Borough Care Lead International Dementia Campaign

Care for people with dementia is being redesigned thanks to a ground-breaking partnership between an international social care consultancy and a pioneering group of non-profit making care homes.

Helen Anderson Associates and Borough Care, which are both based in Stockport, launched their new book ‘Making Individual Service Funds Work for People with Dementia Living in Care Homes’ at a tea party at Bruce Lodge on Turncroft Lane, where research has been conducted over the last three years.

The object is to ensure people with dementia are still able to control their own care, and to bring about a change in culture in those providing professional care to ensure person-centred practice is at the heart of their provision.

Co-author Gill Bailey, who has a lead role at Helen Sanderson Associates in the care of older people, said: “Where people don’t use words or don’t communicate easily then typically it’s about the quality of our listening and finding out what creates ill being and what creates well being. 

“What are the things that make a person’s face light up; what do they enjoy proactively. It’s about working with family members to ensure we capture the rich contribution they have to make, and then from there we can make our very best guesses about what they truly enjoy and how each individual might best want to spend their time… “That could be something as simple as a long soak in the bath with electric candles, or it could be going to the local pub for a pint, or to the local football match or even helping with the chores around the home. It can be as small or as big for the person concerned.”

The object has been to allow everyone of the 43 residents in Bruce Lodge to have their own special one to one time with an individual carer during the week, when they spend a morning of afternoon, doing the things that make them happiest. However, it has had to be achieved without driving up costs for wages or indeed the different activities, but by finding existing funds to improve the care and most importantly the outcomes for each resident.

Bruce Lodge Care Home Manager Lisa Martin, who has helped embed the new proactive culture said: “When they came to me and said they would like to implement this new person centred approach where we first have to identify personal wish lists and then find the time to allow every resident to do something they truly enjoy, I have to admit I shrugged my shoulders and thought this job is difficult enough as it is, but I have to say my staff have truly embraced the idea.” 

Gill Bailey added: “We realised that innovation can be something that is strangled in the crib by cultures which have shared expectations and shared habits and that this would require a paradigm shift in thinking and approach. However, when carers saw it begin to work, saw the delight on the residents’ faces, then they really began to buy into the process and those expectations and habits began to change.”

The new approach has been endorsed by the Chair of the Alzheimer’s Society Jeremy Hughes and Helen Sanderson Associates has now produced a self assessment tool for care home managers nationwide to judge how well or how badly they are catering for each individual’s different needs and are expecting Government to back up the need for change in their amends to the Care Act to be made public in April 2015.

Borough Care Chief Executive Kathryn Farmer said: “It has required fundamental change across our organisation, not only to develop the person centred approach in all our carers, but in providing the time and resources to allow this to happen within budget. However, we believe both staff and, most importantly residents, are much happier and living more fulfilled lives for that sea change.” 

The first picture shows Borough Care Chief Executive Kathryn Farmer, with Gill Bailey, Helen Sanderson and Lisa Martin, with 90-year-old Marie Wolf, who since the new person centred approach has been able once again to celebrate her Roman Catholic faith, going to services every Sunday, with her carer at St. Mary’s in Stockport. With the second picture showing the local Mayor with Margaret aged 90 who likes to go either for a little tipple or a coffee in the afternoon and chooses between a coffee shop or a local bar each week with her carer.

The new approach has been praised by The Mayor of Stockport Councillor Kevin Hogg, who said: “Stockport is once again right at the forefront of an international drive for change. It’s an inspirational initiative that is set to be copied not only in the rest of the U.K. but worldwide.”