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Balhousie Care Group’s chairman shortlisted as IoD Regional Director of the Year

Balhousie Care Group’s Chairman Tony Banks, who has been instrumental in turning around the fortunes of the care home firm, has been shortlisted in this year’s Institute of Scotland Director of the Year Awards.

Tony, who founded the award-winning care home group 25 years ago, is a finalist in the Tayside Regional Director of the Year category.

The news follows a hugely successful year for Balhousie Care Group, which runs 25 homes across the north east of Scotland including Dundee, Angus, Fife, Aberdeenshire, Perthshire and Stirlingshire. 2017 saw it secure a £49m refinancing deal, appoint its first Chief Executive, win several awards and gain the highest Care Inspectorate rating (Category 6) for two of its care homes. The Perth-based company also secured a major win at the UK-wide National Care Awards, when Operations Director Louise Barnett was named Operations Manager of the Year.

Over the last two years, Tony has overseen the launch of Together We’re Great, an initiative which has seen a positive cultural shift company-wide, and a Participation Charter which enables residents to be more involved with their care decisions.

Louise Barnett, Balhousie Care’s Operations Director, said:

“Tony is always looking for new and innovative ways for developing the business and the people in it. His leadership and belief in delivering the best care for our residents makes our organisation a special place to be.”

IoD Scotland said this year’s judging panel was impressed by the “very high standard” of entries. The awards ceremony takes place in Glasgow on 22nd March 2018.

To find out more about Balhousie Care Group, visit www.balhousiecare.co.uk

Balhousie Care Group appoints new manager in Arbroath

Award-winning care home provider Balhousie Care Group has appointed a new manager for its Antiquary care home in Arbroath.

Cath Maclean brings to the role 20 years of experience in nursing and care homes. Originally from Stornoway, Cath now calls Arbroath home. As manager of the Antiquary home, she is responsible for almost 60 residents, 20 of them in a self-contained facility for people with Alzheimers or other forms of dementia.

Cath joined the care home industry 18 years ago, with a long-held passion for caring for people with dementia. “My gran died at the age of 45. Although it wasn’t diagnosed at the time she had Alzheimers. I was a kid at the time but I think the stories I heard about my gran from my mother – who worked as a general nurse – stuck with me. I’ve got quite a passion for looking after people with dementia and the different characteristics they display.”

Cath’s appointment brings her together with a former colleague, Lynsey Robbie. The two worked for another care home provider. Lindsay is now operations manager for Balhousie Care Group, responsible for eight care homes including Balhousie Antiquary.

Louise Barnett, Operations Director for Balhousie Care Group, said:

“We’re delighted to have Cath heading up the team at Balhousie Antiquary. I feel strongly that she will provide strong leadership and inspiration for the staff there as they follow a path of high quality care.”Award-winning care home provider Balhousie Care Group has appointed a new manager for its Antiquary care home in Arbroath.

Cath Maclean brings to the role 20 years of experience in nursing and care homes. Originally from Stornoway, Cath now calls Arbroath home. As manager of the Antiquary home, she is responsible for almost 60 residents, 20 of them in a self-contained facility for people with Alzheimers or other forms of dementia.

Cath joined the care home industry 18 years ago, with a long-held passion for caring for people with dementia. “My gran died at the age of 45. Although it wasn’t diagnosed at the time she had Alzheimers. I was a kid at the time but I think the stories I heard about my gran from my mother – who worked as a general nurse – stuck with me. I’ve got quite a passion for looking after people with dementia and the different characteristics they display.”

Cath’s appointment brings her together with a former colleague, Lynsey Robbie. The two worked for another care home provider. Lindsay is now operations manager for Balhousie Care Group, responsible for eight care homes including Balhousie Antiquary.

Louise Barnett, Operations Director for Balhousie Care Group, said:

“We’re delighted to have Cath heading up the team at Balhousie Antiquary. I feel strongly that she will provide strong leadership and inspiration for the staff there as they follow a path of high quality care.”Award-winning care home provider Balhousie Care Group has appointed a new manager for its Antiquary care home in Arbroath.

