Community, Events, Outings

Giving our communities a BOOST

 

At the heart of our core values is care for the communities that our care homes are part of. Read on to find out more about our latest initiative to strengthen the ties between Peverel Court Care and Age UK.

 

Being part of a care community is something we are very proud of at Peverel Court Care. We take every opportunity to engage with organisations and individuals in our localities who can enrich the lives of our residents or who can benefit from the many events and activities we arrange. It is the feeling of being part of such a vibrant community that makes living in a Peverel Court Care Home so special.

 

Our partnership with Age UK Buckinghamshire

We partnered with Age UK Buckinghamshire at the beginning of 2023 after Preet Shergill, our Associate Director, met with Mark Russell, CEO of Age UK Buckinghamshire. Recently, Allicia Maclean joined Age UK Buckinghamshire as their Community Engagement Manager and Allicia visited us to tell us about the BOOST programme.

BOOST sits alongside Age UK Buckinghamshire’s Befriending Plus Service and is aimed at older people who are isolated and lonely. It enables individuals who join the programme to develop peer-to-peer friendships with those in similar situations, and access local community groups or activities like those we provide at Peverel Court Care.

 

Sharing the joy of a festive theatre trip

We loved the idea of getting involved with the BOOST programme, and our planned trip to Aylesbury Waterside Theatre to see the 1938 classic, A Christmas Carol, was an ideal way to kick off our involvement in BOOST. 

Four members of our local community who are part of the BOOST programme, alongside Age UK Buckinghamshire volunteer Tricia, joined our residents from Bartlett’s and Stone House for this festive outing.

Tricia said of the Theatre trip:

We took some of our BOOST clients to the Christmas Theatre screening of ‘A Christmas Carol’. It was a real treat and a fantastic opportunity for our clients to meet in a safe and supportive space, reminiscing about Christmases past whilst enjoying the performance. It was great to see our BOOST clients get excited about socialising and it was thoroughly enjoyed by them all. Thank you Peverel Court Care for inviting us.

 Our residents Patrick and Pearl said:

I hadn’t seen that film in a long time, it was great to enjoy it again with friends and mince pies!

 

I enjoy going to the theatre. I like that Christmas film, it was good to watch it again. I ate a lot of chocolate! [laughing] 

 We are planning more participation in the BOOST programme in 2024 which will be a mixture of outings and in-house events at our care homes. Like the theatre trip, all will continue to be funded by Peverel Court Care in addition to our monthly donation to assist with Age UK Buckinghamshire’s community work.

 

Why is community so important to us?

In the past care homes have been viewed as standalone facilities in some communities and there has been little engagement between residents or their care home neighbours. This goes completely against what we believe, which is that the best care homes should be the vibrant heart of our communities. 

We have a huge amount to offer people of all ages within our care communities, all focused around the simple but vital joy of social interaction. Whether it’s Debutots visiting us for some preschool fun, or our sports, arts, music or animal therapy events, all provide the chance to bring the community into our care homes and spark interactions for everyone involved which boost wellbeing and mental health.

Being engaged with and forming mutually beneficial relationships with neighbours and friends within Buckinghamshire is transformative for all who engage in the initiatives we are involved with, which alongside our partnership with Age UK Buckinghamshire includes our sponsorship of a local football team and our partnership with Aylesbury Homeless Action Group.

 

Combatting isolation and loneliness

Being connected to others is something we all need as human beings, and we should never underestimate the damage of feeling cut off from each other. None of us can forget what the isolation of COVID entailed and the negative effects so many people endured as a result, which proves just how vital promoting and supporting social interaction is for us all.

We are all potentially at risk of isolation and loneliness, the effect of which on mortality is comparable to the impact of well-known risk factors such as obesity, and has a similar influence as cigarette smoking (Holt-Lunstad, 2010). Loneliness is also associated with an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke (Valtorta et al, 2016), it increases the risk of high blood pressure (Hawkley et al, 2010), and lonely individuals are also at higher risk of the onset of disability (Lund et al, 2010).

Christmas is often strongly related to people feeling acutely lonely and isolated, especially if they live on their own. Age UK wrote about this in their recent blog, ‘Looking out for loneliness this winter’, and we know through our connections at Age UK Buckinghamshire that they are encouraging anyone in our localities who is feeling lonely to get in touch with them.

We would also signpost any older person who is feeling alone to The Silverline, which is run by Age UK, Independent Age and the useful advice the NHS offer. Know too that if you are near to one of our Peverel Court Care Homes, our door is always open.

