feel it has been dealt with. This allows you to discuss different options for the future and evaluate what to do if a similar situation occurs again. This could be your parent or guardian, trusted adult, friend, or a healthcare professional. Sometimes even talking to your pet can help, just to get it out.
  6. Finally, it’s okay to cry.

Part 4: Exercise for different emotional states

If you feel a certain emotion you may feel that a certain exercise can help, here are a few which we could recommend:

  • Angry: High impact exercises like boxing, sprints, interval training with a bike or other cardio tools
  • Sad: Low impact like walking, casual cycling or anything that isn’t strenuous
  • Anxious: Calming exercises like yoga, Tai Chi or swimming

Part 5: Find a creative outlet

Sometimes finding a creative outlet to funnel your emotions is useful, but it can also be a good distraction technique. There are many ways you can be creative, such as:

  • Painting, drawing or crafts
  • Creating or producing music
  • Writing lyrics, poems or stories
  • Writing how you feel in a journal

There are lots of different ways to cope with tough situations, from facing them head-on to using distraction techniques. We hope our tips will help you if you are facing your own difficulties!

To make a referral or to find out more information about our services, please call the team on 0161 638 3285 or email referrals@careinmind.com

Stubblebank Achieves a ‘Good’ CQC Rating

Care in Mind home, Stubblebank has achieved an overall ‘Good’ rating, following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Inspectors carried out an examination into services offered at the end of August. The CQC rated the home ‘Good’ overall, with each of the individual categories; safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led each receiving a good in their domain.

Inspectors noted that staff had received the appropriate training and supervision to help support young people effectively. Staff were also praised for supporting service users in the least restrictive way possible and in their best interests with the policies and systems in the service that supported this practice.

The inspection report also noted that staff worked closely with other health and social care professionals to ensure that young people received appropriate and timely care with Stubblebank placing a strong focus on developing and maintaining young people’s independent living skills and supported individuals based on their bespoke recovery goals. The report said, “The service had an open and honest culture and staff showed commitment to achieving good outcomes for young people with complex mental health difficulties” 

Sharron Amri, Managing Director at Care in Mind said, “I’m delighted with this result but, more so, words cannot express just how pleased I am for our staff, the rating is a wonderful reflection of how we care and support our young people, everyone works incredibly hard to ensure that every young person receives the best care, Our approach is always to put the young person at the heart of their care and this is something the CQC highlighted.

I’m also delighted that this report reflects how we work differently to other social care providers to ensure each young person receives individualised care that is right for them. We feel so proud and privileged to work with such amazing staff.”

To make a referral or to find out more information about our services, please call the team on 0161 638 3285 or email referrals@careinmind.com

A Young Person’s Perspective: “My Journey Through Care in Mind”

To celebrate our 10 Year Anniversary, we are sharing journeys of our staff and ex-young people. This blog post was written by a ex-young person who recently left Care in Mind as part of our “Independence Package” – this is where the young person lives completely independently but still have access to psychological support.

Part 1: Catching you up to speed

Before I joined Care in Mind (CIM), I was in and out of hospital jumping in, getting meds and being discharged. The last time I was in hospital before moving to CIM, I did a severe attempt on my life and was sectioned on section 3 and was about 3 months into it. I felt hopeless about leaving Psychiatric units due to my recovery being very up and down. At this point, my Care Coordinator said she wanted to try something different than medication and wanted me to try psychology sessions, with a place to stay outside of the hospital while recovering. She told me that she had found a place called Care in Mind and that she wanted me to go there. A few days later, I got told I was going to be assessed by CIM with a Residential Manager and a CNS (Clinical Nurse Specialist) in the coming days. I felt excited about leaving the hospital, but also nervous that I may get declined or “not make the cut”. However, I knew the hospital wasn’t the right place for me and was preventing a successful journey to recovery. 

Assessment day soon came, and I met two men in the hospital meeting room, who immediately gave off warm vibes. They asked about my history, how I felt, what I wanted to do in the future and if I felt I would ever reach those goals. The conversation lasted around 45 minutes and they then left, after I met those two from CIM I hoped that the rest of the staff I meet if I go are like them, they were great. Around a week passed with no news about the placement or funding, but I kept pushing on in the hospital as I didn’t want to go on a downward spiral. However, my Care Coordinator rang one day and said that CIM had accepted me and I would go there as long as the panel accepted the funding proposal. It took another tough two weeks to get funding approved before I could start transitioning to my supported accommodation with CIM.

Part 2: Moving up and out (of the hospital)

The next step was two staff members from CIM coming to visit me in the hospital to talk me through the transition and show me pictures of the home – I was excited! The home looked nice, the two staff members were super friendly and I got told that the CNS that had assessed me was going to be my CNS at the house. This all made me feel like I might have a chance at recovery. The following week, I met the rest of the staff and we went out in the local area to get out of the hospital environment. After that, it was then about beginning to transition into the house. 

