This is the clients’ home and both they and relatives are encouraged to be involved in their plan of care. We strive to ensure that independence is promoted at all times; hence enablement of clients is foremost in our package of care in order to maintain and improve that independence.
Clients with mental health and dementia care needs excel in our home and staff have exhaustive training to ensure they are equipped to care for their physical, psychological, emotional and social needs.
To give you an idea of the kinds of needs we care for, here are three examples of clients. In order to protect their privacy we have changed their names and used pictures of other residents.
Allan suffers from Alzheimer’s
Allan has been with us for 2 years. He’s 65 years old and physically fit. Allan loves to walk and be outside every day. He has lived with his wife at home for the last 45 years but in the last few years she has found it difficult to manage Allan’s needs as the disease has progressed.
His condition means that his communication has deteriorated and he finds it difficult to find the correct words to express himself. This causes him to become frustrated and angry at times causing him to lash out verbally and physically.
To ensure the safety of Allan and his peers we gave him 2:1 care during waking hours. This enabled Allan to go outside assisted by staff for long walks to get rid of his anger and frustrations. By doing this we were able to reduce his level of medication he had been on at home to manage those behaviours and he became more interactive with the staff.
Because of our culture, instead of extra medication, we gave Allan extra supported wellbeing activities and channelled his frustrations into external activities. Allan was able to continue to lead a normal life in a care home and develop relationships with staff.
Linda suffers from Dementia
Linda is 56 and has vascular dementia. She has been a part of our family for 18 months. Before coming into our home she had been found wandering the streets on many occasions by her family and the police. Linda was cold, scared, confused and in her nightdress and many miles from home. She couldn’t answer questions about who she was or where she lived.
Although Linda is relatively young, her dementia has been accelerated and she has self harms by biting herself, pulling her hair out of her scalp and struggles to be around others.
We have helped Linda to overcome some of her self-harming behaviour by using therapeutic touch on a daily basis. Linda can’t interpret simple language and oral communication is impossible. By touching Linda’s skin (say on her face) with different materials we have been able to form a relationship.
Linda is now more settled and has started to recognise voices which calm her even more.
With this approach we have been able to reduce her sedatives and work with her family to help them develop their skills so that they are able to communicate with their mother.
Doris has a Mental Health Disorder
Doris has schizophrenia. She is 72 and has been with us for 5 years. She came in as an emergency admission; she couldn’t walk, she hadn’t been washing or dressing properly, neither had she been eating correctly and had lost a lot of weight.
Doris had become withdrawn and as she had no family, very isolated in her community. Her social worker managed to get Doris to the home for a period of respite and assessment.
We washed her and gave her good food to eat. We asked her what she liked to eat and drink and got them in especially, including fish and chips out of the newspaper and lots of vinegar.
Doris gradually regained her strength and started to put on weight. We would sit and talk to her and through that found out that she really enjoyed singing and dancing. Our wellbeing team and care staff would strike up sing-songs and get her involved. Doris sings all of the time and she particularly loves the old war-time songs.
Within a couple of weeks of joining us, Doris was back on her feet and dancing to music, thoroughly enjoying herself.
Her social worker contacted me after two weeks to see how she was getting on. When I said Doris was singing and dancing with the staff, she didn’t believe me. She came out to review her needs and Doris told her she really enjoyed it and asked her if she could live with us.