Business

A caring community at PJ Care

Specialist neurological care home provider PJ Care offers a holistic approach to residents’ needs, and everyone’s happy

When PJ Care entered the neurological care sector it redesigned the care home from the ground up. Their modern care homes are designed around their residents, creating a friendlier, more livable environment, as Executive Chairman Neil Russell explains: ‘There’s constant innovation. We pick up what works best and incorporate ideas from all the world within our care homes.’ ‘Standard nursing homes are designed to get as many beds in as possible, or they’re in an old building that restricts what you can do. Our purpose-built homes enable residents to move around freely and safely, so we don’t need rely so much on medication. That has knock on effects: It’s cheaper for the NHS because less money is spent on expensive drugs, and because residents aren’t sedated they can do more of what they want to do. That means they are less frustrated because they feel safe and more relaxed.’

Savings made
Investing more on a quality environment from the outset means considerable savings to the taxpayer. ‘While PJ Care may be a little more expensive, we believe the overall cost of our care is actually a lot less compared with an ordinary nursing home. We don’t have to tap into the NHS for consultants, we’re not relying on community psychiatrists and we’re using less medication. ‘It all means families are more confident about the care we provide and that their loved ones are being well looked after, so they don’t have to take as much time off work to support their loved one. It’s less of a burden on the wider economy.’

Empowered staff
The high-quality surroundings make a big difference to those being cared for, but so does the way that care is provided. ‘All our staff undergo specialist training so they understand what our residents’ needs are. Everything is about doing what’s best for the residents, not what makes life easy for the staff. We take training to the next stage. ‘We strongly believe in continuity care, so we want to retain our staff. Some of members of staff have been with us since we opened 15 years ago. The secret to retaining staff is to get them involved. For example, we have a multidisciplinary team that includes everyone from psychologists and psychiatrists to junior carers – because they’re the ones spending the most time with the residents and who can best communicate about their needs.’ Taking a holistic approach to training and keeping everyone informed means staff are more engaged. ‘Because our staff understand why they are doing what they’re doing, rather than simply being told to do it, they take more ownership over tasks and do them better.’

Investors in People
PJ Care boasts an Investors in People Platinum award. ‘We really believe in looking after our staff and giving them the best we can. Our benefits package is equal to the NHS, and we pay more. ‘This year I ran a secret ballot of our management, asking whether they would be happy to forego a pay rise so our junior staff could get a larger rise. They all said yes. So some members of staff got an 8% pay rise. These are the people who do the work and deserve it. In the care industry a lot of workers are paid at minimum wage, whereas we’re aiming to reach living wage. ‘So it’s about looking after the teams who look after our residents; look after the staff and they look after the residents – and everyone’s happy!’

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