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Carlingwark House is residential care home that supports 30 Older People. The team is committed to ensuring the dignity of residents, and at the core of this is delivering excellent continence care.
Carlingwark has been recognised both locally and nationally for their high standards of continence care, winning the 2013 National Dementia Award for Best Dementia Continence Care, and recently being runner-up for the NHS Dumfries and Galloway Anne Jamieson Memorial Award for Continence Care. With only 33% of residents at Carlingwark using continence products, compared to national average of 72% in dementia care homes, the home has set a benchmark for excellent continence care.
Shirley McTeir, Service Manager has emphasised how the importance of ongoing training and mentoring of staff is vital to achieving high standards: “With the correct approach to staff development, environment and personalised support, a high standard of continence care can impact so greatly on the quality of life of residents.”
Getting to know the person is at the core of the EachStep model of care. Phil Benson and Danielle Andrews know that the best way to do this is to find out who they are, what they like, what their life has been about, and why they feel the way they do. This interaction, which has led to some excellent relationships and outcomes between staff and the people they support, has inspired their Life Story Work.
Combining research from the University of Manchester and their own best practice, Phil and Danielle have developed a tool that helps staff to delve into the rich histories of the people they support and continue their story after joining the service. This tool is designed to help people remember events in their life, and how they affected them emotionally.
Traditionally, Life Story work focuses on the important events of a person’s life, but by also understanding how these events made them feel at the time, EachStep’s staff are able to interpret residents’ emotions and behaviour when their short-term memory fades and they see life through the prism of their long-term memories.
On using the tool, staff teams have reported that even the smallest insights have given them a far better understanding of someone’s personality; enabling them to provide a more joined-up and personalised service. As well as reflecting a person’s history, the stories are also continued throughout their support at EachStep, showing their journey did not end when they joined the service.
Within two years of working for our charity, Chrstine Cundall was recognised as Britain’s best care home worker at The Great British Care Awards. Her amazing success show’s that great care always begins with caring people.
When Christine applied for a job at EachStep Blackley, she had very little experience of working in care. She explains, “For many years I was the main carer for my mother, who lived with dementia. I felt passionately after this experience that supporting people with dementia was my vocation and that by working in care, I could give other people the same standard of support that I gave to my own mum.”
As a Care and Activity Worker at EachStep Blackley, its Christine’s role to provide people with both the physical and emotional care that they need, and also support them to enjoy full and active lives too.
She explains, “It’s not my job to do things for our residents, but to support them to do things for themselves – helping them to stay independent, happy and fulfilled. It’s a wonderful feeling to see the people we support continuing to do the things they love and getting involved in life in our service.”
“We work hard to understand the lives of every person we support - the things that they enjoy and the things that bring them comfort, and we bring this to the fore in their support. It’s our responsibility to keep whatever has always been important to a person – their family and friends, their religion, their favourite football team, or hobbies like music and gardening – part of their lives. When you do this, you’re seeing the person not their dementia.”