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Award winning organic MasterChef contestant to run Fernhill House restaurant 
Fernhill House has appointed a chef with a passion for home grown organic produce and a national TV appearance under his belt to run its dining room and bistro. 

Chris Williams, who has worked with Heston Blumenthal and Marco Pierre White,  is looking forward to cooking for and growing vegetables with residents at Fernhill House in Fernhill Heath. He appeared on MasterChef when he was working at an organic café he set up a few years ago at Stourbridge College, which provided work placements for young adults with autism and learning difficulties. 

He was, until recently, community chef at the award winning Big Lottery funded growing and cooking project, Kingstanding Food Community in Birmingham, is raring to get his teeth into the new project – and already has plans to build a pizza oven within Fernhill House’s two acre grounds. He will also grow his own veg – inviting residents to help if they wish – and will be asking local schools to get involved. Chris’ cooking prowess matches his community credentials. 

He has been head chef and executive chef at a number of prestigious hotels, winning AA rosettes and culinary accolades aplenty over the course of his 25 year career. Chris said: “My work in Kingstanding was incredibly satisfying. I worked with families and local organisations, teaching growing and cooking skills and we used our own, home grown seasonal produce as much as possible. I enjoyed making a difference to the community by being able to inspire, enable  and motivate local people to eat more healthily. 

“Food is such a vital part of wellbeing. I want the residents at Fernhill House to tell me the kind of meals they enjoy.  Families and friends are welcome to join whenever they wish – every day if they like – at no extra cost, so eating at Fernhill is a genuine community experience and I can’t wait to start cooking.”

Fernhill House installs three pioneering technologies to help residents and families
A luxury £8 million care home in Fernhill Heath near Worcester is installing three up-to-the-minute technologies aimed at ensuring residents’ wellbeing, keeping families informed and making the best use of staff time. 

Fernhill House, which is due to open in the spring, is to become one of the first in the UK to use a specialised acoustic monitoring system aimed at ensuring residents receive prompt overnight attention without compromising their privacy. 

The system, which has been used in the progressive Netherlands for the past 30 years, is available at only a handful of homes this side of the channel. The technology is designed to keep a virtual eye on residents while they are asleep and alert staff to any unusual activity – such as falling out of bed or being distressed. 

This means residents don’t need to be disturbed by staff checking in on them unnecessarily, with an added benefit that time otherwise taken up doing this can be directed where it is most needed.  The £60,000 system, which will be installed in all 66 bedrooms, is activated when noises reach a higher than expected level and triggers an alert to staff. 

The second technology is aimed at keeping families informed around the clock on the day-to-day wellbeing of their relative. A secure portal, requiring password sign in, will detail activities, meals, medications and state of mind. Fernhill House will be only the 270th home out of 22,000 in the UK to have the Relatives Gateway smartphone tool. 

It replaces old fashioned notes, which are not only time consuming to complete but also can miss vital elements as they can be completed several hours after the event. All information can be shared to the central computer making it instantly available for all members of the team. A social network element enables them to communicate with the staff and send and receive pictures.

Fernhill House manager Peta Mandleberg explained: “Its key benefits are that all activities are completely transparent, it cuts down on paperwork, thus increasing face-to-face time between staff and residents, and enables those with dementia to keep in even closer contact with their families. Although other electronic care planning systems have been around for a while, the Relatives Gateway is very new technology.” 

She estimates this system alone will save an hour per day per team member – which can then be used in increasing time spent with residents. The third technological advance is an e-medication admin record - Wellpad. All pills and medicines are bar coded to ensure residents have precisely the right dose at the right time and remove any margin of error. 

While this is used in a few hundred care homes up and down the country thousands do not have such a system. Fernhill House, which aims to put the fun back into retirement living, opens in the spring with 36 beds for those living with dementia and 30 for over 65s. In the meantime, the marketing suite is open from 10am to 4pm daily by appointment. 

Watch an instructive video introducing the benefits of the acoustic monitoring system here and find out more about the Relatives Gateway here:

New care home to create 100 jobs
A 66-bed luxury care home in Fernhill Heath has started recruiting for around 100 positions ahead of its opening in the spring. 

The jobs are at Fernhill House and will cover a broad range of full-time and part-time roles, with the home’s immediate priority being the appointment of experienced, high quality nurses. Fernhill House aims to be different from other homes in the area – or indeed the UK – with its focus on vibrancy and a host of daily activities not normally associated with residential homes.  

That approach has already prompted a flood of job applicants, as well as strong interest from potential residents and their families. Fernhill House manager Peta Mandleberg, a registered nurse who has worked in the care sector for many years, is passionate about the ethos of the home and is committed to recruiting people who will share that passion and enthusiasm. 

“We will offer a different approach to life for over-65s and want to put the fun and fulfilment back into retirement living. That will be reflected in all we do and we need everyone working at Fernhill House to be totally committed to that approach and way of thinking.” 

Several senior-level appointments have already been made at Fernhill House, which will accommodate 36 people living with dementia and 30 frail elderly people. Peta continued: “Over the coming few weeks, my biggest priority will be to fill a small number of key nursing roles. 

It will be a beautiful, new environment in which to work. We will have some of the most advanced technology available to support care planning and medication administration. Fernhill House will also have a high staff/resident ratio. 

“There are many additional benefits that we are offering to nurses – including shorter shifts, higher-than-average pay rates, enhanced pay for night and weekend work, support with revalidation, some great development and training opportunities – and also a management open to new ideas!”

The Fernhill House team are recruiting more staff to join maintenance manager David Smith, administrator Georgina Carr, deputy manager Clair Gurteen, manager Peta Mandleberg, administrator Deborah Jones, and chef Chris Williams.

Trailblazing £8 million care home opens its doors for sneak preview
An £8 million 66 bed luxury care home which has a different approach to life for over 65s and wants to be put the fun back into retirement living is offering a sneak preview of its elegant interior. 

Fernhill House in Fernhill Heath, near Worcester, which will accommodate 36 people living with dementia and 30 frail elderly people, is due to open in the spring. With its ethos of helping older people live an active, fulfilled life and its unusual ‘all inclusive price’ package, Fernhill House’s team is anticipating a flood of visitors to the marketing suite which has now opened its doors.

Fernhill House aims to be different from other homes in the area – or indeed the UK – with its focus on vibrancy and a host of daily activities not normally associated with residential homes.  In addition to gym sessions, arts and crafts and gardening, events such as tea dances, choir therapy, recitals by string quartets and bubbles and blinis evenings will be held on a regular basis.

The home will be very much part of the wider community – with residents encouraged to invite friends and family to dine with them and enjoy tea and cake in the café or cocktails at the bar at no extra cost. 

Residents can also enjoy treatments in the beautifully appointed salon, chiropody, hobbies and trips out without adding anything to the standard monthly charge. 

The unique dementia community will recreate ‘normal’ life – with its own pub, shop and indoor potting shed. Residents will inform the activities in the home - rather than carrying out activities to a regimented timetable. In addition to the highly experienced key posts, ‘wellbeing ambassadors’, selected for their passion and enthusiasm and generously remunerated, will look after the residents’ day-to-day requirements. 

The home offers larger than average bedrooms, a bar bistro, tearoom, shop, cinema, private dining room, library and a secure sensory garden for the dementia residents within two acres of wooded grounds. Fernhill House manager Peta Mandleberg, a registered nurse who has worked in the care sector for many years, is passionate about the ethos of the home. 

“We aim to help our residents enjoy happy fulfilled lives – enjoying long established hobbies, discovering new ones and being part of a vibrant community.” 

The marketing suite is open from 10am til 4pm daily by appointment.