A leading dementia care provider is looking to redefine its dementia strategy and care framework, increasing its focus on the individual and building on its philosophy that residents and service users should make individual decisions about their care and how they live.
Avante Care and Support, which has care homes in Kent and south east London, leads the way in many areas of care for those with dementia, particularly medication and diet, and this new initiative aims to give even more focus to its dementia framework and care strategy.
The work will be led by Steve Mason, Admiral Nurse at Avante Care & Support, and revisit existing strategies to ensure that every care package can be specifically tailored to the resident or service user and that each individual is fully involved in decisions about their care, medication and domestic arrangements.
Admiral Nurses are qualified senior mental health nurses specialising in the care of those who have a dementia and their carers. Avante Care and Support, a registered charity, was one of the first in the not-for-profit care sector to employ an Admiral Nurse and Steve Mason’s primary role is to provide clinical support to residents living in our homes and their families, and advise and support staff to enable the highest levels of care to be provided.
Often dementia can present in complex behaviours where it can be difficult for care staff to firstly understand and then meet individual resident’s needs. In these instances, the Admiral Nurse can assess individual resident’s behaviours with a view to understanding why these particular behaviours are occurring and then, working with the care home staff and other professionals, formulate a plan of care that best meets that individual’s needs.
The Admiral Nurse will also work with families on an individual or group basis to help them through what can be a particularly difficult time when they reach the transition and a decision has been made to place a loved on into residential care. Such decisions often bring about feelings of guilt and what families sometimes describe as a living bereavement. As well as supporting families through these transitions, the Admiral Nurse will provide ongoing support to families throughout their journey with their loved one.
As Admiral Nurse, Steve Mason also acts as a consultant to the organisation working with senior staff in developing improvement strategies, providing staff training and advising on all aspects of dementia care to ensure that the care provided is based upon relevant up-to-date research and meets the changing needs of residents, service users their families and the dedicated staff at Avante Care and Support.
Steve Mason said “Each individual resident has a different story and life history and it is these that we need to bear in mind when working with them and their families to ensure that the care that we provide is personalised and focussed on their individuals needs, abilities and aspirations and provide care that truly enhances their quality of life.
“We take the individual approach very serously at Avante Care and Support, and the work that I am doing will build on that, identify new ways of working and new strategies to improve residents’ lives during their time at one of our homes.”
Working closely with Admiral Nurse Steve Mason on the project is Anne Child, Director of Pharmacy and Dementia Care at Avante Care and Support. Anne’s focus is on redefining those part of the dementia strategy that ensure medications are managed correctly by residents and trained staff within the care home setting and that residents take part in the decision-making of their own medication.
Anne Child said: “Often, residents and service users will be taking a variety of medications, some relating to their dementia and others for separate reasons. Having a global approach to an individual’s medication helps manage unwanted side-effects and can dramatically improve their quality of life.
“Disease can’t take centre stage to our residents and service users, there is a life to be had whether at home or in a residential setting. Individuals should be able to make their own choices and set their own personal goals. They deserve that and as an organisation we want to take every opportunity of care to help them and their families achieve those aspirations.”