Six local care homes receive award for end of life care provision

Care Homes from across Colchester, Tendring and Braintree have been awarded the Gold Standards Framework (GSF) accreditation after completing their training delivered by St Helena Hospice.

GSF is the most widely used end of life care quality improvement programme for frontline staff across all sectors and is designed to help care homes provide residents with systematic, proactive, person-centred and coordinated end of life care.

St Helena Hospice became a regional training centre for GSF three years ago, and six care homes including: Colonia Court, Colchester; Freda Gunton Lodge, Colchester; Springfields, Colchester; Corner Lodge, Clacton; Millard House, Braintree and Marmora, Clacton, from cohort one of the programme were awarded their accreditation at a virtual ceremony on 17th December 2020 with five receiving a ‘pass’ and Marmora receiving a ‘commend’.

The aim of GSF is to help care homes transform end of life care, enabling more of their residents to live well, enhancing their quality of life, and to die comfortably in their preferred place of care.

Imelda Hodgkinson, St Helena’s practice educator, said: “Care homes have been described as the hospices of the future. Many residents will spend their last few years in a care home and die in their care. This programme enables them to develop their existing knowledge and skills, empowering them on behalf of their residents to further enhance their expertise.

“The programme helps them improve communication processes, not only between carer and patient but also between professionals and families; ensuring that support for loved ones is carried through, both pre and post bereavement.

“It also arms them with the tools and language to use to receive the support they require and to improve their relationships with other healthcare professionals.”

In 2018, senior staff from each of the care homes attended four study days at St Helena’s learning and development centre. They then had a year to carry out and complete set tasks and goals and cascade what they had learnt through their organisation, embedding the principles so GSF becomes a way of working and is integrated into daily practice, before they applied for the accreditation.

Upon passing the award, each received a plaque to proudly display at their care home.

Lisa Welsh, registered manager of Marmora, said: “We feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to undertake such a prestigious award. We found it excelled all our expectations.

“Working in the care industry for many years I wondered what the course could teach us. It has revolutionised the practices within Marmora which are now fully embedded within the home.

This knowledge and way of working will enrich the lives of our residents for years to come and we recommend all care homes undertake this award. We were delighted and surprised to receive the "Commend" award.”

Imelda added: “Receiving the GSF award is a fantastic achievement and I am hugely proud of them all. Not only is it a brilliant accolade that is recognised by the CQC (Care Quality Commission), but it’s a recommendation for people visiting the care home. This accreditation takes a lot of hard work and effort and they deserve so much praise and recognition for completing it and for all that they do.

“Care home staff have been the unsung heroes of the pandemic. Some have given up going home to their families and have stayed in their care homes to make sure that the residents are safe, that’s such a selfless act. It was a wonderful end to 2020 to see them given this well-deserved award.”

St Helena has also run GSF with cohort 2 in 2019 with those care homes due to apply for accreditation in early 2021. Cohort 3 was unable to take place due to covid-19, but the local charity hopes it can run GSF education again from this spring, albeit it virtually.

Contact Information

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24 hour advice: SinglePoint 01206 890 360

SinglePoint is a 24/7 advice and support helpline which helps to coordinate an individual’s care with the hospice. SinglePoint also works alongside other healthcare services such as GPs, Community Nurses or Specialists.

The Hospice

To contact a patient at The Hospice please find the address and telephone number below. Phone calls can be made to patients at any time of the day or week. You can contact Inpatient Services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Hospice, Myland Hall, Barncroft Close, Highwoods, Colchester, C04 9JU

Telephone: 01206 845 566

Hospice in the Home

You can contact The Hospice in the Home Team Monday to Friday, between 9.00am and 5.00pm on:

Colchester/Halstead team
Telephone: 01206 845 566

Tendring community team
Telephone: 01255 221 222

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You can contact the Joan Tomkins Centre (Colchester) Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm on:

Telephone: 01206 848 163

Fax: 01206 752 245

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Tendring Centre Postcode for Sat Navs: CO15 1EU

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If you, or a member of your family has a life-limiting illness and would like to discuss whether St Helena care services can help, you can contact the SinglePoint telephone service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 01206 890 360

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To contact the St Helena Bereavement Support team please telephone the bereavement helpline: 01206 984 274, Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm

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For more information on the St Helena Service User Group please contact Chair, Ken Aldred on 01206 751 397

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01206 851560


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Comment, compliment or complaint

Feedback, comments and complaints about St Helena care and support services may be made verbally or in writing to: Director of Care, St Helena, Myland Hall, Barncroft Close, Highwoods, Colchester, CO4 9JU. To speak to a member of our team, call 01206 845 566