Inspectors of Plymouth Council’s Quality Mark Assurance (QA) team told our Bethany Home that its Dementia Improvement Plan Review not only ‘passed with flying colours,’ but they’d like to use it as an example for others in the region.   Manager Emma Hughes said that much of the credit for the success of the home’s dementia care  is due to Care Team Leader, Jackie Lamey, who has a huge heart for people with dementia and an instinctive understanding of their needs. She is a real motivator and inspiration for the whole team.’  Jackie is pictured here with a happy resident.

Staff receive continual training which includes dementia care.  It includes training in ‘emotional intelligence’, which helps staff recognise emotions that people with dementia are trying to express, and also those in other team members, so they can support each other.

The home only registered for dementia care in 2015.  ‘It was partly because some residents developed dementia and we wanted to continue to care for them,’ said Emma.  ‘And at the same time, we  didn’t want to turn away new applicants who had dementia: we wanted them to be able to live here.’

In the Dementia Portfolio Emma noted:  ‘Not only have staff grown in their understanding of the challenges with dementia care but some are now actively choosing to care for and even be the key workers for these residents. Something of an affectionate, professional respect for residents who exhibit challenges is growing amongst the care staff, who are better able to enter the resident’s world and see life from their perspective.  An example of this is when a resident asked for cutlery for a visitor whom she believed was in the room with her. The carer provided the cutlery as asked.

‘On a practical note, new toilet and wet room facilities on the ground floor have proven to be beneficial with all residents including those who have dementia. Using contrasting decor has worked well for those who have sight problems and both rooms are very accessible to those who have mobility difficulties .  Residents who use these rooms do not appear as confused or as muddled as was sometimes the case before.’

There is also a sensory patio garden and a herb garden, with attractive seating, that’s proving increasingly with residents.

Sensory plants near the patio popular with residents.

Louise Morse

Louise Morse MA (CBT) is media and external relations manager for the Pilgrims’ Friend Society. She is a writer and speaker, and author of books on issues of old age, including dementia, published by Lion Monarch and SPCK. She is a cognitive behavioural therapist, and her Masters’ dissertation examined the effects of caring for a loved one with dementia on close relatives.

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