The first day of my transition into CIM was when I met the other young people, and I was happy because they were all nice. I spent a couple of hours in the home; playing board games and talking. After this though, I found it hard to go back to the hospital after being out, and I noticed a decline in my mental health at the hospital due to the environment and my want to move on. It took six weeks in total to transition into the house, and of course, there were ups and downs, but I quickly felt at home.

Part 3: The first six months

I loved being at the house for the first 6 months, even though there were difficult days, I felt motivated to try my best as I really didn’t want to return to the hospital. About a month in, someone close to me passed away from suicide, which hit me really hard, especially as I was just getting used to my new home and environment. However, I managed to get through this, mostly due to the team really helping me. The downs which I had in CIM weren’t as bad due to the freedom I had compared to a hospital environment, this was because the hospital was too restrictive and I felt completely locked in, there was also no therapeutic risk which was needed in my situation. I wasn’t as open with the staff as I should have been at first due to fears of past issues with staff and family giving up on me in the past

My weekly talks with the CNS really helped as we discussed the issues that arose during the week. Over time, I built a great relationship with him as he really understood me and knew how to adapt to each person he saw. He also helped me work through any issues I had in the house with staff or young people. For example, music is very important to me and helps me when I feel low or angry etc, but there was a blanket “no swearing” rule and as most people know, most music has some level of profanity. He managed to help me work with staff and the young people to play music that everyone felt comfortable with. His understanding of me and wanting to help me when I couldn’t speak up allowed me to gain confidence and speak up about issues I had more.

Part 4: Stuck in the middle

After the first six months, the progress I was making slowed down due to my own feelings of fear of abandonment. Subconsciously, I also felt I wasn’t ready, but this is where my psychologist really helped me with coping strategies and focusing on the now first so I have a stable base to move on from then tackling past trauma. The progress was slow but due to my great working relationship with my psychologist, she helped me to realise that progress cannot be made without a need to get better. This made me realise that I’m the only one who can help me in the end and what people tell me, I still need to put it into practice myself. 

My progress began to really gain momentum and I started dealing with real-life issues better than I had before, and I was able to evaluate them on my own and bring them to my sessions. Sad news came though when I found out that my psychologist was leaving, and there was a short break between her leaving and my new psychologist starting. It was a worrying time for me, but looking back, I can see that this time really helped me to cope with bigger issues alone, which I could then bring to sessions, and share what I had already done and how I coped with it.

When my new psychologist started, we decided that I was dealing well with current issues but needed confidence in knowing that I was doing the right thing and that the way I was coping with them was healthy. My progress continued to go well, and my CNS suggested I think about a date which I may like to start towards taking my next steps in recovery, was I ready?

Part 5: Moving on

I knew that I still wanted to stay with CIM but didn’t want to stay in the residential home much longer so it was decided that I would transition to the newly-created “Independence Package”. This meant I would be living in my own flat, but I would still have psychological input, CNS sessions and meetings with my psychiatrist. I loved this idea and we set a date for me to leave the residential home. 

By May 2020, the plans were sorted and a move-in date was set for some time in June. The time leading up to June was hard, as I felt my independence was only growing and my eagerness to be in my own space increased by the day. However, the day soon came and my slow transition from the home into my flat began, along with my ferret, Chase. I had gotten Chase earlier in the year to help with responsibility and to give me something to care for and build a bond with. By mid-June, I was being supported only by the Clinical Team and was living independently.

Part 6: Living alone and moving forward

For the first six months of living independently (June 2020 – December 2020), I spent a lot of time sorting out housing including funding, insurance, internet, electricity, things for the home, and generally getting acquainted with the area. However, I was also excited to catch up with my friends who I hadn’t seen that much due to being around an hour away from them when I was at the CIM home. During this time, I was so busy with moving in and getting used to living alone, I didn’t really think about my mental health and didn’t have time to ruminate or think about the next steps in therapy. However, in December me and my psychologist decided that I would start EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). This was new to me and quite scary as I had never dealt with my past so deeply. It was the first time I felt genuinely scared about therapy, but my psychologist did a really good job at calming my nerves and preparing me for the therapy. In April 2021, I and my team decided that I would have three months of fortnightly therapy then it went down to once a month for three months, and then I completed the therapy. Therapy really helped me deal with past trauma as well as how to cope with issues that arise in the present. I am really looking forward to my future and feel there is a lot for me to do with my life and it has only just begun.

To make a referral or to find out more information about our services, please call the team on 0161 638 3285 or email referrals@careinmind.com

Staff Development: Amanda Kavanagh

To celebrate our 10 Year Anniversary, we are going to be sharing an insight into how various members of staff across the organisation have progressed internally.

