John’s Campaign

John’s Campaign

Peninsula Care Homes is pleased to support John’s Campaign, which supports the rights of people living with dementia to be supported by their family carers. Named after Dr John Gerrard, who died in November 2014 after a catastrophic stay in hospital.  Following his death his daughter wanted to improve life for those living with dementia who need to stay in hospital.

The campaign was launched with a single, simple principle: We should not enforce disconnection between carers and those who need care. When someone with dementia is hospitalized, the medical staff should do all within their power to make access easy for family carers and utilise their expert knowledge and their love.

Throughout the country over 400 wards and hospitals have made pledges to improve the care to those living with dementia, being more open, welcoming and supportive of carers.  More recently the campaign has been adopted by residential and nursing homes across the company.

By joining the campaign we are reiterating our commitment to provide the best possible care to those living in our homes and support to their carers. Carers/families are more than “visitors” to a person with dementia; they are an integral part of that person’s life and identity and often their best means of connection with the world.

At Peninsula we do not have visiting hours and welcome visitors at any time.  Families and friends are encouraged to be part of the life of the home.  Many help with the gardening, arts and crafts, attending parties, and joining us with outings. Families join our meetings and contribute to sharing ideas, experiences and improvement plans within the homes.

It is well documented that knowing an individual’s life history enables Homes to care for them in the best possible way.  We rely on families to offer insights and help us learn about a resident’s preferences, hobbies, past life stories.  Whilst attending Eden Alternative training recently we were asked to share a small pleasure….for many it was the first mug of coffee, served in their favourite mug and made with just the perfect amount of sugar and milk.  It is these small pleasures that family can share and make such a difference to us delivering quality care personalised to the individual.

We look forward to seeing John’s Campaign continue to grow momentum and help make a positive difference to those living with dementia in our care and when they have to visit hospital.

http://johnscampaign.org.uk/#/

World Down Syndrome Day 2017

World Down Syndrome Day 2017

If you visit bramble Down on March 21st don’t be surprised if you see everyone wearing odd socks, short socks, long socks, t-shirts with socks on.  This is all part of campaign to raise awareness of Down Syndrome during its 12th anniversary of Word Down Syndrome Day.

The day hopes to improve awareness of Down Syndrome and enable people with Down Syndrome to speak up, to be heard and influence government policy and action and to be fully included in the community.

For our Bramble Down Manager Sue, the campaign is very close to her heart as her grandson Luca has Down Syndrome. Luca’s mum says “When we first heard Luca’s diagnosis we were sent into a whirlwind of questions and emotions.  With such little knowledge and understanding of Down Syndrome it was difficult to comprehend what the future might hold for him and for us as a family. If I knew then what I know now there is no way I’d have been so petrified of what lay head.  We believe in the work that the Down Syndrome Association (DSA) do.  With such a huge variety of information and resources from new parents through to adulthood, the DSA is always my first port of call with any questions I might have or help we might need.”

Sue says that like all her grandchildren “every milestone he has achieved has been celebrated just as any other child, it has just taken him a little longer but he achieved them and that’s what matters. As a family, Luca has enriched our lives and we have supported the Downs Syndrome Association. Some of our fund raising efforts have included a sponsored sky dive, organising a Father Christmas grotto as well as a Christmas Faye to name a few.”

Every year on 21st March we all wear our odd socks and encourage our work places to raise money for the World Down Syndrome Day. It is time to do this again so we will all be in our bright fun coloured odd socks.

#wdsd17 #MyVoiceMyCommunity

National Pie Week

National Pie Week

It’s National Pie week this week in Britain and we’ve been discussing pies in our homes.  One interesting debate was what makes a pie a pie?  For some it has to have pastry somewhere in the dish whether it be the base, the topping or all over.  For others it’s something cooked in a “pie dish” so could be cottage pie, shepherd’s pie.

There was a petition in recent years to define a pie as “a baked dish of fruit, or meat and vegetables, typically with a top and base of pastry” anything without a pastry base should not be classed as a pie. One resident said it was only a pie if it had some booze in the sauce naming steak and ale pie as the winner.

With all the talk of savoury pies it’s important not to forget sweet pies like traditional apple pie or mince pies at Christmas.  Both are favourites with many of our residents.

According to research 75% of people enjoy a pie at least once a month.  Whatever your view we hope you enjoy National Pie Week…. The Homes menu’s include Steak & Kidney Pie, Cottage Pie and Chicken & Mushroom pie along with fruit pies for dessert.

