Care Homes Providing 'Petals' Dementia Care
The Somerset Care Group has ten homes which provide care for people living with dementia. Some of these care homes are exclusively for people with the condition, while others have a specialist unit within the main home. In each home the residents live in smaller family groups.
Caring well for people with dementia requires skill and imagination. We are leading the way, working with experts to create environments that promote and nurture ability. Our dementia care service has been given the name ‘Petals’, which is an acronym of the main tenets of our approach to dementia care and also reduces the stigma attached to the word ‘dementia’.
Petals stands for: Person-centred; Empowerment; Trust; Activities; Life History; Stimulation.
We respect and value each person’s individuality, tailoring the care we provide specifically to their needs. In this way we enable our residents to live as active a lifestyle as possible, maintaining their dignity and self-esteem.
We celebrate people’s abilities and concentrate on what they are able to do rather than the things they cannot do. Where possible residents are encouraged to be independent and take part in daily life at the home, assisting with activities such as laying the table and watering plants.
Our homes have staff specifically trained to work with residents living with dementia. These staff build trusting relationships with the residents, enabling the residents to feel reassured and the staff to identify and understand each person’s individual skills and needs.
As part of our person-centred care we try to provide activities that have relevance to residents because they would have performed them in their younger lives. These meaningful occupations include gardening, cooking, and putting out washing.
We also use reminiscence therapy to encourage social interaction and well-being among residents, and many homes have reminiscence rooms or wall-mounted boxes filled with objects to stimulate discussion.
The qualities that make us all unique are determined by our life history and experiences, and so by having knowledge of a resident’s past we can provide quality care for them. This may include giving them meaningful occupations relating to their previous jobs.
In addition to providing activities to occupy residents, our homes are designed to provide a stimulating environment. They feature secure, level sensory gardens where residents can enjoy a walk outside, and some homes also feature reminiscence boxes on the doors of residents’ rooms, filled with objects which they will recognise. This empowers them to find their way to their own rooms.
Quality of Care
We place a strong emphasis on dementia care leadership. Our managers are all highly trained and lead a well-motivated, enthusiastic team who ensure the person with dementia is at the heart of the service we provide.
Dementia Care Mapping (DCM) is a tool designed to evaluate quality of care from the perspective of the person with dementia, and is based on the philosophy of person centred care.
It involves making detailed observations of the interactions between residents and staff, allowing us to measure the well-being that the individual is experiencing. The resulting data gives an overview , pinpointing areas which are excellent and those we need to develop.
In March 2009, the Somerset Care Group launched a training programme for staff working within its ‘Petals’ units. The training takes place over three separate days and involves every member of staff, from gardeners to domestics, care staff and the Home Manager.
During the training staff will learn more about what it means to offer truly person-centred care, and project work between the three days enables them to put their learning into practice.
This training was devised before the Government’s National Dementia Strategy was launched, and enables us to be proactive in its implementation within the Group.