Cath Maclean brings to the role 20 years of experience in nursing and care homes. Originally from Stornoway, Cath now calls Arbroath home. As manager of the Antiquary home, she is responsible for almost 60 residents, 20 of them in a self-contained facility for people with Alzheimers or other forms of dementia.

Cath joined the care home industry 18 years ago, with a long-held passion for caring for people with dementia. “My gran died at the age of 45. Although it wasn’t diagnosed at the time she had Alzheimers. I was a kid at the time but I think the stories I heard about my gran from my mother – who worked as a general nurse – stuck with me. I’ve got quite a passion for looking after people with dementia and the different characteristics they display.”

Cath’s appointment brings her together with a former colleague, Lynsey Robbie. The two worked for another care home provider. Lindsay is now operations manager for Balhousie Care Group, responsible for eight care homes including Balhousie Antiquary.

Louise Barnett, Operations Director for Balhousie Care Group, said:

“We’re delighted to have Cath heading up the team at Balhousie Antiquary. I feel strongly that she will provide strong leadership and inspiration for the staff there as they follow a path of high quality care.”

Balhousie Care Home

Balhousie Care Group back in the saddle as it makes Business Insider Top 500 list

The startling revival of leading care home provider Balhousie Care Group has been acknowledged with a listing in Scotland’s Top 500 Companies from Business Insider magazine.

The 25-strong group celebrated 25 years in the business last year with a £49m refinancing deal, numerous industry awards, and top Care Inspectorate ratings for two of its facilities.

Balhousie Care’s homes and staff have won accolades for their services and for initiatives which promote a person-centred, individualised approach to residential care. The latest award, which puts Balhousie Care and the Scottish care industry on the national map, was won by Operations Director Louise Barnett, who was named UK Operations Manager of the Year in the National Care Awards.

The £49m refinancing deal means better financial security and even more improvements ahead for Balhousie Care’s homes and operations.

Chief Executive Steve White said: “We’re delighted to be recognised in Business Insider’s Top 500, which is an acknowledgement of all our hard work. This is an exciting time to be part of Balhousie Care Group. There’s a real buzz among staff, both in the homes and at head office level. We know we are on a firm footing financially and have a growing reputation as a leading care provider.”

The Business Insider list called 2017 “a year of rebounds”, with a number of Scotland’s top companies showing a turnaround in turnover or profit compared to 2016. Balhousie Care was ranked 390 out of 500 companies.

Balhousie puts some Oomph into its care homes with innovative partnership

Award-winning care home group Balhousie is putting some Oomph! into the sector by becoming the first organisation in Scotland to sign up with an activity programme with a difference

Balhousie Care Group, which operates 25 care homes in Scotland, has linked up with Oomph!, which delivers engaging exercise and activity programmes for older people.

Oomph’s mission is to improve the wellbeing of older adults and they will work with Balhousie’s 25 care homes offering fun exercise and activity sessions, as well as monthly trips out for residents, to a wide range of destinations in customised minibuses. The trips are personalised and include intensive training by Oomph! staff within each care home.

Oomph!’s aim is to deliver ‘meaningful moments’ for residents and a programme which is focused on individuals. The collaboration is the latest move in Balhousie Care Group’s mission to be a trailblazer in the care home sector, delivering individualised care for residents. The Perth-based group has been tackling issues such as dementia and loneliness in innovative ways, from virtual reality technology to therapy with pets. Balhousie also ensures that its residents and family members have a say in their care, and care strategy.

Oomph!, which was been delivering its services in England with great success, was set up by founder Ben Allen, a specialist in exercise for older adults, after he realised a gap in the market for providing better adult social care.

Louise Barnett, Operations Director for Balhousie Care, said:

“We’re delighted to be the pioneers of Oomph! programmes in Scotland, and the innovative ways they promote fitness and wellness. We know our residents will benefit hugely from Oomph’s activities. This organisation’s philosophies are very much in line with ours, which are to look at care and wellness in unorthodox, exciting ways.”