At Care in Mind, we are passionate about investing in our people and helping them to achieve their professional goals. We achieve this through staff support sessions, in-house training, and other career development opportunities. Across the organisation there are many inspiring individuals who have advanced through roles, whether solely residentially or starting in the Residential Team and moving through to Head Office. Here, Amanda Kavanagh shares an insight into her own journey.

When did you join Care in Mind? and, what was your role?

I joined in January 2015, and I started as a Bank Support Worker, where I then quickly progressed to a Team Leader position within our residential service in Liversedge until late 2018.

How have you transitioned through roles and how did you end up in Head Office?

I did a lot of Health & Safety work in my previous job. I brought a lot of forms with me to Care in Mind that I used to implement different checks at Lyndhurst. I became a bit of a Health & Safety bod, and undertook the audits within the home, at this point, a role within the Quality Assurance department became available at Head Office. Based on my skills and abilities I was successful in the role of Quality Assurance Auditor. I had done so well in the interview, and I was so enthusiastic about the company. I was so happy about getting this role as I wanted to stay with Care in Mind, as I think it is such a fantastic company, and having worked with young people in the homes, I know that what we do works brilliantly.

It has been great working with Tracy Sellors, Quality and Compliance Manager, and I have learnt so much from her. I have also done quite a lot of training over the last couple of years, and I really enjoy the job because I am still helping even if I am not working in the Residential Team.

What initially attracted you to working with Care in Mind?

I’d worked in social care for over 20 years, and I was working in another company where Care in Mind used to come in and provide psychological and Clinical Nurse Specialist sessions for the young people. Through talking to people, I found out that there were jobs coming up at Lyndhurst, so that’s when I applied for the job, because I just felt that I really wanted to work for Care in Mind as they seemed like a really ethical, brilliant company. I was really attracted to the model of care and the different way of working, it made complete sense to me.

How have you been supported by your managers and colleagues through your development?

Brilliantly! Tracy is so knowledgeable, and she is so generous with her knowledge, so I have learnt a lot from her. She has always been good at seeing the gaps in my knowledge and finding courses I can go on to fill those gaps, so over the last couple of years, I have completed a lot of external training.

Over your time with Care in Mind, how do you feel the organisation has changed?

It has changed massively. There were only two houses when I started, but now we have really grown, which I think is really good and other people are now appreciating our model of care and understanding that it works really well.

Why have you stayed at Care in Mind? /What has made you want to remain with the organisation?

I think that ethically it is a really good company. The ethos of the company and the way we work with people is just brilliant, and that is the way I want to work with people. I think as well that there are just a lot of really good people that work at Care in Mind, and it’s excellent to be surrounded by people like that. Everybody is just really interesting, open and supportive, because we all want the same thing; for the young people to have good outcomes.

Do you have any advice for fellow colleagues who are keen to develop within Care in Mind?

I think what worked for me was being enthusiastic… and just be happy in your role. I think people sometimes come into social care jobs and it is not quite what they expected, but you need to accept these challenges and with support from your team, be happy and successful in your role.

What would you say to someone who is interested in a Support Worker role with Care in Mind?

It is a really rewarding job! It can be very challenging working with young people, but ultimately, it is so rewarding.

If you’re interested in a career with Care in Mind, check out our current vacancies here.

Staff Development: Karen Nairi

To celebrate our 10 Year Anniversary, we are going to be sharing an insight into how various members of staff across the organisation have progressed internally.

At Care in Mind, we are passionate about investing in our people and helping them to achieve their professional goals. We achieve this through staff support sessions, in-house training, and other career development opportunities. Across the organisation there are many inspiring individuals who have advanced through roles, whether solely residentially or starting in the Residential Team and moving through to Head Office. Here, Karen Nairi shares an insight into her own journey.

What initially attracted you to the organisation?

It was my daughter really (who also works at Care in Mind), she just kept talking about what they do here, about the least restrictive policy and things like that. I had never worked with young people before, although I have worked in mental health for 20 years or more, so I decided to try a few bank shifts with Care in Mind.

How have you transitioned through roles and reached your current position?

I started as a Bank Support Worker, and I absolutely loved it, so then I started doing a little bit more, and then a Team Leader position became available, so I thought I would give it a try and apply… and I got that role, so I did that for a couple of years and then from that point, I was asked to become an Acting Deputy Manager whilst the previous Manager worked in a different home temporarily.

At that point, I had to leave the home I was working in, but the Residential Team in Head Office were looking for someone to manage the Bank Staff, so that then become my job. I looked after the Bank Staff and managed them, and then from there, someone left, and I had the maintenance side of my job added and that’s how I ended up moving towards my current role as Technology and Estates Manager.

How have you been supported by your managers and colleagues through your development?

