Fiona King, Manager at Auchtermairnie Care Home in Leven shares an insight into the work her team have been doing to support their clients in a compassionate way. Thanks to Wendy Johnston from the SSSC for putting us in touch with Fiona.
Our care home is set in a semi -rural location so maintaining connections with the local communities can be a challenge.
We have devised our own promoting excellence in dementia care strategy where we recognise and enable all our residents whether they are living with dementia or not, to stay connected with their communities.
We strive to meet “I HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE INCLUDED IN MY COMMUNITY” by various means in order that our residents can remain connected and be active participants in local community events, local church groups and community groups.
Over the last year we have tried to develop better links with our local community – local church group / primary school and community shed. This has been quite difficult to achieve as we have no footpath from the near by village to the care home.
However, our residents are now being invited to attend local school shows and concerts.
Several of our residents are retired school teachers and our residents now receive pen pal type letters from the local school children.
Residents can attend in – house monthly church service. Also, we assist our residents to continue to attend church services – staff escort when necessary – this provides our residents with opportunities for friendship as well as meeting their spiritual needs. Residents who are no longer able to attend church services are visited by church elders.
Following discussion between ourselves and volunteers from our local community shed we have had several sensory aprons and lap tray activity boards made for our residents living with dementia – which gives our residents pleasure and purpose.
Also, our residents are assisted to access technology in order to keep in contact with family and friends – by use of Skype / family portal on our computerised patient soft wear programme.
We find about what matters to the individual by use of life story books / talking to the resident and their families. Also, by the completion of hopes and dreams document each January – findings are then used to develop our activities programme and individual personal outcomes.
A resident who loved horses was assisted to go to a local stable and spend time with horses and her daughter – great to see this resident so happy and animated.
Care home manager is a dementia ambassador and I am invited to attend locality planning meetings – ensure that the interests our residents are promoted within the wider community.
I am always surprised when relatives state that they did not think that the individual living with dementia can still attend clubs when they move into a care home.