Social care that offers the right fit

Due to demand in the sector, all too often, people are based in social care services that do not meet their needs, leading to placement breakdown, significant distress and increased cost, but Exemplar Health Care is striving to do things differently.

The demand for specialist care services that require expertise, high staffing levels and specialist facilities is growing, however many ‘mainstream’ care providers are struggling to deliver.

Exemplar Health Care, a provider of specialist nursing care, is taking a stand to ensure that people get the right care, by the right team, the first time round.

The company, with its bespoke services, clinical expertise and high staff-resident ratios, has developed a portfolio of 35 community-based care homes where people can access the specialist care they need while remaining close to their loved ones.

“Finding the right nursing care for adults living with complex care and health needs can be difficult,” says Rachel Calladine, business development director at Exemplar Health Care, which has been growing steadily for 20 years. “Not all services have the right facilities and expertise to meet people’s complex needs, particularly those who display behaviours that challenge, which can often lead to placements failing.

“This causes significant distress for individuals and their family members, as well as increasing the cost to the local health and social care system.”

The provider’s holistic approach, which has become a hallmark of its nursing homes’ high-quality care model, ensures that people receive the right care from the start and are empowered to live a fulfilling life.

“It is about a person receiving the right care, in the right environment and from the right team so they can achieve their potential and live their best lives,” says Calladine. “It is disappointing that around 60% of our service users come to us after a failed placement with another provider, which often causes them and their family distress, and their health to deteriorate often necessitating longer term and more expensive care.”

Exemplar Health Care, which aims to add more homes to its portfolio over the next few years, is a leading provider of specialist care that is delivered in nursing homes with a strong community feel.

Demand for complex care services is growing. This is in part due to the increasing number of children born with complex medical conditions, as well as the number of older people developing complex needs later in life and a growing population of people experiencing complex and enduring mental health conditions.

“We care for adults with a wide range of complex mental and physical health conditions. We are seeing an increase in referrals for people with complex dementia and behaviours that challenge - and we expect this group will grow over coming years,” says Calladine. “Our homes have the experience, expertise and high staffing levels to provide quality care that supports them to live an enriched life and to flourish.

“When someone is referred to one of our homes, we carry out a person-centred assessment of need. This assesses 16 different domains of care across a spectrum of clinical, social, physical and psychological needs, working with the service user, their family and other professionals to identify how best their full range of needs can be supported. Getting the right ‘community fit’ for every service user is imperative.

“It is heart-breaking to see people who have failed at one or, sometimes, multiple placements, often because at other homes the staffing levels and specialist clinical support are not quite right to meet their needs.

It is about a person receiving the right care, in the right environment and from the right team so they can achieve their potential and live their best lives

“The cycle of failed placements can lead to people’s condition and presentation of behaviours worsening because of the unsuitable environment they’ve been placed in. Then the home cannot cope and serves notice, which is upsetting and can have a long-term impact on that person.”

Exemplar Health Care nursing homes have a well embedded set of core values that were designed by members of staff and service users. Regular forums are held where service user ambassadors have a strong voice in how their home and the wider company is run.

“The social and community aspect of the care is a strong feature, with our service users being well integrated in the local community. Although our service users have very complex and high acuity needs, the high level of care and nursing staff enables them to maintain their community engagement and continue to use local services and amenities,” says Calladine.

Each Exemplar Health Care home has a life skills and activities team, as well as access to a wide range of clinical experts including behaviour support specialists, physiotherapists, psychiatrists and occupational therapists.

“Care should not be about a revolving door back into more acute settings. We learnt recently of a person who displays behaviours which challenge that escalated to the point of him being admitted to a secure mental health hospital because he did not receive the right care and was not in the appropriate environment to meet his needs,” says Calladine. 

“He’d had a few months of lower cost and less specialist care but ended up in a hospital at a huge cost. Following this path is a false economy and, more importantly, it can cause significant distress and trauma to people.

“We care for some of the most complex and acute individuals, who would often be in a hospital setting if not placed with us. Exemplar Health Care enables people to stay in the community, reducing readmissions to hospital and other secure facilities.”

Exemplar Health Care’s focus on establishing and delivering personalised, holistic care in a friendly, community-based setting has paid dividends with a string of accolades. Some 27 colleagues have been selected as regional finalists in the 2021 Great British Care Awards, while the company has been shortlisted in the Care Employer Award category, for its “commitment to making every day better for the people we support”.

A community you can be proud to work with

Exemplar Health Care has grown organically since it opened its first five care homes in 2001 after identifying a lack of appropriate care homes for young adults living with complex needs.
It now employs more than 3,500 staff across 35 homes and is recruiting as it looks to double in size over the next five years. All staff have comprehensive induction and in-house training with options to further CPD awards. The group has digitised its administration to streamline paperwork demands on staff and liberate them to devote time to caring for residents.

“Teamwork is at the heart of what we do. This is a demanding and emotionally challenging job but it is incredibly rewarding and we have fun in the workplace,” says Rachel Calladine, business development director. “We want our residents and our dedicated staff to be happy.”
The strong learning and development culture is supported by a robust health and wellbeing programme.

The roles at new and existing care homes include home manager, clinical nurse manager, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, unit managers and registered nurses, healthcare assistants, chefs, housekeepers and maintenance staff.

“Our workforce is our biggest asset, which is why we invest in them,” says Calladine.

For more information please visit

Promoted by Exemplar Health Care