Ben Allen, Chief Executive for Oomph!, said:

“Oomph! are excited to have the opportunity to work with the team at Balhousie, one of the leading care groups in the UK. It is a privilege to be a key partner and support their drive for innovation and excellence across all homes. We share the same values and entrepreneurial spirit and are delighted to be adding additional fun and engagement to resident’s activities.”

Balhousie Sleep in the Park

Sleep in the Park a “brutal” wake-up call for care home workers who took part

A group of care home workers who swapped their uniforms for sleeping bags last week have shared the “brutal” reality of taking part in Sleep in the Park.

The team of 20 Balhousie Care Group participants raised almost £16,000 when they joined 9.000 others, including celebrities, politicians and business leaders, to brave sub-zero temperatures in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens to raise awareness of homelessness.

Highlights for the staff, who were joined by Balhousie Care Group chairman Tony Banks and CEO Steve White, were meeting Sir Bob Geldof and making it into the event’s Top 10 corporate fundraisers with £15,895.00 raised. But as the temperatures dipped, the “brutal reality” of the event sank in, said the staff, each of whom had a different reason for taking part.

For Elaine Smith, a care assistant at Balhousie Wheatlands home in Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire, it was a personal challenge and one that was highly emotional. Elaine, who was moved to write about her experience in a blog, explained:

“Five years ago I lost my son to an accident at work. It should never have happened. He was my first child and just 22. He shouted goodbye that morning and never came home. I honestly thought I would die due to a broken heart. Over the last five years I’ve hit rock bottom; I’ve had every bit of mental health care and counselling that anyone could ask for. Slowly, thanks to family, friends and my work at Balhousie Care, my confidence has started to come back.

“But since the accident, one thing I’ve always said was that if miracles could happen, I would go homeless on the streets every night just to have my son David back. It’s a quote that has always stuck, so when Sleep in the Park came up, I jumped at the chance to take part.”

Said Yvonne Manson, Dementia Consultant for Balhousie Care Group and another participant:

“There are no words to describe what it was like to sleep out in the cold. It was a brutal reality but I found myself reflecting on how it was one night for us and that for many this is a daily reality. The experience is something I will never forget.”

Chloe Hunter, also a care assistant at Balhousie Wheatlands, took part for personal reasons. Chloe said:

“The hardest part for me was the cold, and I was so hungry but because I was so cold I couldn’t even feel the hunger pain. I hate to think people sleep like that every night.”

Claire Coleman, a support worker at Balhousie Orchard Court in Balbeggie, said the experience had made her think more deeply about homelessness.

“I felt sad, the fact I can come home and get heat but the homeless do not have that privilege. It actually made me feel guilty to an extent. I would definitely take more time for the homeless and consider them more,” said Claire.

There are an estimated 1500 people across Scotland sleeping rough at night, according to a report by charity Social Bite, which organised Sleep in the Park.

Taking part in the event has strengthened Balhousie’s resolve to highlight social issues such as homelessness and loneliness among its employees, residents and local communities, said Balhousie Care Group CEO Steve White. This Christmas Day, Balhousie’s 25 care homes across the north east of Scotland will work with local authorities to extend an invitation to anyone who wants to join in their festivities.

Steve, who shares his experience in a blog, ‘9000 people, 9000 reasons: the reality of Sleep in the Park’, said: “With 25 care homes in 25 local communities, we are in a perfect position to highlight social causes. As a business we’ve always been community collaborators and supporters of charity, but last Saturday’s experience at Sleep in the Park made us even more determined to do so.

“Last Saturday was a wake-up call in so many ways. After a freezing night, Tony and I resolved to up Balhousie’s game and draw attention to basic human issues. We see it as our duty, not only as successful business people but as human beings.”

Social Bite, which addresses homelessness through its cafes, restaurants and free food distribution in Scotland, hopes to raise £4m through the event. Among those who took part in the Sleep in the Park event were Bob Geldof, John Cleese, Liam Gallagher, Deacon Blue and Amy Macdonald.