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business. Providing exceptional, personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

Falls, Tech

Spotlight on Falls – The voices of lived experience

 

Falls are one of the most feared health emergencies for older people and their families. In our three-part series, we are shining a spotlight on falls, the changes we aspire to make and the impact these will have in reducing falls. We continue this series by hearing from our residents, relatives and staff about their personal and professional experiences of falls.

We know that falls are something our residents and their families dread – and with good reason – as we looked at in our first blog in this series that detailed the impact and implications when a person has a fall.

It’s very important to us, as we explore the latest technology around falls detection and prevention, that we understand first-hand about our residents’ and relatives’ experiences of falls and how they feel about the technological solutions we are considering.

 

What our residents and relatives say about their experiences of falls

Don lives with us at Bartlett’s and told us:

I was a runner, I enjoyed running. I’ve always been willing to test myself, going a little further is always important for me, pushing boundaries, and that’s still there in walking.

My balance over the last year has been deteriorating. I started off by denying I needed a walking stick, then realised it was probably advisable to carry one. So, I carry a stick and try not to use it. I go out for a walk and carry it. I start with leaning on the stick, realise my balance is ok, then I pick the stick up and walk with it.

I have some consciousness of my vulnerability to falls. The most alarming is falling backwards. That doesn’t happen often… It’s when I get tired that my vulnerability to falls is raised. Yesterday I wanted to sit down on the edge of the bed and I missed it. I didn’t hurt myself; I fell on my backside, picked myself up and carried on. But it was a warning to be careful.

Andrea told us about her experiences of caring for her dad before he moved to Bartlett’s:

Dad had multiple falls, both in the house and out of the house, and I had no idea how to deal with that other than call 999. 

Dad calls falls ‘a slow sit down to the floor’. He doesn’t call them falls at all. He gets so tired that he can’t support his weight any more and falls. I don’t think he trips. One time on the drive at his house he fell and crawled on his hands and knees to his car to pull himself up.

I couldn’t be there 24/7 for him, and I would rely on him to either call me to tell me he’s fallen or dad’s pendant alarm company to ring me. But that’s obviously after the event, it’s not helping to prevent the fall.

Heather lives with us at Stone House and told us:

I don’t think of falling, I continue with life, then the beastly falls happen. Recently, I went across the room to take my phone off charge, I didn’t rush, I went quite slowly, but on the way I fell, got my foot trapped and I couldn’t get up. Two nurses who happened to be next door came and got me standing.

I’m not expecting to fall, but unfortunately I do. I lose my balance. I don’t think of it until I go down bang, which is pretty stupid. (Laughs)

Lynn’s mum lives with us at Bartlett’s and told us:

Mum has been getting increasingly unstable and we’ve had two reports now of mum being found on the floor. She’s been fine, but there hasn’t been anybody to witness that (the falls). I don’t think she remembers it, so she can’t report it herself.

Mum used to be somebody who played tennis and badminton and did keep-fit and dog walked two or three times a day. To see her with this frailty and worry about the thought of her lying or sitting on the floor… I feel for her vulnerability and her safety.

Following her mum’s falls, Lynn told us:

Mum’s gait has changed. She definitely needs an arm to lean on, and has a general sense of imbalance and isn’t confident on her feet anymore.

 

What our staff say about how falls impact our residents

Connie is an Administrator at Bartlett’s and told us:

People don’t deliberately fall. You don’t necessarily have that reaction time to think ‘I’ll grab something’. I’ve been on reception, heard a commotion and later found out that it was someone who had a fall in the corridor. It’s quite hard knowing that’s what I heard and later discovering they had an injury, that’s quite tough. Then seeing the knock in their confidence in the coming days. It’s not nice to experience.

Naturally I think some of the residents who are less mobile are more cautious when they are walking. One resident who recently had a fall and was found on the floor, in the coming days she was a lot more hesitant and wary with her steps. Whether she remembered the fall, and on some level emotionally she did, you see that within her. She was almost looking for extra support from staff and had that uncertainty about what to do next.

 

Falls in a person’s own home

As part of our work into falls detection and prevention, we are looking at many different environments – not just those within our Peverel Court Care homes – to understand the challenges for all older people who are vulnerable to falls.

