Culture Change in Nursing Home Care recognised A West Cork nursing home, Fairfield (Drimoleague) has been awarded Level 1 Dementia Care Matters accreditation, one of just two nursing homes in Ireland to adopt the globally-recognised culture change programme in Dementia care. Entitled ‘ The Butterfly Project’ the programme’s ethos lies in recognising the whole person, joining up the personal and professional in a way that brings out the best in people, and where feelings matter most. ‘By developing Dementia patients’ emotional intelligence and practical skills, they become more confident, more responsive, more at home in their environment and the result is a total culture change which transforms lives. We are pleased with a Level 1 accreditation’ said Sean Collins, owner of the 49-bed nursing home in Drimoleague, West Cork. ‘Only a handful of nursing homes in Ireland and the UK managed to achieve such a standard in dementia care. This award is a great recognition of all the staff at the nursing home who have worked so hard and given of themselves emotionally to improve the daily lives of our residents’. Speaking at the announcement of the accreditation, Minister of State at the Department of Health with special responsibility for Disability, Mental Health & Older People, Kathleen Lynch TD said: ‘By understanding and valuing what makes people feel alive – by making them feel like they matter and have a purpose, is indeed a culture change for a busy nursing home and one that can be emulated across the country. Prioritising Dementia patients’ emotional care where feeling matter most means they engage more with their carers and their surroundings, and this contributes to wellness and a positive outlook in their own world. This is a better way undoubtedly. I congratulate Sean Collins and his team for recognising that there is a better way and for investing both emotionally and financially in this programme for the betterment of the care of the elderly or those with Dementia’. The 12-month training programme undertaken by the home necessitated a radical culture change. ‘We drilled down into our modus operandi – breaking down the ‘them and us’ divide, with incredible results. With inspired leadership from nurses and house leaders at Fairfield, we now have a culture which enables people to come alive, to participate, and where ‘controlling care’ is not in evidence but is replaced with ‘family home-like’ atmosphere. It’s more about ‘being with’ residents, and less ‘doing for’ them. Uniforms are dispensed with and there are no medicine trolleys that denote institutionalisation. However, there is one-to-one conversation, stimulating coloured installations pervade the home, there is obvious inter action between the residents and, most importantly, routine is not set in stone. It’s the genuine article’ said Clare McCarthy, Director of Nursing at the home. Key deliverables under the Dementia Care Programme at Fairfield are as follows; • The home should look more like a home – not a hospital. • ‘Matched’ households with like-minded people are created to foster genuine love and friendship with common interests. • Staff, including the leaders, constantly engage/acknowledge residents in the course of carrying out their duties • People’s identity and stories are valued and listened to, conversations and friendships are encouraged. • ‘Controlling’ care is not tolerated – residents are not left without interaction/stimulation for long periods. The must receive emotional and practical care. • Staff dress in normal ‘family’ attire. • Lounges and public areas are designed to encourage interaction amongst residents – no large spaces with people sitting on the periphery. • Visual murals and rummage boxes with reminders of former lives lived are there in abundance. • Rooms are just like home – with photographs, furnishings, and the comforts of home. • Residents are encouraged and facilitated to bake, garden, sing songs, and laugh a lot. ‘The group living approach makes sense to the people living and working here, providing a specialist approach for people which is appropriate to their experience of dementia and their personality and life experiences. There is laughter, fun and a genuine sense of family here. We are very proud to be part of this amazing culture change and feel a responsibility to champion the change and make a difference to the care of older people’ Sean Collins concluded.
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