Lucy Craig
Tom Keighley

Member Article

Dementia care home specialist plots ambitious growth across North East

The second generation of a North East family care home business says she plans to build four more homes across the region to provide specialist dementia care.

Lucy Craig, director of Craig Healthcare told Bdaily she intends to develop four more purpose built homes in the region which cater specifically towards people living with dementia - an area of unmet demand in the market.

Craig Healthcare employs 99 staff across two homes in the region: Tynemouth’s Kingsbury House and the newly opened, £3 million Cramlington House.

Lucy, who spent time in the South before returning to the North East, identified a lack of high quality care home facilities for people with dementia.

She said: “I got incredibly frustrated with the lack of good dementia care in care homes. Normally it’s something that is bolted-on to a home.

“Our Cramlington home was designed around the person suffering from dementia - not shoe-horned in afterwards. It’s rare in the private sector for operators to do this.

“There’s a lot of panic around dementia headlines - largely fed by misunderstanding of the condition.”

Craig’s homes cater for residents who are funded by the local authority, as well as private patients.

Lucy, who trained in dementia care at the University of Sterling, says the lack of carers qualified in the sector has required Craig Healthcare to train all of its staff extensively.

She added: “There was a period a few years ago when care home operators were shipping in people from far and wide - and the profession was very much a minimum wage one.

“We’ve pushed those boundaries and it’s not like that now. We’re lucky our staff have been so thoroughly trained, we’ve managed to hang on to it a lot of great people.”

Now Lucy intends to replicate her successful model across the proposed homes which she hopes to develop over the next eight years.

She explained: “We’ve got a management team of 11 - which is quite hefty in this industry. Their purpose is to take administration work off the floor so carers can get on with caring.

“We do everything we can to make sure carers aren’t cleaning and so on. You have to do this with dementia as it’s so demanding.”

Durham and North Yorkshire are at the top of Lucy’s list for potential locations, which she plans to establish over the next eight years.

“One every two years is a comfortable rate of growth for us. If we were a bigger operator we would be starting a build every 6 months - but I’ve got no ambition to do that. We’ve established a really strong format for dementia care here, and I don’t want to dilute that by growing too quickly,” Lucy added.

“Getting sidetracked with the financial games is not the right way forward. It must be dictated by quality care and the right level of expertise.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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