National Hot Breakfast Month

National Hot Breakfast Month

February is National Hot Breakfast Month.  Within our homes porridge is a popular choice as is some or all elements of a full English Breakfast.  Breakfast is often reported to be the most important meal of the day with sayings “eat like a King at breakfast” often quoted.  It breaks the fast of the night and is important part of achieving good nutrition and hydration. Many of us grab something on the go, or quickly eat a bowl of cereal or round of toast before dashing off.  On these recent cold mornings something hot may break the cycle of coldness.

So what is your favourite hot breakfast?  In Japan the traditional breakfast would include rice, seafood and fermented foods.  In India different areas have their own traditions and specialities which may include stuffed breads and spicy vegetables.  In America the stack of pancakes, bacon and maple syrup is popular.    Other options you could consider eggs benedict, scrambled eggs on toast, and boiled eggs with soldiers, frittata, pancakes or waffles.

To accompany your hot breakfast what is your drink of choice: cold juice, nice cup of tea or a coffee?

We thank Robin at Cornerways for sharing a picture of a cooked breakfast he prepared for one the residents breakfast. It certainly looks like a feast fit for a King and an excellent way to start the day.

 

Guest Blog: Charlotte Willis shares her passion for #NationalDonorDay

Guest Blog: Charlotte Willis shares her passion for #NationalDonorDay

I’d like to introduce myself: my name is Charlotte. I’m 39 years old and I live in London. I’ve also lived in other cities too: Hong Kong, Amsterdam, Sydney, but my home, and my family and friends, are in the UK. I enjoy my job working in technology in Finance, and have worked hard to build a successful career after I finished university. Outside of work, I like to go to the theatre, see live music, watch movies (especially outdoor ones on summer evenings), and go for walks in the countryside at the weekend.

I enjoy doing ‘adventure’ sports too: skiing, surfing, and I used to trampoline competitively (at amateur level) until a few years ago. Last year I also sailed a quarter of the way around the world, crewing a 70ft ocean racing yacht as part of a global yacht race. I’ve run the London Marathon and completed the London Triathlon. I like to travel too, explore new countries and cultures, and count countries as I go – I’m up to 52!

I am a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) Ambassador and spent some time last year volunteering at a ‘code club’ teaching kids how to code computers. I try and find time to volunteer through my work too to encourage the next generation, especially girls, to consider technology as a career, and to recognise that not all technology jobs have to be ‘geeky’!

I’m very close to my parents and siblings and am enjoying seeing my 1-year old twin neices get more and more mischievous as they get older!

Oh and I’ve also had two kidney transplants. My kidneys failed unexpectedly and out of the blue when I was 12 years old and mine and my family’s lives were turned upside down overnight. A month later, a family unbeknownst to me lost their son in a car accident and they made the incredibly brave decision to donate his organs for transplant – I was the lucky recipient of one of his kidneys. Their selfless act meant that rather than being resigned to a continual whirlwind of hospitals, what-if conversations, medications, and operations, my life and importantly the lives of my parents and my siblings and all those close to us straightened out and returned to normal. A slightly new version of normal – I still take a small collection of pills twice a day – but I went home, I went back to school, my parents started to breathe a little more easily, and I got to live. And that’s an abiding part of the way I choose to live my life to this day; someone else made a decision that allowed me to carry on living when their son couldn’t and I am grateful for that every single day. Their son’s kidney graduated university with me, travelled the Trans-Siberian railway with me, ran the London Marathon with me. Through the anonymity of organ donation (the choice is up to the donor’s family) they have been such a huge part of my life and yet I have no idea who they are. I can’t change their story but they’ve changed mine and I take that responsibility seriously.

Transplanted organs don’t live forever yet (medical science is still working on that one) and in my late 20s, my donated kidney got too tired to keep me going at the level needed. Unlike the overnight bombshell the first time around though, this time we had time to plan and make choices, and in collaboration with the doctors, it was decided that my Dad would donate a kidney to me. He was 65 years old at the time but after passing all the medical tests, he had one kidney removed via keyhole surgery and it was transplanted into me, right next to my first donated kidney. It’s not uncommon for first transplants to be left where they are and mine still chugs away, doing what kidneys do, supporting my Dad’s kidney. So whilst it may have needed some extra help, it remains an important part of me. My Dad’s age and therefore the age of my second donated kidney isn’t an issue either – his kidney completed the London Triathlon with me, climbed the highest mountain in Borneo with me, and sailed 10,000 nautical miles with me across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

Ten years down the line, both my Dad and I are fit and healthy, and life for us and our family has again carried on as it should. I turn 40 next year and I’m already planning how to mark the occasion! I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my two kidneys donated by selfless, brave, and very special people. That car accident in 1990 that took one family’s son gave me, and everyone close to me, an opportunity to carry on living. Organ donation is a personal issue and one you will most likely have a view on, but I hope that my story also gives you a view of how ordinary people are leading ordinary lives, only made possible by extraordinary decisions. Make the extraordinary decisions in your life as they might save someone else’s.

