Morale gets a boost with baubles a plenty on Heatherington House’s tree

December 7, 2016

Following their recent Care Quality Commission Inspection in 2016, the whole support team at Heatherington House in Kettering thought about the feedback they had received and put together a plan to ensure that when the inspectors visited again they would see all the opportunities to improve had been seized.

The team had been asked what they were doing to further enhance relations between the team and the people they support. It presented them with the ideal opportunity to discuss with everyone in the house and brought about some of the most creative and unexpected ideas and suggestions.

Of everything considered there was an idea that everyone felt would be something they could contribute to and would look forward to working on. The idea was the use of a blank wall in the house to create a compliments and recognition tree. A very creative member of the support team James, offered to work on a few options for the design and presented these back to everyone in the house for their consideration. Of all the options a clear favourite emerged and it was agreed that the outline of the image would be transferred by James onto the wall and then everyone would get involved in the decorating of it.

As David and Jameel helped with the construction and painting of the tree on the wall, others passing would come up with ideas to extend the evolution of the tree. It was painted in such a way to make it feel realistic, they then added roots and branches extending the design right across two walls in the narrow hallway. They wanted to make sure everyone who visited knew what the tree was about and so asked for ideas on how to name it and also how to represent that on the wall. Bunting was chosen to add to the celebratory feel they wanted to evoke.

Core to the way in which the support team provides care are the Consensus values. Margaret, manager of Heatherington House was inspired by a book she had recently read named ‘The Giving Tree’ which had stated that everything comes from the roots, and so it was decided that the roots would bear the values of the company. Everyone felt that the company values are so embedded into life in the house that it was a very positive addition.

While all this activity was going on the support team knew they would need to find a way in which the tree could remain fresh and vibrant and so thought of ways in which everyone could be prompted to begin again at intervals, stripping the tree and then offering new compliments.

Sharon one of the support team suggested that perhaps the tree could behave the same way as it would in nature and change with the seasons. This prompted lots of conversation around the house, with everyone agreeing it could become seasonal, marking events on the calendar throughout the year. So with a tree bare in winter, what would they do?

Christmas is big in Heatherington House, it seemed obvious to decorate the tree with baubles. Baubles were designed with support and the use of a computer by Garfield and Matthew then laminated. The baubles were then shared out amongst everyone. People are encouraged and supported where required to write their compliment, thanks and recognition messages on the baubles and place upon the branches of the tree.

The last three to four weeks since the launch of the tree with its baubles has created quite a buzz within the house and already really lifted everyone’s morale. When people visit the home they comment upon the lovely tree and its positive messages and colleagues are feeling valued. The individuals we support are delighted to be recognised on the tree for the achievements and take great pride in showing all the messages.

Anyone can leave a message for or about another and there are now plenty of baubles beginning to hang on the tree.

It’s been a real labour of love for everyone involved and planning for the next seasonal change has already begun with supported individuals using their creative skills to come up with ideas and ways to decorate the tree.