Tower House Residential Home

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Tower House Residential Home's best practice article

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 Tower House Residential Home is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles
Highlighting best practice
Manager Bridget Kidd
Tower House and
our garden
Tower House is a residential care service situated in an
Edwardian house with two acres of grounds. With 12
full-time residents, they are committed to creating a
homely atmosphere and involving their residents in decision-
making processes through both communal and individual
weekly feedback sessions. By developing strong and trusting
relationships with local GPs, they are able to ensure that their
residents receive the highest level of care. Manager Bridget
Kidd established the service two decades ago and explains how
they have created their friendly atmosphere and what they have
planned for the future.
Based in the village of Shipley in Henley-on-Thames, we are a care service operating
in the heart of the community. We inhabit an Edwardian house with two acres
of grounds, and I established the home after working as a nurse for many years.
Having left Ireland at the age of 16 to come to England and having completed my
training when I was 18, I began working with disabled children in Lancashire and
trained as a nurse in Southport. Following my marriage, I decided to go back to
nursing, and I worked in various care homes in the local area. It had always been
my dream to own my own care home. Two decades ago, I realised this ambition
with my late husband. From the very beginning, our goal was to create a home in
which I would like my own parents to live.
We have expanded our provision from four residents to 12. We hosted a grand
opening for the house, with Boris Johnson, then-mayor of Henley, among the
guests. My daughter Sinead joined after ten years and now works alongside
»Manager: Bridget Kidd
»Established in 1994
»Based in Shipley,
»Services: Residential care
»No. of employees: 15
»No. of users: 12
Tower House
Residential Home
me. The grounds are full of wildlife,
including deer, pheasants, squirrels and
rabbits – an element of our setting that
is particularly valued by those we care
for. We also have croquet and tennis
lawns, and our residents’ grandchildren
often play while they watch. We
also have a conservatory, which is
much loved. Our residents enjoy our
intimate, homely environment, and we
try to make our setting a home away
from home. Our staff are trained to
the highest standard and are reviewed
every year. All of our employees
have NVQ Levels 2 and 3 in place,
and we host a large number of local
students who come in on Saturdays to
volunteer, often as part of the Duke of
Edinburgh Awards. Many of them are
looking to pursue careers in medicine,
and we host placements for those who
are training to become nurses.
Keeping residents engaged
We cater for a variety of residents,
so we organise a number of activities
throughout the week to meet their
interests. We invite vicars to perform
a service every month and host
communion every week – something
that is very important to a number of
our residents. We host a musician on
Thursdays who plays the clarinet, and
our activities co-ordinator organises
events on Mondays and Wednesdays.
These can range from quizzes to
board games, and we always try to
rotate these activities to ensure that
they remain fresh. Our staff, and the
friends of residents, often organise
trips outside the house, visiting pubs
and restaurants. If they choose to
stay in, our in-house chef caters to all
dietary requirements. We also host a
garden party every summer, attended
by residents, their families and friends,
and the mayor of Henley. This is a real
highlight of the year.
The house is filled with colour and
various paintings and antiques. We
have promoted an atmosphere of
quietness and sociability, and we value
all of our staff and residents. We go
to great lengths to learn their families
and personal history. We choose our
employees with their sociability in mind
while ensuring that they are able to
provide the highest standard of care.
The front hall
Our residents
enjoy our
intimate, homely
and we try to
make our setting
a home away
from home
Highlighting best practice
We have created a very friendly
atmosphere within the house and
open up lunch every day to the
families and friends of those we care
for. This allows them to stay close to
their loved ones and provides variety
to conversations. Our residents often
get together to watch sports, and
communal activities like this are at
the heart of what we do. We always
try to inject fun into these events and
organise a sweepstake each year for
the Grand National.
Continually training our
To help to ensure the high standard of
care that we offer, we have developed
a very strong rapport with the local
surgery. As a trained nurse, I am able
to respond quickly to less-serious
infections and help to nip problems in
the bud. This knowledge has meant
that we have trusting relationships
with local GPs, who often strike
up personal relationships with our
residents as they visit.
We regularly train our employees
in-house, and the importance of this
cannot be overstated. We have placed
the traditional values of dignity and
respect at the heart of our business
structure, and our person-centred
care significantly enhances our
residents’ quality of life. Our users
are given as much independence as
possible, and friends and family are
We have set up a state-of-the-art
nurse care system, and we regularly
carry out evaluation courses, which
we must complete every three years.
Residents are encouraged to use the
centre’s facilities as if it were their
own home, and we are committed
to our duty of care. Staff training
is ongoing, and we hold quarterly
supervisions to ensure that all staff
are trained to spot any change in a
resident’s behaviour.
Circumventing recruitment
One of the main challenges we face
is staff recruitment, although we have
taken steps to reduce this burden. By
embracing online recruitment tools
and subcontracting this initial process
to a recruitment firm, we are able
to cast our net far wider than we
were previously able. This allows us
to find more potential recruits while
still making sure that they are up to
standard: they are extensively vetted
and DBS checked, and they shadow
employees when they first arrive. Our
excellent level of employee satisfaction
has also meant that we have a high
rate of staff retention, which has
reduced the impact of any recruitment
issues we may face.
Looking forward, we must ensure
that we remain compliant with any
changes to regulations or training
requirements. We will continue to
adapt to any changes that the CQC or
other related bodies make. We want
to keep our homely atmosphere and
the close relationships between staff
and residents, but these must go along
with ensuring that training isongoing.
We choose
our employees
with their
sociability in
mind while
ensuring that
they are able
to provide the
standard of
The dining room

This article was sponsored by Tower House Residential Home. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy