A SMALL family-run old people’s home in Hayling has been named one of the best in the country in a poll of 1,000 care homes.
St Leonard’s Rest Home on Hayling Island came top in the Your Care Rating poll, established to give residents a voice.
The home was set up by Frank Bartlett, a microbiologist, when he returned from working in Saudi Arabia with his nurse wife Mary, 16 years ago.
In October they were approached by Your Care Rating and all residents were asked to fill in a questionnaire which was then analysed by Mori and St Leonard’s came out top.
Mr Bartlett said: ‘I was surprised because we were up against the big homes such as Barchester who can spend money on things like memory lanes.
‘We are a small home with lots of dedicated staff who have been with us for a number of years.
‘My wife and I are here quite a lot of the time. We live on the island.
‘We always try to take the residents to hospital ourselves.
‘The residents know our staff and they know their families. One brings in their baby, another brings in their dog. It’s just like a house where friends come and go.’
Pay for care home staff is often low but those at St Leonard’s are compensated in other ways.
‘If they have an unexpected car bill we normally pay for that’, said Mr Bartlett.
‘And we give loans if they need it at virtually no interest.’
A few years ago a care worker had trouble swallowing but it took 12 weeks before she was seen and diagnosed with throat cancer. She died shortly afterwards.
Since then all staff have been given private health insurance.
It is this attitude that ensures a very low staff turnover.
Charles Nuth, a new resident at the home, said: ‘You can’t fault it.’
The 82-year-old added: ‘It’s the people who work here who make it special.
‘They’re always busy and always smiling. Nothing seems to faze them.
‘They always make time for you. ‘