‘Outstanding’ dementia unit is first to win top accolade from inspectors

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A specialist dementia unit in Yorkshire has become the first in the country to be given an “outstanding” rating by inspectors.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) praised services at Vida Hall in Harrogate which is also the first care home in the north to be given the top ranking under a more rigorous inspection regime introduced last year.

The purpose-built home accommodates up to 70 people with a dementia-related condition.

Inspectors said relatives and friends “only had positive experiences and praise for the service”. Staff were seen reminiscing with people about their lives, singing, discussing newspaper headlines or going for walks with them.

Spontaneous activities took place and staff spent time with people to give them emotional support and comfort. Assessments to identify people’s needs were used to develop care plans.

Debbie Westhead, the CQC’s deputy chief inspector for adult social care in the north, said the home had adopted some “ground-breaking initiatives”.

“We found that Vida Hall was providing an outstanding service to the people it supported and to their families, and the team there should be extremely proud of the work they do. Staff act with utmost professionalism and management was dedicated to providing a safe, compassionate and high quality service,” she said.

Inspectors said the home’s design assisted in keeping people safe and reduced anxiety. The site includes landscaping and sensory gardens specially designed for people with dementia.

James Rycroft, managing director of Vida Healthcare, which owns the home, said: “We set out to be a centre of excellence and to change perceptions about dementia care and that aim runs through everything. We are very proud of our amazing team who are very passionate about what they do and this CQC report is a fantastic endorsement of them and all their efforts.””

The firm is planning to open a second 125-bed facility in Pannal, near Harrogate, next year.