Guest Blog: Founder of EDAA, Gina Awad, shares the importance of Reflexology in care homes.

Guest Blog: Founder of EDAA, Gina Awad, shares the importance of Reflexology in care homes.

When asked the question “What do you do ?” I often hesitate as I wear many hats, but today I’d like to share the part of my life that embraces reflexology and the power of gentle touch for those living with dementia.

“Reflexology is a holistic complementary therapy based on the principle that there are areas and points on the feet and hands that map via the nervous system to corresponding parts of the body. When pressure is applied to these areas and points it stimulates the movement of energy along the nerve channels, and helps to restore homeostasis (balance) in the whole body (Association of Reflexologists)”.

I offer treatments in Care Homes which, I feel privileged to attend, and it enables me to connect with people on a one to one basis in their space. What is really special is being able to ‘be with’ the person where they are in those moments. They may sit in silence and enjoy relaxing, they may reminisce about times gone by or there may be moments of intense felt emotion, which can offer catharsis.

I regularly meet families who feel a sense of guilt having promised their loved ones they would spend their twilight years living in their own home. Sadly for reasons beyond their control this is often not the case.

A recent experience taught me the value of a quality connection. I was invited to visit a resident named Ted who has been living with Vascular dementia since 2013. I had never met Ted before and he had agreed to a reflexology treatment. I was primed and aware this could feel unexpected on the day as his memory was fading. When I arrived he was having his lunch and suggested I join him with a coffee. I sat down and as he enjoyed the remainder of his lunch he chatted away to me as if we had known each other for years. Other than a few details I knew very little about Ted’s life and yet he appeared totally at one in my presence.

Within in half an hour, having achieved a real sense of connection we strolled to his room. He settled into his comfy chair and I was able to soak his feet, gently massaging them using reflexology techniques. This exchange was not about the depth of the treatment but the essence of our connection.

What took priority was the desire for this wonderful man to sit comfortably in his chair. As he began to share stories of his younger days, his eyes sparkled with sheer contentment, which illuminated his room. There were confusing times for Ted accompanied by moments of pure clarity. What he longed for was for me to listen with intent allowing him to express exactly what he treasured.

Amidst his reflections his eyes closed gently and tears began to slowly roll down his cheeks accompanied by a soft, sweet smile. I felt humbled, beyond belief, to witness those moments where a human being appeared to experience such a profound sense of inner peace. As he opened his eyes he quietly looked up at me with his soft smile and said “thank you, thank you so much for listening to me and being so kind, I love going back”.

As a result of my first visit I have since been invited twice more, each time an absolute delight. I look forward to more visits over the coming months.

I cannot emphasise enough how essential it is to be adaptable when ‘being with’ people living with dementia and meet them where they are, this example is not to be underestimated.

Considering Reflexology for people with dementia..

There are a number of stages of dementia and some clients may be uncommunicative whilst others will be articulate, lively, receptive and conscious that their cognitive faculties are beginning to decline. Dementia can take many forms but all have the potential to respond pleasingly to therapeutic touch.

The following areas and systems will be considered when providing reflexology.

Working the big toes/fingers to stimulate head/brain;
Working the digestive system;
Working the respiratory system;
Techniques and reflex points to reduce anxiety.

I trained as a Counsellor 15 years ago but have always felt empathy and listening inherent to me, both the spoken and unspoken word. Coupled with my reflexology skills and passion for dementia I feel I have much to offer as a therapist.

gina-awad-reflexology

To contact me if you’d be interested in a visit to your family member in the Exeter area email me at: ginasfreespirit@yahoo.co.uk

Gina Awad founded and leads the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance and is aspiring to raise
awareness across Exeter valuing the need for a Dementia Friendly Community that understands and respects people living with dementia and their families. She has recently been honoured at the Alzheimer’s Society National Dementia Friendly Awards with the accolade of Dementia Champion of the Year 2016
http://www.theexeterdaily.co.uk/news/business-daily-local-news/exeters-gina-awad-recognisednational-dementia-friendly-awards-2016

Guest Blog: Applying Danish Hygge to British Social Care

Guest Blog: Applying Danish Hygge to British Social Care

This week’s blog comes from Jane Brightman (Kellas), Project Manager SLQA at Skills for Care.

