Balhousie Care Groups first Care Inspectorate Grade 6

Wheatlands care home

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Balhousie Wheatlands in Bonnybridge has made history by becoming the first care home in its region, and in the Balhousie Care Group portfolio, to gain a top rating by the Care Inspectorate.

The care home was awarded an ‘excellent' rating of Grade 6 for its 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 highest Care Inspectorate rating is also a first across the whole Balhousie group of 25 homes.

Balhousie Care Group launched its Participation Charter in March 2017. Created by residents, it sets out how they want to be involved and supported in their care and the way it is delivered within their care home. Wheatlands' Grade 6 rating is a prime example of how adopting these principles can have a positive impact on residents' quality of life and care, said Balhousie.

Residents at Wheatlands have helped develop their own outdoor activities, including a 10-week programme in Callander in collaboration with Forestry Commission Scotland. Care home staff have also introduced their own unique learning activities, such as lessons in what it means to be elderly.

Balhousie Wheatlands home manager Grace Sloan said:

"One of our dementia ambassadors introduced experiential learning to staff so that they could experience the effects of ageing themselves. Staff were given altered glasses and blindfolds to wear, to simulate macular generation and poor vision. They were also fed food and rushed when they were walking, again so they could empathise with the elderly."

Grace, who is celebrating five years heading up Balhousie Wheatlands, said the Care Inspectorate rating has been a "huge" boost to morale.

"We now have a Grade 5 and a Grade 6 rating and the feedback we've had from residents and relatives on the home has been remarkable. It's been a huge boost to the morale of our 80 staff."

Balhousie's new Chief Executive Officer Steve White, whose own recruitment process included a panel interview of Wheatlands staff, a relative and a resident, said:

"Gaining a Grade 6 requires sustainability as well as development, so we are very proud of the staff, residents and family members connected to Balhousie Wheatlands for this achievement. They have taken our Participation Charter and Together We're Great initiative and run with them to create a care home that shows consistence in the excellent way it promotes individuality and a person-centred approach."