Clair Blanchard with one of the individuals she supports at Home From Home Care

Specialist care provider bridges the gap between care and healthcare

One of the country’s top-performing care providers for adults with learning disabilities has appointed its first nursing associate.

Home From Home Care - which operates 11 care homes across Greater Lincolnshire for adults with learning disabilities - supported Clair Blanchard to gain her nursing qualification, making her the company’s first ever nursing associate. 

Clair, who has worked at Home From Home Care for eight years and progressed from a Personal Support Worker to Assistant Clinical Manager, has gained the qualification after completing a two-year foundation degree course.

She will now be responsible for bridging the gap between support workers and registered nurses, as well as tackling the healthcare divide between individuals with learning disabilities and the rest of the population.

The median age at death for people with a learning disability is more than 20 years younger than for the general population, according to the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR). LeDeR also reports that in 2021, 49% of learning disability deaths were from an avoidable cause which could have been prevented by good quality healthcare.

What’s more, a recent report from Nuffield Trust showed that people with a learning disability are more likely to be overweight, less likely to take part in cancer checks and need better support for mental health problems. 

Using her clinical insights gained from her studies and placements across a range of settings, including GP surgeries, hospital wards and the community, Clair will be working to tackle these troubling health inequalities. 

She said: “For individuals with a learning disability, being treated by someone in a uniform or having to go for a procedure in hospital can be very distressing. My job is to make this easier for them - examining individuals and taking observations to determine if they need to be seen by a doctor, improving communication with local GP surgeries, and working with the individuals to desensitise them before procedures.

“It was the team at Home From Home Care’s idea for me to do this course and they were very supportive of me throughout the process. I worked at Home From Home Care three days a week, then spent one day a week at The University of Lincoln and one day a week on placement. My colleagues came to my university meetings with me, and we had other people from the course do their placements with us too.

“By supporting my peers on their placements, Home From Home Care helped people to learn more about learning disabilities and health outcomes, as there isn’t a lot of training available in this field.

“Since I qualified in February, there is now greater clinical knowledge amongst the team. Colleagues can call me at any time for advice on how to perform clinical tasks and I’m able to share my insights to give them greater understanding.”

As a result of having its own nursing associate, the specialist care provider has already seen positive outcomes for the individuals it supports. Clair’s work has aided earlier detection of health issues, and this has meant that individuals have received the early healthcare they need, preventing conditions from escalating.

Hazel Ashmore, Senior Clinical Manager at Home From Home Care, said: “It’s fantastic to see Clair achieve her nursing associate qualification. After joining us eight years ago, she has greatly progressed in her role and it’s been amazing to watch her personal growth.  

“Many of the individuals we support have complex health conditions, so it’s vital that our colleagues have a good level of clinical knowledge - whether it’s taking a blood pressure reading, oxygen levels or administering medication.

“Having our own nursing associate means we can educate and support our colleagues on how to do these tasks, improving our quality of care and ensuring the best outcomes. We pride ourselves on providing exceptional care to each individual, treating everyone with respect and dignity, and Clair’s innovative approach will only strengthen our ability to do this.”

For more information about Home From Home Care, please visit