Eastbank Care Home

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Eastbank Care Home is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.


Managing Director RussellJames
Care for the community
Eastbank is based less than a mile from Hereford city
centre, and supports adults with complex needs. As a
family-owned and run business, Russell and Kate James
are passionate about providing high-quality care for the adults
whom Eastbank supports in the residential home and in the
community. An ethos encapsulated by “your home for life”
means Russell and the team adapt to meet the changing needs
of the individuals that live at Eastbank. This has developed by
working closely with Herefordshire Social Care team, health
service professionals, residents and their families. What follows
is Russell James’ description of the company and its workings.
I purchased Eastbank in 2007, quickly changing the ethos and care packages to
develop and meet the needs of the residents and to become person-focused. The
organisation has grown to become a leading provider for adults with complex
needs in Herefordshire.
With experience of supporting individuals with learning disabilities, mental
health problems, dementia, drug and alcohol issues, eating disorders, behaviour
problems, mobility issues and health issues, we pride ourselves on changing and
adapting to meet the individuals’ developing needs. I feel that too many homes and
organisations serve notice on individuals too quickly when their needs and wishes
change. These moves unsettle and distress people, increasing their challenging
behaviours and decreasing their trust with people whom they should be able to
trust and rely on implicitly.
»Managing Director:
»Established in 2007
»Based in Hereford
»Services: Residential and
respite care for adults with
complex needs.
»No. of employees: 11
Eastbank Care Home
Highlighting best practice
We have individuals whose home
has been Eastbank for over 25 years.
In that time, needs and wishes
change, and so we change too. Our
organisation is built on the ethos of
“family values” and “your home for
life”, allowing individuals to be who
they are. We do not see a problem in
change but an opportunity to work
with the person. Such changes may
include physiological, psychological or
deteriorating health.
We want to know what makes each
individual “tick” so that they can
achieve happiness and enjoy their life.
Being passionate about our residents
and the quality of service we provide
is key – no half measures. From
top-down and bottom-up, quality
is everything. A culture of warmth,
respect, friendship, trust, dignity, care,
support, communication and hard work
are all key elements of the Eastbank
ethos and vision. I am adamant that
staff should not be asked to complete
a task that I am personally unable to
do. How can you ask staff members to
buy in to your culture and beliefs if you
are asking them to complete tasks that
you or your management team cannot
complete? Good leadership is missing
in many care services.
I also believe that the quality of
the care provided is linked to staff
turnover, monitoring of staff hours
and mentoring and supervision. The
organisation believes that quality of
care is directly negatively impacted by
a high turnover of staff. We quickly
know if a potential staff member will
fit into our team by using a reversed
recruitment process. Initially, we invite
potential staff members to visit us
at the home and spend time with
experienced staff and the residents.
We are looking for the basic values
including communication, eye contact,
body language and warmth, after
which we can then discuss our values
and ethos. You can quickly pick up on
someone’s passion and understanding
of people with complex needs and
whether Eastbank is the right place
for them and whether they are the
right person for us. We have had some
possible new team members visit, who
have experience and qualifications, but
who just don’t have the same passion,
beliefs and understanding as the team
does, so a position is not offered. Often,
though, their feedback is that they love
how we support our residents.
A spacious and well-lit
garden area
A comfortable lounge
about our
residents and
the quality of
service we
provide is key
We give staff a high level of both
formal and informal supervision, as
well as more general support. There
is also the opportunity to develop
their skills and knowledge and
ultimately their careers. In addition to
mandatory training, we encourage
staff to complete health and social care
diplomas, moving on to degrees in
either health and social care or mental
health (we currently have one staff
member who’s completed this and two
who are in the course of doing so).
Moreover, paying well above the
national living wage and having staff
that know they are rewarded for their
hard work and being part of our team
is an essential part of getting the best
out of our staff.
The biggest challenge we face is finding
the right staff so we can develop as an
organisation, which, to date, has been
slow. We will not compromise our
quality for development.
Herefordshire has a large number
of care organisations in a large rural
community, meaning that the market
is flooded with care positions. We
feel that health and social care is not
recognised as a professional career,
which is something that has to change.
With an ageing population, there
will be increases in dementia, mental
illness, learning disabilities and
complex needs. The drive to get more
people interested and making a career
in our sector therefore has to start
now. The change has to come from
policymakers and must be part of a
wider government initiative.
Partnership working between
healthcare, social care and social
services is poor, which leads to money
wastage, which in turn impacts
Moving forward
Over the next five years we plan to
increase our share in the supported
living market. The speed at which we
do this will depend on the ability to
recruit staff who share the vision and
values of the organisation, considering
staffing availability before taking on
additional care contracts.
Discussions have also taken place with
the local council about a housing with
care unit, which is a halfway house
between independent living and
residential care. Such a unit would
support individuals to learn new skills,
have security of a home and improve
confidence after a crisis.
With an ageing
there will be
increases in
mental illness,
disabilities and
complex needs
A new and professional


This article was sponsored by Eastbank Care Home. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.