Over the festive period I indulged in watching a few episodes of Paul Hollywood’s City Bakes (and a few too many chocolates, but that is a matter for a different post). In one episode he was in Denmark and talked a lot about ‘hygge’. I have heard this word before so it peaked my interest to look further into what it means…and maybe learn how to pronounce it properly.

It is said that the Dane’s created hygge because they were trying to survive boredom, cold and the dark. However, apparently hygge didn’t originate in the Danish language but in Norwegian, where it meant something like ‘well-being’. It first appeared in Danish writing around the end of the 18th Century and the Danes have embraced it ever since. One good thing about hygge is that you can apply it anywhere and Danes allocate it generously to everything commonplace.

It has become a bit of a craze over here now with the word joining ‘Brexit’ and ‘Trumpism’ as some of Collins English Dictionary words of the year 2016. With at least nine books about hygge published last year, it seems we Brits are embracing it whole-heartedly.

So, what actually is hygge and how on earth do we pronounce it? ‘Hue-gah’ or ‘hoo-gah’ are the suggested phonetic pronunciations. I have been practicing but am definitely not doing it justice. The word essentially describes a feeling or mood that comes from taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, everyday moments more meaningful, beautiful or special. Whether it’s brewing tea in china cups, having a cosy evening in with friends, the simple act of lighting a candle with every meal or putting fresh flowers on your table. Hygge is being aware of a good moment whether it’s simple or special. The Danes use hygge to help them see both the domestic and personal life as an art form and not every drudgery to get away from. They say it is about being present enough to recognise and acknowledge an act, moment or feeling when the ordinary feels extraordinary.

While there’s no one English word to describe hygge, several can be used to describe the idea of hygge such as cosiness, charm, happiness, contentedness, comfort, reassurance, kinship, and simplicity.

So now to the subject of my article, how can we apply this to our social care delivery? I think you can see where I am going with this. As the deliverers of care we need to support the people we care for to express and find their own hygge, but how?

In researching I have discovered that a lot of people express the things that bring them this feeling through boards on Pinterest (if you are a Pinner go and have a look). Actually people are doing it without realising that it is hygge. They are expressing the things that make them happy, contented, comfortable – that give them a sense of well-being. My own sparse Pinterest account is mostly chocolate, coffee, dogs and garden based; my hygge. If I needed care tomorrow and couldn’t easily express my hygge, someone could easily see it from my Pinterest boards. I’m not suggesting that we set up Pinterest boards for everyone we support…or am I? Well actually, why not? If it is too technical why not create a physical board using cut out images and photos. Family members and friends could help too.

When I spend time with care leaders I all too often hear about frustrations of staff not reading or understanding care plans. Nine times out of ten that is because they are difficult to read and understand but again, the subject for a different post. I think that care staff would instantly get an understanding of a person from their Pinterest boards (or hygge board). Care information can be complex and confusing. The use of visuals can help break through barriers of literacy, intelligence, and culture to provide information that everyone can understand in a single glance. Research indicates that people process visuals 60,000 times quicker than text. Images allow you to literally show care staff the information in a format they can easily understand.

Of course, once we know this information and have communicated it to care staff, we need to act on bringing it to life for the people we support. Maybe something a Key Worker could do? Or maybe you could introduce the idea to your teams by asking them to create their own hygge board first?

Peninsula Care Homes Celebrates National Careers Week

Peninsula Care Homes Celebrates National Careers Week

Recruitment in the care sector is at an all-time low, this is a particular challenge for Peninsula Care Homes due to the remote location of some of our Devon based Homes.

We want to allay the rumours that the general public have about careers in care and promote the roles, ‘working in care is immensely fun, sometimes challenging, but always rewarding and enjoyable!’

At Peninsula we believe that every one of our staff plays a key role in providing outstanding care. We want our staff to perform to their best.  Staff are genuinely kind and compassionate and often go the extra mile to provide residents with excellent, high quality care.  We support residents based on their individual needs and strive to maintain the best possible quality of life in a home from home environment.

We find out as much as possible about each of our residents; who would have known that John has visited twelve Countries, Margaret has met the Queen three times and that Cyril was a mountaineer… residents relish the opportunity to share stories and staff love listening to them.

