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Conifer Lodge, Wisbech

A Care home which specialises in providing care to people who have a learning disability, people who are on the autistic spectrum and people who may also have associated mental health needs has been judged as outstanding by the Care Quality Commission.

CQC inspectors visited Conifer Lodge in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire 19 & 23 October 2018 and rated it as outstanding in the responsive and well-led categories and good for being safe, effective and caring.

Inspectors observed that staff were flexible and responsive to the individual needs of each person using the service. Staff found creative ways to make sure that people lived a full and meaningful life as possible. People lived busy social lives and took part in a wide range of interests, pastimes and work. For example, staff encouraged and supported a person to be involved with a local sports team. The person had gained so much confidence they now helped run it. Staff supported people to volunteer and work within the local community. This helped people to feel valued and be part of and contribute to the community.

One resident commented, "I enjoy meeting new people and I am polite in my approach to others."

Another said, "This is an activity I enjoy. I feel like I am helping when I am at work, it feels good. I like to talk about my work as it is important to me."

As a part of learning and to enable staff to have a greater understanding of what it was like for people to live with limited verbal communication skills, the team organised a staff silence day. Staff, working together collaboratively, were to speak to people and answer telephones, but had to find non-verbal ways of communicating with other staff. This was 'to test their skills and imagination' as 'just because you don't talk doesn't mean there is nothing to be heard.' This exercise was to make sure that staff put people at the heart of the service and to help them experience what obstacles people had to overcome when trying to communicate their wishes and feelings.

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