Balhousie is still taking donations. To support go to: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/balhousie-care-group

Read Steve White’s blog here: http://www.balhousiecare.co.uk/blog/blogs/9000-people-9000-reasons-the-reality-of-sleep-in-the-park

Read Elaine Smith’s experience here: http://www.balhousiecare.co.uk/blog/blogs/%E2%80%98i-said-i%E2%80%99d-go-homeless-every-night-just-to-have-my-son-back%E2%80%99

Read all the Balhousie Care Group workers’ experiences here:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/vcglhupw73xgav0/Balhousie%20Care%20Group%20Sleep%20in%20the%20Park%202017.zip?dl=0
To find out more about Balhousie Care Group, visit www.balhousiecare.co.uk

For more information on Sleep In the Park go to: https://www.sleepinthepark.co.uk/

Balhousie care home raises funds to take its residents ‘virtually’ anywhere as ‘Flying Sam’ skydives to success

Staff at a Fife care home have raised money to buy state-of-the-art virtual reality and other hi-tech equipment to enhance the lives of their residents – thanks to a daring skydive by one of its managers.

Samantha Beattie, deputy care home manager at Balhousie Forth View in Methil, completed a skydive on Remembrance Day, November 11th, raising £1500 for the home. The cash raised has bought a laptop, virtual reality headset, three Amazon Echo voice activated services and a tablet for residents and visitors.

Now known to fellow staff and residents as ‘Flying Sam’, Samantha first learned of the benefits of VR technology to the elderly in training sessions and through videos. These include improved memory, mood and verbal communication.

Balhousie Care Group, a leader in residential care in Scotland, has been testing the VR headsets throughout its 25 care homes. The software enables them to visit ‘virtually’ anywhere, from visits to Paris, rock climbing, the cinema and, thanks to Google Earth, their childhood homes.

Samantha said: “I’d watched videos where residents who aren’t able to communicate verbally or even non-verbally all of a sudden are using VR headsets and they come back to life. They’ve started talking and singing. I think it just brings back a lot of memories for them, it stimulates their mind.”

Forth View care home manager Gordon Candlish said: “Many of our residents have severe dementia and we’d do anything to try and help them. We thought we’d like to try it and see what benefits they could give them. We’re thrilled that, thanks to our own Flying Sam, we can now offer these on a permanent basis.”

Yvonne Manson, Balhousie’s dementia consultant, said:

“VR technology is an alternative, and very valuable, form or supporting our residents with extra mental and physical stimulation, and that’s essential for their well being and state of mind. It’s exciting that technology is offering up all of these possibilities for the elderly and we’re delighted to be giving those experiences to our residents.”

To find out more about Balhousie Care Group, visit www.balhousiecare.co.uk

 

Balhousie Ruthven Towers Grade 6 rating

Balhousie’s Ruthven Towers gains top Care Inspectorate Rating

Staff and residents at Perthshire-based Ruthven Towers Care Home, one of 25 care homes owned by Balhousie Care Group, are celebrating the award of two top Grade 6 ratings after a recent Care Inspectorate visit.

Ruthven Towers in Auchterarder was awarded an ‘excellent’ rating of Grade 6 for both ‘Management and Leadership’ and ‘Care and Support’, after measures were introduced which saw residents, their families and staff involved in everything from policy and recruitment to activities at the home.

The Care Inspectorate was set up to inspect and regulate care services in Scotland to ensure they meet required care standards and provide users with safe, high quality services.

Assessors visited Ruthven Towers last month and assessed two of the four themes: ‘Management and Leadership’ and ‘Care and Support’. The care home received grading of 6 in each area, adding to the Grade 5 rating for ‘Environment’ that Ruthven Towers had received in a previous inspection.

The Care Inspectorate’s latest unannounced visit found that residents and their relatives spoke very highly of the quality of support provided, and that communication with the service staff and manager was excellent.

People living at Ruthven Towers and their relatives commented on the “excellent, responsive staff”, the “empathy and compassion” and the “very kind, friendly care” in looking after residents.

Ruthven Towers is “performing at an excellent level” in supporting people to identify and achieve their personal outcomes and goals, through meaningful conversations with people and their families about what is important to them.