If you are a tactile person, many of our residents still enjoy human touch, cuddles, kisses and hand holding are free of charge and can change the way someone is feeling in an instance.

In return we provide a wide range of training delivered in-house or using outside providers, senior staff are encouraged to mentor junior staff and all our managers have an open door policy.  Staff attend seminars and conferences based around the ever changing culture in care.  Staff recently experienced the Virtual Dementia Tour, which provided an excellent insight into what living with dementia may be like.

It is possible to have a career in care, we have had staff commence as Carers, progress to Senior Carers, Team Leaders and eventually become Registered Managers.  Other roles include our Activity Co-ordinators who provide entertainment for physical and mental stimulation as well as general well-being.  Residents often rekindle hobbies and interests that they may not have done for 50 years…  Our Cooks prepare good quality home cooked food and are encouraged to interact with residents to find out the likes and dislikes.  Domestic and laundry teams have a huge part to play, chatting to residents as they go about their daily routines. Admin staff, maintenance staff, kitchen assistants to name a few.

Working hours are flexible too, you can do a 6 hour or 12 hour shift, therefore you could work three 12 hour shifts and have a four day weekend!

In summing up, our residents are never lonely and neither are our staff.  If you have ever thought about a career in care, what’s stopping you?

For further information please contact:

Dianne Gregory, Business Manager, Peninsula Care Homes Ltd

Email: di@peninsulacarehomes.co.uk

www.peninsulacarehomes.co.uk

National Hot Tea Month

National Hot Tea Month

January is National Hot Tea Month a fantastic excuse to have an extra cup of tea and indulge in a biscuit or piece of cake.

Tea has been drunk for thousands of years, originating from China. From there it grew in prominence until it was one of the most important beverages in the world. Some say it rivals coffee as the drink of choice for mornings.

Tea is mostly drunk hot but iced tea or cold tea because you simply forget to drink it while it was hot is often experienced.

What’s your favourite tea? We have arranged some tea tasting within the homes from fruit teas, herbal teas to different leaves of tea. Our tea tasting adds to our collection of activities to encourage hydration. We will see what the favourite is and then have the discussion on how to make the perfect cup of tea. Does the milk go in first or not at all, lemon, honey, weak tea or “builder’s brew”, cup and saucer or mug and so many choices.

Cornerways have already had one tasting session trying peppermint tea, peach & raspberries, and strawberry & raspberry tea. The favourite by a large margin was strawberry & raspberry with no one liking peppermint tea.

So put the kettle on and enjoy your favourite tea whatever that may be. If you’re in Moretonhampstead on January 20th please do join our coffee/tea morning.

Cornerways couple celebrate 71st Wedding Anniversary in style

Cornerways couple celebrate 71st Wedding Anniversary in style

Our first guest blog of the year comes from Peninsula Care Homes Business Manager, Dianne Gregory, who met with Cornerways resident couple celebrating their 71st Wedding Anniversary. Dianne shares her blog with us:

We were privileged at Cornerways recently to share in the celebrations of residents John and Cicely Balson who boast 71 years of marriage! After a bit of research I was unable to find the recognised symbol of 71 years, with 60 years being an expensive Diamond and 70 years being more expensive Platinum, I decided that 71 years must just be put down to ‘true love’

I met with both John and Cicely to find out a bit more…

John, originally from Bristol commenced in the army as a mechanical engineer but after a serious accident and with severe burns to his legs he was hospitalised for a year and asked to leave the army. Sheer determination from his mother pleading with the army to take him back enabled John to continue his career.

Cicely formerly from Scartho, Grimsby also joined the army as a shorthand typist.

They first met at Buntingford Barracks, Hertfordshire. John was 20 years old and Cicely 19 years, they were married in December 1945 in Cicelys local church in Scartho, a reception followed at the parish hall. As the war had only recently ended, food remained rationed but Cicelys mother produced a beautiful spread for all 100 guests.

With both John and Cicely in the army they were fortunate to travel to many Countries including Korea, Hong Kong, Malta and Germany to name a few.

They have a son, Mervyn and daughter, Patricia, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

They moved to Paignton following retirement and to be nearer to their son.

They are quite rightly proud of all the service medals they have received and remember fondly meeting members of the Royal Family.

army-medals

I asked the secret of a long and happy marriage, and Cicely said “we’ve always helped each other and never rowed” John smiled in agreement… She went on to say, that they always worked hard, and she would often do additional shorthand work in the evenings, she said they both had a very good work ethic.