CareCare HomesCare StaffNews

Evidence Shows Benefits Of Pain Management And Personal Care Approach, Says Orchard Care Homes Director

A senior director at Orchard Care Homes has highlighted the need to focus on reducing the pain felt by those living with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, as the desire to improve the quality of life by care providers continues.

The issue was brought to prominence recently by Cheryl Baird, Director of Quality and Care at Orchard Care Homes, at the UK Care Week event at Birmingham’s NEC.

Cheryl talked at the event about an independent white paper produced recently, which has credited Orchard’s pioneering Reconnect Communities initiative.

Eight Reconnect Communities operate across the 23 homes run by Orchard Care Homes, with more to come in the future. Reconnect Communities allow for truly personalised approach to care alongside meaningful occupation and non-reliance on pharmacological approaches.

Orchard also operates a Dementia Promise, which is an ongoing commitment by the company to challenge the inequalities often experienced by people living with dementia.

The company has already invested over half a million pounds into training, technology, tools and refurbishments designed to fulfil its promise and become recognised as the benchmark in specialist dementia care.

The white paper, titled Clinical impact of a multifaceted intervention aimed at decreasing distress in people living with dementia: evaluating the Reconnect program, was published by Frontiers, one of the most respected research publishers and open science platforms in the world.

At UK Care Week Cheryl said: “In the past many people were simply labelled as having behavioural problems; that this was ‘just typical’ of the condition. What we found was that behaviour was symptomatic of that person trying to tell us something but being unable to find a way to do it.”

She said technology has worked hand-in-hand with a person-centric approach to dementia care. For instance, Orchard now uses the PainChek pain assessment software tool extensively – which gives colleagues accurate objective information about if a person is experiencing pain.

Talking about Orchard’s inclusion in the Frontiers report, Cheryl said: “Our colleagues and the people within our communities already know how fantastic Reconnect services are, but we are thrilled that this has now been researched, recognised, and published by a respected and trusted body.

“The insights included in this evaluation are a clear demonstration of the impact our approach has made, and the data has improved even further since this was submitted for review, which is additional encouragement that we are innovating in the right way.”

Other recent achievements for Orchard Care Homes include being named winner last year of the LaingBuisson Award for Excellence in Large Residential Care.