Solid gold success for Birch Green


Skelmersdale care home Birch Green has been named a ‘solid gold’ home by one of the UK’s leading care quality organisations.


The Gold Standards Framework (GSF) sets out best practice for caring for patients approaching the end of their lives – a ‘gold standard of care.’


The GSF care home training programme is said to be ‘the most comprehensive programme to enhance end of life care in care homes.’ Since it began in 2004, almost 1,500 homes have undertaken training, and 100 apply to be accredited every year 


The standard is endorsed by all major care home organisations and supported by Age UK, the charity working to improve life for the elderly.


Professor Keri Thomas, GSF National Clinical Lead said: “GSF has become recognised as the kite marked model of best practice for end of life care in care homes. Homes like Birch Green are a beacon for others to follow as they are providing the right care, in the right place, at the right time, offering their residents the sort of care we would want for ourselves or our loved ones.”


Now Birch Green has been accredited by GSF, and has been given the Quality Hallmark Award following a strict assessment period involving assembling evidence of best practice and a quality assessment visit. The accreditation will last three years and will involve annual appraisals and a re-accreditation in 2016.


As an accredited home, Birch Green is part of a national network of ‘solid gold’ homes in the UK, designed to enable continuous quality improvement across the country.


Catherine Shawarby, general manager of Birch Green Care Home, said: “The Gold Standards Framework exists to promote the very best in end of life care, and Birch Green has worked hard to demonstrate our standards of care are consistently high.


“As a holder of the Quality Hallmark Award – one of the GSF’s solid gold homes – we will receive access to further industry leading training and benchmarking to ensure Birch Green retains the highest quality of care.  “The whole team has worked very hard to achieve this award and we’re looking forward to working closely with the GSF in the future.”


The Quality Hallmark Award will be officially presented to Birch Green at an awards ceremony in March, to be held in London.

Cookery raises smiles at Birch Green

Residents at Birch Green Care Home, Skelmersdale, brought back memories while putting their cookery skills to good use recently.

The group of four took part in the weekly activity as part of a special reminiscence session based around cooking.

By utilising their cookery skills to create a tasty sausage plait, the group, along with staff members, were able to look back on their younger days.

Catherine Shawarby, general manager of Birch Green, said: “Reminiscence is a proven therapy for older people with short-term memory problems, and provides a great way for residents to interact and stimulate fond memories.

“The cookery sessions are always popular with residents and staff alike, and we’re always very impressed with the quality of the cooking!”


Skelmersdale care service scoops national award

The manager of a Skelmersdale care home has won a top national award for the quality of her work.

Catherine Shawarby, general manager at Birch Green Care Home, walked away with the Care Manager award at the 14th annual National Care Awards.

Birch Green provides high quality nursing and residential care for 74 older people, and is part of the Lancashire-based Springhill Care Group.

Catherine was picked as winner from among the top care organisations and businesses in the country.

Also awarded a prize were Stephen Penketh, registered manager, and Vici Beardsworth, operations manager, at the Springhill Group’s supported living service, Affinity Supporting People, who were jointly named winners of the Special Needs Manager award.

Affinity is a not-for-profit company providing care services for young people with learning disabilities.

The National Care Awards, now in its 14th year, is one of the social care sector’s premier award ceremonies, run by trade magazine Caring Times. This year’s event took place at the Hilton London Metropole Hotel, featuring TV and radio host Roy Walker, and 600 guests.

Ken Nolan, chairman of Springhill Care Group, said: “This was a great result for the team and a wonderful testimony to the quality of our managers.

“We were picked above much larger care providers, and we are particularly proud to be bringing these awards back to the North West.

“Everyone at Birch Green, Affinity and across the Springhill Care Group have worked incredibly hard over the last 12 months as we have made significant investment into many of our services, and this success shows that we are leading the way in the quality of our care.”

Award winner Catherine Shawarby added: It was a pleasant surprise to hear I had been not only nominated but shortlisted for this prestigious award.

“A great evening at the awards was really topped off with winning the Care Manager award, knowing what tough competition there was with the other finalists. It really is a pleasure to work hard with a truly professional and forward thinking team, and an honour to be able to represent Springhill Care and Birch Green Care Home in this way.

From Harley Street to Birch Green Via Egypt!

A former Harley Street staff nurse who has worked alongside some of the world’s leading doctors is the  Registered Manager of Birch Green Care Home.

Catherine Shawarby, aged 54, took up her post in April 2009   vowing to put her vast professional experience into practice for the benefit of  residents.

“My standards are high and I do strive for the best. Older people deserve the best. I say that from the heart,” she announced.

After qualifying as a Registered General Nurse, Catherine moved to London to work in the private sector.

As a staff nurse at The Harley Street Clinic – where world famous heart surgeon Magdi Yacoub practised - she nursed the patients of top doctors back to health.

Moving  to Egypt, she worked as an SRN in Cairo before returning to  England  eleven years later with a husband and two children.

After working as a night nurse in a nursing home to fit in with raising her family, Catherine went into home management in 1991, gaining a Management Level 5 NVQ in 1995.

She moved into the training sector in 1998, where she spent five years as a consultant for a not for profit company.  During this time she studied Gerontology at Masters level at Salford University.

Putting into practise her new knowledge and skills, she returned as a Registered Manager for a Manchester home in 2003.   Earlier this year she was attracted to the Springhill Care Group, which owns Birch Green.

She said: “I was very impressed by their ‘patient first’ ethos and I liked the management style.  They wanted the right person and I wanted the right job!”

On arriving at Birch Green, she wasn’t disappointed.

“ I was greatly impressed by the standards of care already in place – and the staff,” she admits.

School pupils create touching tribute

A special plaque has been made by local school pupils for the Rose Garden of Remembrance at a Skelmersdale care home.

The plaque was presented by Lathom High School, Skelmersdale, to highlight the garden dedicated to remembering past residents of Birch Green.

Handing over the plaque – made in the design technology class – were pupils Aiden Parker and Harry Kolokotrone along with Richie Stephens, West Lancs Training Learning Tutor.

Resident Mildred Johnson of Birch Green recently buried her husband’s ashes and planted a rose in his memory, one of the growing number of people who have used the garden in this way.

Another resident, Edna Gregory said: “The garden is a lovely place to visit to feel close to your loved ones. The boys from that school are lovely boys and well dressed! It is especially nice in the summer when all of the roses bloom in the garden, the colours are very nice."

Debbie Stocks, Lathom High School Community Officer, said: “It was great seeing how people appreciated Harry and Aiden's work. I was so proud how well they represented Lathom High School. It's always lovely going to Birch Green.”

The purpose-built care home, which provides high quality nursing and residential care for 74 older people, established the Rose Garden of Remembrance as part of Dying Matters week earlier this year to provide a comforting area for people to use to remember their loved ones.

Birch Green General Manager Catherine Shawarby said: “This is a fitting addition to the garden which is designed to allow people to walk around, sit in quiet contemplation, or sit and chat with friends.

“Our residents find it an enjoyable place to spend quality time.”

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Contact: General Manager - Phillippa McGrath

Birch Green Care Centre
Ivydale, Birch Green
Skelmersdale, Lancashire WN8 6RS

Tel: 01695 50916
Fax: 01695 51301
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