Assessors were “very impressed” with the positive approach staff took in encouraging people to identify and access hobbies and activities of interest to them, noting that “a wide range of experiences are provided both within the care home and out and about in the local community and beyond.”They also commended the “inclusive style of the management team and their commitment to listening to the views of people to bring about positive change.”

The report concludes that the care home, which provides accommodation for up to 51 individuals, is “an extremely well run home with a management team who are committed to providing a person centred, professional service which focuses on best practice and continuous improvement.”

Manager Jozi Stables heads up 38 full- and part-time staff at Ruthven Towers. At 26, she is the youngest home manager at Balhousie Care Group. Her infectious enthusiasm for person-centred care and an energetic willingness to embrace new working methods secured her a place as a finalist in the Innovative Practice category at the Scottish Care Awards this month.

Speaking of the recent inspection, Jozi commented:

“The whole team at Ruthven Towers is absolutely delighted by the grading from the recent Care Inspectorate visit and I’m extremely proud of what we’ve achieved by working together as a team. At Ruthven Towers, we’re dedicated to providing personalised care, which puts our residents, their relatives and our staff at the heart of what we do and they have played a massive part in helping us ensure we offer the very best care and support. It’s great for that to be have been recognised by the Care Inspectorate in their visit.”

Louise Barnett, Operations Director for Balhousie Care Group, added:

“This is a fantastic outcome for Ruthven Towers and a testament to the hard work of the entire team. These grades come as a result of sustained performance over a period of time and show continuous improvement and development. The staff have fully embraced Balhousie’s Participation Charter and Together We’re Great initiatives to create a care home that shows consistency in the excellent way it promotes individuality and a person-centred approach. Ruthven Towers’ Grade 6 rating is a prime example of how adopting these principles can have a positive impact on residents’ quality of life and care.”

Balhousie’s success comes at a pivotal point for the group, which is celebrating 25 years as a care home provider and 25 homes – both owned and managed – across the north east of Scotland. The group, which just recruited its first Chief Executive, Steve White, is working hard to promote person-centred care and to encourage participation of everyone – staff, residents and families – across all of its homes and head office.

To find out more about Balhousie Care Group visit www.balhousiecare.co.uk

Louise-Barnett-at-National-Care-Awards-

Balhousie Care Group’s success at National Care Awards

Balhousie Care Group won a coup last weekend as it saw three of its employees recognised as finalists in the National Care Awards, and operations director Louise Barnett winning in her category.

Louise Barnett, Heather Smith and Elaine Nerr were competing against hundreds of people in a ceremony which recognises the very best of those working in the long-term care sector. Operations Director Louise Barnett, who has been integral in pushing forward Balhousie’s Together We’re Great initiative, won the Operations Manager of the Year award. Heather Smith, care home manager at Balhousie Orchard Court in Balbeggie, was a finalist in the Learning Disabilities Manager of the Year category. Nominated in the Resident Engagement category was Elaine Nerr and The Dalguise Centre and Orchard Court in Balbeggie.

Balhousie’s success comes at a pivotal point for the group, which is celebrating 25 years as a care home provider and 25 homes – both owned and managed – across the north east of Scotland. The group, which just recruited its first Chief Executive, Steve White, is working hard to promote person-centred care and to encourage participation of everyone – staff, residents and families – across all of its homes and head office.

Its Together We’re Great initiative, launched in 2016, has seen a positive cultural shift company-wide, while programmes such as peer-to-peer recruitment have meant employees and residents feel more involved with care, said Louise Barnett.

“The name Together We’re Great sums up what that initiative is about. Through enhanced communication and a focus on individuals and their values, we are showing that Balhousie is only the sum of its parts, which are employees, residents and family members. When we took on Steve, we had residents and family members, as well as employees at all levels, sit on recruitment panels. That breaks down hierarchies and fosters engagement at all levels. We’re also committed to much more community involvement and charity work, which you will see the results of this winter. I’m proud to be part of Balhousie Care Group as it continues to strengthen and grow.”

