It has been six months or so since I last gave you an update on our progress in reshaping our home and thought now would be a good moment to bring you up to date with our progress.
When I took over as Registered Manager at Little Brook House I was never in doubt of the intentions of the staff to provide excellent care. It was evident that they cared deeply for the residents but overall there was a lack of cohesiveness in the management of the home, which wasn’t helped by the high turnover rate of managers in recent years; each with their own management styles and vision.
Linda and I have been working hard over the past few months to bring stability and a clearer strategic vision for Little Brook House. I have engaged with families, residents, multi-agency partners and staff to quietly improve things and to ensure we are meeting our obligations and duty of care. I am proud to say we have achieved this but I also acknowledge that remaining compliant and keeping our services current is an ongoing challenge, as anyone who works with people will know.
We have had some very positive feedback from our residents and their families concerning the changes we have been making and it has been great to get such positive feedback. Some of the highlights have included:
- That there has been significant and noticeable improvements in the standards of housekeeping in the home
- We have worked hard to improve our communications with family and residents and provide regular updates on what we are up to through the website and FaceBook. Families have commented how this has made them feel more involved with the day to day lives of their loved ones.
- We have been making sure we are acting immediately on concerns and issues raised with us and providing timely feedback on outcomes. This has again been commented upon by families.
- Families and residents have both said how much more the Staff seem happier and that there is a really positive atmosphere in the home.
Some of the comments received from the residents have included:
- Loving the more resident led activity sessions
- Enjoying the increased variety and styles of food on offer
- I am happy living at Little Brook and I don’t want to change anything
- Staff are really lovely
We are so appreciative of all the positive feedback.
We are continuing to develop our strategy and I thought it would be good to reflect up on some of the key areas of focus we have and for this update I thought we might look at Activities and their role in the home.
I am sure you are all aware that there are lots of research papers and websites which you can all access via the internet which evidence the positive impact of activities on mental health and people’s sense of well-being overall. Specifically, there has been much in the media about how activities can benefit those suffering from dementia.
This is an area myself and my team are passionate about and an ongoing area of investment and learning for us as we identify who enjoys what and with whom. There is no one size fits all approach. We have tried specialist puzzles, sensory items, pottery and crafts to name just a few. It has proved amazing. We have learned so much about our residents, some of whom find communication difficult but can still paint a glass or pottery item far better than me. We include members of staff on some of these outings, so they see a different side of our residents which enhances their understanding of them as a person. We owe much to our Activities Lead, Carrie-Anne, and Rachel, who as well as being our chef, often assists Carrie-Anne. Their enthusiasm and drive are an inspiration to us all.
Those of you who visit us will be aware that a high proportion of our residents at Little Brook House, have dementia and other co-morbidities. Some also have Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) which means they have been assessed, under the mental capacity act, as not being able to leave Little Brook safely on their own. This doesn’t mean they cannot go on trips we arrange or be accompanied into the community, but it does sometimes prove more of a challenge to manage. They may need to go out with the support of two carers or only on a one to one basis. We could be risk averse and state that we are meeting their needs without helping these residents engage in these activities but would we then not be guilty of taking an option which works for us but is not supporting that individual to enjoy their life to the full? Some of our residents may not even remember later that same day what we have been doing together but the smiles at the time are their own indicator of how much they are getting out of the activity.
At Little Brook House we have a varied and stimulating variety of activities in the home which residents can choose to participate in and we also organise trips out. Sometimes we just take advantage of the weather that day and explore our local community with a walk. Recent trips include Monkey World. The Fernham Hall for the theatre, Watercress Line, Milestones and Lee on the Solent. Look at the lovely pictures on our Facebook page.
We must also thank our families who support us in these activities with additional funding for their relative or loved one as trips out are at an extra cost, as you would expect.
Thank you all for your support and encouragement and we wish you well until the next of these little updates.