Mildenhall care home and its dog rated outstanding

Mildenhall Lodge manager Katy Hughes with resident Phyllis Page and adopted dog Sinbad. 'Photos by Lucy Taylor Photography

A Mildenhall care home, which has an in-house cinema, pub and an adopted dog, has been named one of the best in the country.

Mildenhall Lodge in St John’s Close, which is run by Care UK, was rated outstanding by inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC)whose report highlighted its focus on residents.

Mildenhall Lodge staff celebrate being rated outstanding 'Photos by Lucy Taylor Photography

The rating illustrates the home’s continuous improvement since it opened. Its last report, a year ago, rated it as ‘good’ with inspectors only having reservations about whether its staffing hours matched client needs, but its first CQC report in July 2014 saw the commission taking ‘enforcement action’ over its concerns for client safety.

The latest report, based on an inspection on November 15, says: “In February 2016 we were not confident that staffing always matched the needs of people using the service and as a result this key question ‘requires improvement.

“At this inspection we found improvements had been made and have rated this key question ‘good’.”

Social inclusion was said to be an important part of day to day life at Mildenhall Lodge, which provides residential, dementia and nursing care.

Its Lark Café in the main entrance hall was described by inspectors as ‘a hive of social activity and a community in its own right within the home’.

The report noted key features which made the home an outstanding place to live, including an in-house pub and cinema, regular trips out for residents, and Sinbad, the home’s adopted dog.

The inspectors found residents were empowered to be involved in all aspects of running the home.

Recently introduced resident ambassador, Jean Fincham, was described as ‘an instrumental part of the home’ whose manager Katy Hughes was recognised for demonstrating outstanding leadership.

A voting system had also been put in place, so that residents could vote on decisions within the home which resulted in Sinbad joining the team as ‘canine relations manager’.

A staff member told inspectors: “It’s astonishing how he makes people light up. One resident who doesn’t like to leave their room very much will come downstairs specifically to have a cuddle with Sinbad.”

The CQC also noted engaging with the local community 
was a key part of life in the home.

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