Caretech – Yorkminster Drive

Caretech chooses Gainsborough G360 services to provide total specialist bathroom solution at Birmingham care home

Gainsborough Specialist Bathrooms has successfully delivered its latest G360 wet room project to support disabled residents living at the Yorkminster Drive Care Bungalows, operated by Caretech Community Services on behalf of Solihull Council.

Caretech is a nationwide social care provider which manages a variety of care facilities for disabled residents including the three Yorkminster Drive bungalows located in Chelmsley Wood, Birmingham. The properties are owned by Solihull Care Housing Association with care provision outsourced to Caretech by the operator Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council. The nine residents at these homes, three in each bungalow, are cared for 24/7 by a team of 30+ support workers with expertise in learning difficulties. Residents have disabilities which include Autism, Down’s Syndrome and Angelman Syndrome – hence the need for accessible and adapted living. The communal bathroom in each property is key to quality care provision – hence the investment in a new assisted wet room solution in bungalow ‘number one’ by Gainsborough.

The majority of service users at Yorkminster Drive have lived there for over ten years with an equally established care team. Sharon Challoner, Care Home Manager, describes them all as ‘one happy family’, which is highlighted by the positive atmosphere in each building. Group activities and meals are organised regularly so there is a strong community bond between residents and staff. This personalised approach is indicative of the Caretech philosophy which successfully combines the strength of a large organisation with individualised care. The selection of G360 Bathroom Services by Gainsborough perfectly complements this client-centric ethos and has achieved a positive result for all concerned.

The total bathroom refit project was instigated in Autumn 2019 by manager Sharon. She has assisted residents at Yorkminster Drive for over fifteen years progressing from support worker to team leader. She identified that one of the communal bathrooms required modernisation and requested investment from the landlord.

A tender opportunity was given to several suppliers and Gainsborough was successful in winning the contract. It was chosen on the basis of its diverse G360 capabilities which would be able to provide every aspect of the project – from pre-enablement works, equipment and installation to servicing and after-care. This ensured Caretech only required one point of contact for all the works which significantly maximised convenience for the Solihull team. Sharon explains:

“Our previous assisted bath was breaking down regularly which was compromising the care we could provide. This, coupled with tired bathroom facilities, compelled me to request funds for a complete new wet room so we had greater flexibility for resident needs. Gainsborough’s ability to deliver it all impressed us and right from the first site survey by Ian, we felt confident that the end result would be a success. He visited us many times during the project and we were able to be involved with the design process to ensure the room gave us the access we needed.”

“Maximising manoeuvring space was critical as we have one service user who has a large wheelchair. To ensure there were no entrapment risks from the reclining bath, it was positioned perpendicular to the original bath which meant floor space may have been compromised. However, with the repositioning of a large radiator, clever concealing of pipes and a lateral ceiling track hoist, optimum usability of the bathroom space was maintained. Again, this is a prime example of why we chose G360 services as Gainsborough were able to complete all the additional plumbing and electrical work without us having to contact a different contractor.”

Sharon adds:

“The installation guys were impeccable and thoroughly professional – they were the best workers we have ever had! Even when the project came up against challenges, including the unforeseen concrete block flooring, the chaps cracked on to lay the wet room substructure in super quick time. Gainsborough gave us a plan at the start and they stuck to it. The wet room conversion took seven days and we experienced minimal disruption, they were tidy and considerate to our vulnerable residents.”

Now complete, the redeveloped Caretech wet room includes a range of quality, specialist fixtures and fitting alongside a reclining Sentes bath manufactured by Gainsborough.

The Sentes was a crucial element with the new project as residents had lost confidence in the previous bath. With its unreliability users were not relaxed and were opting for showers instead which were not as therapeutic. As the new wet room was being installed, the washing facilities in the other two bungalows were used and became the ‘norm’ for residents. Change can be a challenge for individuals with certain condition so the introduction of a new bath can sometimes result in resistance to engage.

Nevertheless, with the Sentes, service users felt familiar and confident quickly, so they returned to bathing on a regular basis without any apprehension. Sharon elaborates:

“A reliable reclining bath was crucial for us as it would give service users greater confidence and postural support. The bath design was also ideal for our carers with its simplistic side-mounted buttons. Our previous bath had a separate hand control which was always getting damaged and difficult to hold when managing residents. My care team like the fact the hot and cold taps are separate so there is no confusion with a monobloc setup. The temperature controlled water also gives us peace of mind and protects bathers from scalding.”

“Being able to bathe is a key part of our resident’s well-being. Yes, we now have the flexibility for service users to freshen up quickly with a shower, however being able to soak in the bath has so many benefits in terms of mood and positivity. We have one resident who simply like to sit in the bath with water running without it filling as they find the space reassuring and therapeutic. Now we have the Sentes facing our signature bumble bee yellow wall, bathers can enjoy a warm and pleasant sensation, in fact the colour gives us all a buzz. From a clinical point of view, bathing also helps those with skin integrity issues as we can provide oils or personal care that makes a difference.”

“Gainsborough were not the cheapest but I believe you get what you pay for. You can see the quality of the bath and the sanitary ware, the toilet arm rests are considerately designed and well finished. When we were investing in this new bathroom we needed to make sure it would be right and we didn’t chose the wrong contractor. Their after-sales service package and warranty were also reassuring which has meant any issues have been dealt with quickly. We got it right with Gainsborough.”