New specialist dementia care services celebrated in Grimsby
Published by keeley for Longhurst Group in Care and Support and also in Health
L&H Homes Chairman, Sidney McFarlane declared the services officially open
A new set of dementia care services are being hailed as a beacon of best practice in North East Lincolnshire. Cranwell Court care home in Grimsby officially launched its services on 4th October following years of research by staff and a £1.4 million investment from owner, L&H Homes.
The investment has completely transformed Cranwell Court to provide an environment that completely meets the needs of people living with dementia and enhances their safety. The building work also created an entirely new section of the building for their enhanced care services.
Nicole Rands, Business Manager for Registered Services at L&H Homes, who has been behind the plans said, “We began researching best practice into dementia care about 4 years ago, way before a lot of other people began to notice that there was a huge growth in demand for these kinds of services. From what we found by visiting specialist dementia care providers and the latest research we’ve been able to incorporate best practice into every element of Cranwell Court.”
Based on the team’s work, L&H Homes won tenders with North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to provide:
• 8 beds of Shared Care & Assessment.
• 12 beds of enhanced residential care unit for people with high dementia needs.
Cranwell also provides Day Care services to people with enhanced levels of dementia on behalf of CCG for up to 12 people each day.
To provide these services effectively, the interior of Cranwell Court has been completely transformed to incorporate best practice in the layout and design of the dementia units:
• Highly contrasting walls, floors and doors which help residents with orientation.
• Doors are painted specific colours and are easily visible within individual flats and across communal areas.
• Individual flat doors are coloured and made to look like an exterior front door; residents are encouraged to put personal items outside their flat to help them recognise where they live.
• Many objects, in particular in the bathroom, are in red as this is the last colour a person with dementia loses.
• Where it is needed, crockery is in contrasting colours to make food easier to see.
• Preventative measures are taken to enhance safety and reduce the risk of hospital visits such as directive and responsive sensor lighting at night to reduce the number of trips and falls.
• Assistive technology is used to alert staff to high risk situations such as incontinence, overflowing sinks or when residents are out of bed at night.
On top of the physical environment being adapted for residents’ needs, the way in which staff interact and engage with residents has changed.
Sally Eddom, Manager at Cranwell Court explained, “We work very closely with everyone involved in our residents’ lives and it’s proving a very effective way of supporting someone to live with dementia. Finding out about someone’s life history, their lifestyle, social and family networks, circumstances and environment means we can build up relationships with them, increase self-confidence, keep their mind and bodies active and improve their quality of life.
“We can also recognise some of the triggers that cause people to become upset or anxious and step in to de-escalate situations. Being able to connect with someone on the same level they are at, or knowing what is important to them can make a huge difference.
“A lot of thought has also gone into how staff appear to residents – we’ve gotten rid of uniforms, so residents feel more like they’re talking to a human being than a nurse or carer and have large print name badges with our first names so people can easily read our names if they’re having trouble remembering and it makes us more approachable.”
Nicole Rands added, “We’re also very focused on getting residents to do as much for themselves as possible and the improvement we’ve seen in some of them as a result has been amazing. Staff have an empowering role, providing assistance where it is needed, rather than doing things for residents. By allowing people to lead an ‘everyday’ lifestyle the progress of dementia can slow significantly. We’ve had a gentleman who was reluctant to do anything for himself but he’s begun to make cups of tea for himself, clothe himself and take on more personal hygiene independently. By getting people involved in activities they enjoy we’ve been able to see a few new friendships blossom.”
L&H Homes’ distinct approach to dementia care is in line with the aims of the North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group with whom the Care & Support team are continuing their close partnership working to inform strategy based on the latest findings and best practice.
A more recent development within the service is a drive to finding alternative methods and therapies that help people living with dementia deal with pain, depression and overcome some of the Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD), in response to the call to action in reducing the use of anti-psychotic medication for people with dementia. Hand massages and aromatherapy are already proving extremely effective at helping people relax enough to be able to connect with others.
Thomas Foley, Unit Leader at Cranwell Court, who has been researching the effectiveness of alternative therapies with some of the residents, said, “We’re in the early stages of research but it’s showing huge promise. One of our first successes was with a gentleman who had very complex vascular dementia, the symptoms of which present with anxiety and shouting, aggression and hitting out at staff. Most afternoons Mr S* would become anxious and begin shouting very loudly, and hit out at staff when they approached. It would usually only stop once he had fallen asleep, which could take up to two hours, so we thought that this reaction was brought about by tiredness.
“When a scented diffuser was used reactively to Mr S’s BPSD, the symptoms were alleviated on 21 out of 25 instances. Most times he falls asleep but when he wakes he is so much more relaxed and happy to talk to people To induce relaxation to the point where someone falls asleep without medication is very beneficial.”
To mark the official launch of the services, L&H Homes Chairman, Sidney McFarlane MBE, representatives from L&H Homes Care & Support team, Cranwell Court staff, Longhurst Group’s development team, developers Lindum Construction and Ross Davy joined residents and their families to take a full tour of the building to see first-hand how the services are making a difference.
Mr McFarlane, said, “It gives me great pleasure to be celebrating Cranwell Court’s new services and to be able to thank everyone involved for their hard work in creating such a special place. It’s not just Cranwell Court that has been transformed but the way in which staff interact with residents. From walking around it’s clear that these services are totally focused on meeting residents’ needs, both from the unique design features down to the way staff interact and empower them.”
*Name has been hidden to protect privacy.