Inspiration as a topic – George Coxon, RMN, Director of Summercourt and Pottles Court Care Homes

Although the Devon Care Kite Mark has been bringing together active, progressive and innovative residential care providers for over 5 years now we have to date not had an interactive website containing blogs.

As a first offering as long standing Chair of the DCKM initiative I thought I would say a few things about inspiration to prompt some thoughts and perhaps reaction and comments.

In our supervisions with staff in my 2 non nursing care homes we are raising the issue of where we get our inspiration from and how we inspire others- particularly each other.

So far some key messages and suggestions have included the following:

Being proud of what we do – being kind all of the time, exercising the skills and expertise that go with being a keen and able carer.

Being impressive -to onlookers as a positive role model and getting the thrill and the satisfaction of knowing ‘you did a good job there’ in every exchange. This of course requires a balance of the jobs that we must do and the extras that make all the difference to those we are looking after.

Cooperation coexisting with competition – there is a delicate balance where being part of a team and how we combine efforts to ‘raise the bar’ within a care home.  We know family life has its moments of discord and the care home family is a family too. We regularly share frustrations about the nature of variation in care (we strive toward consistency but know we are not a factory where all the outcomes are always the same) so we discuss and review how we do things to seek and gain inspiration through ‘sharing to learn’ from each other in true team like –‘ in it together’ ways.

Being willing and able to recognise great care – sometimes complacency and a desire to promote our own approach to our work can lead to blind spots and a resistance to new ideas even things we know can improve care.

Doing the right things well and having fun in the process- we have embedded this as a core value in our work for some time in our homes.  We say often ‘looking after people with frailty and dementia is a serious business but we must also to make sure we enjoy how we do this too’ and have total belief in our value and the need to have fun and participate in creating a light hearted atmosphere too.

Being big enough to admit we got is wrong- the duty of candour theme coming mainly from the NHS has a strong bearing on how we address  things if things have gone wrong – we will applaud those that admit to imperfections.

Culture– we hear the term ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’ from time to time and it’s so true.  Get the culture right and inspiration flows – so perhaps the single most essential ingredient to an inspiring home is culture – more on this next time.  What does a great culture comprise of?

A final few words on inspiration must address the ‘4 Ships’ principle derived from work within the DCKM collaboration – each of the following have emerged as critical elements of how we promote inspiration in our work. Each are addressed in our DCKM Masterclass 4 day immersion training of owners and managers – our next and 5th cohort intake planned in the autumn.

LEADERSHIP                                                                       FOLLOWERSHIP

OWNERSHIP                                                                       PARTNERSHIP

To hear more on these why not get in touch and involved in the Devon Care Kite Mark work by contacting

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