At the LaingBuisson Independent Healthcare Awards 2014 in October, Mount Ephraim House in Tunbridge Wells, one of Greensleeves Homes Trust’s 17 care homes, received the prestigious award for Residential Care Provider of the Year 2014. Described as the only independent awards programme in UK acute and long term healthcare, the awards were presented by news reader Huw Edwards at the Lancaster London Hotel.
An independent panel of judges was looking for organisations and individuals who made an outstanding contribution to healthcare during the past year. Mount Ephraim House was recognised for creating a range of activities for residents to increase their engagement and reduce isolation.
Mount Ephraim House is home to 37 residents providing residential and dementia care to older people with varying levels of need. A quarter of the home’s residents are living with dementia. Staff working at the home noticed that even though residents were joining in with activities which were taking place in the home, they did not appear to engage fully with these activities. In order to reconnect the residents, a new therapeutic activity called Sonas was introduced which transformed life within the home.
Sonas is a therapeutic activity for people with dementia and includes cognitive, sensory and social stimulation. The group activities introduced at the care home were meaningful and staff noticed significant improvements in communication and mood of residents as a result of taking part in these activities.
The activities ranged from multi-sensory using music, signing, touch as well as smell and taste and they enabled the residents to feel engaged and stimulated. Thanks to these activities, residents’ moods lifted and created a vibrant atmosphere within the home and much better resident interaction. The activities were so popular and beneficial in lifting residents’ moods, that the residents who did not have dementia were also eager to join in the Sonas sessions.
In order to boost self-esteem and give residents a sense of purpose, they are encouraged to take part in the daily running of the home. Residents regularly help lay the tables, fold laundry, show people around their home and take part in interviews for prospective employees.
Karen Cooper, Manager of Mount Ephraim House, was truly overwhelmed and proud to receive this highly regarded recognition from LaingBuisson: “We are so pleased to receive an award that recognises the hard work that the team puts in to making the home what it is.
“When residents arrive at Mount Ephraim we want it to be the beginning of a new stage in their lives. They are encouraged to continue hobbies they already have and to take part in new activities – we try very hard to provide something for everyone, whatever their ability.”
An independent judging panel commented on how impressed they were with the quality and consistency shown throughout the home.
A relative of a former resident praised staff at Mount Ephraim House:
“My mother-in-law spent the last seven years of her life at Mount Ephraim House… we are still extremely grateful that she was able to spend her last days in such a wonderful, caring and vibrant environment. I have the utmost admiration for the staff who really have created a home from home for the residents that are fortunate enough to live there.
I often felt she was having more fun than we were as there was always something new to do. She was encouraged to continue her hobby of pottery and to try new activities. We never worried about leaving her, even at Christmas when it became too stressful for her to go out, as we knew she was well looked after and having a great time without us. Mount Ephraim House and its staff are truly unique and should be recognised as such.”