At Care in Mind, we are really good at supporting our staff. From my different roles, I have had lots of different managers and they have all been quite different, but I have always felt that there was someone there that I could go and talk to. I remember my first Manager, he was all for internally promoting people and pushing them in certain ways to empower us to do things, and I think that’s the thing, as you go through the different stages, you do feel supported and empowered to go further, and even now, I feel supported to go higher.

I feel really valued, I love the company and I love our values! I am such an advocate for Care in Mind, and I am always talking about us. I’ve got 11 years left of work, and I am hoping to spend those 11 years here because I love it. I’ve always felt like if I am having a bad day, there is always someone’s door I can knock on.

Over your time with Care in Mind, how do you feel the organisation has changed?

It’s gotten bigger! I think when I started working in Head Office, I really noticed a change because when I was in the house, I didn’t see as much, but in Head Office, I could see that departments were expanding…We started with one house, then it was three, then six and now we’ve got 11!

What has made you want to remain with the organisation?

It’s everything, for me Care in Mind was really unique when I first decided that I wanted to work here. I have worked in a lot of different care roles where restraint was the norm and I knew that the people we were restraining had certain behaviours because of it, and when I came to Care in Mind and I learnt about Therapeutic Risk Management, I remember feeling so excited in my training… Just the fact that you are encouraged to talk to a person, and if you work the right way and you follow the Therapeutic Risk Management training, the Breakaway techniques and the TRUSST training, it works.

It’s the people as well, and the way Care in Mind look after the staff, and how they look after the residential teams – I’ve just never known a company like it and I can’t imagine ever working anywhere else. Care in Mind just really live by their values.

Do you have any advice for fellow colleagues who are keen to develop within Care in Mind?

Whenever I’m interviewing, I always tell them a bit about myself and how I have grown within the company and stepped up in different positions… Wherever I’ve been, I’ve always had a Manager or a Deputy Manager looking at what I do and saying “Oh that’s brilliant, well done” and then if something’s come up, it’s always been “Go for it, you’re brilliant!” It’s just the encouragement you get and you don’t have time to doubt yourself because there’s that many people encouraging you and saying that you can do this.

I just feel that you can do anything when you put your mind to it, and when you’ve got an organisation that is constantly supporting you, you just have that much more confidence. I would encourage everyone to do their job the best that they can, and if you feel you want to make a long-term career with Care in Mind, look for challenges, think outside of the box, look for a career path and just go for it.

What would you say to someone who is interested in a career with Care in Mind?

Go for it! I think it’s the best company I have worked for, and I can’t see myself working for anyone else.

If you’re interested in a career with Care in Mind, check out our current vacancies here.

Staying Connected: LGBT+ History Month

During LGBT+ History Month, all of our homes engaged in various activities as part of our ‘Staying Connected’ programme.

The programme has played a vital part in keeping young people engaged and connected during the pandemic, with different remote-friendly events planned throughout the year. During February 2021, the homes all engaged in a month of activities and education sessions to celebrate LGBT+ History Month.

Why is this an important month to recognise within the homes?

Within our homes, there are many young people that are proud to identify as LGBTQIA+, so this is naturally something that they feel passionately about and are motivated to get involved in. Additionally, as an organisation, we feel it’s important that all of our young people feel supported and comfortable in their identity. Part of this is celebrating alongside them when it comes to special events in the year, such as LGBT+ History Month. Furthermore, our residential teams often take the opportunity of awareness events to not only celebrate, but also educate.

How did the homes get involved?

One of our Yorkshire homes, Woodside, played a particularly important role in organising activities during one special week to promote LGBT+ History Month. The young people of Woodside each took turns in hosting ‘Staying Connected’ activities for all of the homes to enjoy, varying from an ‘LGBT song lyrics quiz’ to a ‘Pride Pizza competition’. Willowhurst even held a paint bomb competition, where everyone had lots of fun getting ‘paint bombed’ in the garden!

To finish off the week, Woodside hosted a special Pride party, including dressing up in drag, over Zoom for all young people to enjoy. The young people all played a huge part in making the celebrations as successful as they were; baking rainbow cakes, creating party playlists, and getting dressed up.

To ensure all the homes could get involved, Woodside sent out packs to all the homes with invitations, ideas of how to decorate their home and tips for throwing the best Pride party. An itinerary of the week’s activities and posters for the competitions were also sent around in advance, and the homes engaged in group education discussions about homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying.

Whilst much of the celebrations were made possible by the young people, it was also a Support Worker at Woodside, Claire Wilde, who played a significant part in organising the week’s events. Talking about why she felt it was important for the homes to celebrate together, she said “I think it’s important that the YP’s stay in touch doing fun things like this and it proved you don’t have to come to Woodside to enjoy a party with us!”

Thank you to all the young people and staff who got involved in celebrating this important month.

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.