Balhousie Chief Executive Steve White said:

“I feel honoured to have joined an organisation in the throes of change – and all for the good. Balhousie is an inspiring place to work, and it’s so rewarding to see our employees reaching the National Care Awards finals. Their recognition among the cream of the care sector crop is well deserved, and we’re delighted that Louise won in her category.”

Next for Balhousie is Sleep in the Park 2017, a charity sleepover event in Edinburgh which will see 20 employees, including senior executives, camp out in sleeping bags in freezing temperatures to highlight homelessness.

The National Care Awards, organised by Caring Times magazine, took place last Friday at a black tie ceremony in London, with awards presented by comedian and author David Baddiel.

To find out more about Balhousie Care Group, visit www.balhousiecare.co.uk

Photo caption: Louise Barnett accepting her ward for Operations Manager of the Year.

For photos of the finalists and winner click here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/u48nb5n64pbohkj/National%20Care%20Awards%202017.zip?dl=0

Balhousie’s Youngest Care Home Manager Jozi Stables is a finalist in the Scottish Care Awards

Jozi Stables, Balhousie Care Group’s youngest home manager reached the finals in the prestigious Scottish Care Awards, held on Friday, November 17.

Jozi, who was aged just 26 when she took up the post at Ruthven Towers Care Home in October last year, was recommended for the Innovative Practice award because of her infectious enthusiasm for person-centred care and an energetic willingness to embrace new working methods.

She heads up 36 full and part-time staff at Balhousie Ruthven Towers in Auchterarder, a restored former country house hotel, beautifully converted to provide residents with a spacious, relaxing and comfortable environment.

The awards ceremony took place at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow on Friday, November 17, 2017. Scottish Care’s annual Scottish Care Home conference, awards and exhibition is a significant date in the industry’s calendar – an opportunity to recognise the tremendous work undertaken by organisations and staff who work in residential care and nursing home services.

Jozi said: “I am thrilled reach the finals of the Scottish Care Awards. It means a lot to be recognised by our peers for the work we are doing at Ruthven Towers. Our success is very much a team effort, however, and I couldn’t have achieved this nomination without the support of my colleagues and managers at Balhousie.”

Louise Barnett, Operations Director for Balhousie Care Group commented: “We are delighted to see Jozi’s efforts recognised by this nomination. Innovation is critical to the continuing success of any organisation, and Jozi’s caring and person-centred approach to care is an excellent example of Balhousie’s ‘Together We’re Great’ philosophy.”

Under Jozi’s management, residents of Ruthven Towers have become significantly more involved with how the home is run and are regularly consulted on their choices and wishes when making decisions about home life. Thanks to newly-implemented ways to encourage engagement, staff recruitment, home décor, furnishings and menu plans are all being influenced by the wishes of the residents.

Both staff and residents have benefited from the positive changes, which have resulted in reduced staff turnover and absence, as well as increasing the care home’s occupancy rates by 73%.

To find out more about Balhousie Care Group, visit www.balhousiecare.co.uk

Miniature ponies bring therapeutic benefits at Balhousie Care Group

Two miniature Shetland ponies have been spreading their love – and some therapy – after paying a visit to two generations of animal lovers.

The ‘theraponies’ visited residents of Balhousie North Inch North Grove care home in Perth this week. The elderly residents were joined by pre-school children from nearby Balhousie Nursery. Balhousie Nursery and its sister school Balhousie Primary are regular visitors to the care home, where primary school children take part in inter-generational activities.

Provided by Therapy Ponies Scotland, the miniature ponies offer therapeutic benefits to people with dementia, mobility challenges, anxiety, depression and learning difficulties. They are trained to walk beside wheelchairs, go in lifts and on stair lifts, as well as interact with people.

Louise Barnett, operations director with Balhousie Care Group, said:

“Theraponies have proven benefits for people with physical and cognitive challenges, so we jumped at the chance of this visit from Therapy Ponies Scotland. The ponies brought a big smile on the face of our residents, as well as the Balhousie Nursery children.”

To find out more about Balhousie Care Group, visit www.balhousiecare.co.uk