Ruth supports her mum who lives in her own home. Ruth’s mum has had a series of falls, and Ruth recounted her feelings about her mum’s first fall to us:

I was pretty shocked, there was a lot of blood. The hearth was marble, so mum had fallen down on something very hard….. the unsteadiness, there was a trip involved as well… I was very frightened for her. I think we all know that head injuries can result in life changing events and a risk to life, and because of the amount of blood that was there, I felt very shaky… I felt a bit all over the place if I’m honest.

Following her mum’s first fall, Ruth told us:

We felt that mum’s memory had declined. She was finding it quite difficult to recall dates and facts about things. She lost confidence, she didn’t want to leave the house… she didn’t really want to walk. Emotionally, mum is a very strong woman… but what I did notice 6 months later is that mum couldn’t remember having a fall.

 

How can we support older people with earlier detection of falls risks?

Ideally we’d like to be able to prevent every fall, but experts agree that such aims are unrealistic. The focus of current technological solutions is around detecting falls risks, particularly when someone starts to move around, for example by getting out of bed at night. 

Sensor monitoring in resident’s bedrooms is one solution we are considering for Peverel Court Care homes. Sensor monitoring detects changes in noise, picking up when someone starts to move, which could be particularly helpful at night in reducing the number of night-time checks staff do that can disturb residents. We asked our residents and relatives who participated in our research interviews on falls what they thought of this technology.

Don said:

So long as it’s not obtrusive, I won’t notice it. I’m trusting the technology to help me.

Andrea, Don’s daughter, told us:

I wouldn’t want it (sensor monitoring) to totally replace any human checks, but if it could reduce the number of checks staff make that would be useful. It’s not a mistrust of the technology, it’s just nice to see someone in the night if you’re unsure and you’ve woken up. Sometimes dad gets a bit disorientated.

I remember my grandmother, she had a fall and broke her hip, and that was life changing for her. So anything that helps to prevent falls is good.

Lynn echoed Don and Andrea’s views. She said: 

It just seems a real benefit to have some sort of monitoring that is there… overnight in rooms, because who knows when somebody gets out of bed and decides they want to wander around the room or go to the toilet. To have that constantly monitored has got to be a good thing. I know staff pop in every now and again, but things happen in between visits so I think that can only lead to a better outcome.

 

What are the key considerations when introducing new falls detection technology?

Whilst we are keen to explore new falls technology, we know there are many considerations to implementing this to ensure our core values of providing the highest standards of care and support for our residents are upheld.

We explored this topic with Connie who told us:

When we’re looking at the sensor* technology we definitely need to keep the level of privacy, making sure that it’s non-intrusive. 

I think for residents especially, they need to know that there are no trip hazards. For instance, the mats that go on the floor (that we currently use to detect movement), they are potentially a trip hazard. I’ve always wondered why they are used, because I don’t think they’re that effective in preventing falls, which they are designed to alert (us to) if they are on the floor. 

I think with the sensor* monitoring, keeping the autonomy of the resident is really important, that’s one that the residents would say themselves. 

Removing the need for nighttime hourly checks would be really beneficial for residents, especially those with dementia. Sleep is incredibly important, it has an effect on their day-to-day moods, their balance, their lives. I think that would be the main benefit.

 

What’s next?

In our third and final blog of this series, we will look at the future of falls prevention and how different digital solutions and advancing technology can assist us at Peverel Court Care.

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business. Providing exceptional, personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

 

*Sensor monitoring/technology is also referenced as acoustic monitoring/technology by some of our interviewees.

Falls, Tech

Spotlight on Falls

 

Falls are one of the most feared health emergencies for older people and their families. In our three-part series, we will be shining a spotlight on falls, the changes we aspire to make and the impact these will have in reducing falls. We begin by looking at how falls impact older people and the implications for a person when they fall.

The potential to have a fall is something many older people and their families dread. Whether the person lives at home, is in hospital or in a care home, having a fall can have significant and far-reaching consequences. It’s something many health and social care staff also fear and often find difficult to mitigate against and manage. 

 

What do we know about falls?

The 2018 ‘NICE impact report on falls and fragility fractures’ said:

Older people are more likely to fall. They are also more likely to suffer significant consequences, such as a loss of independence and confidence, leading to physical and mental deterioration and frailty. This increases the risk of a person experiencing multimorbidity, which is when a person has 2 or more long-term health conditions. It can also increase their risk of further falls and fractures.

In 2015/16, NHS Improvement reported that 204,269 inpatient falls were voluntarily reported by acute trusts, with a fall rate of 2.8 falls per 100 patients. However, many falls occur at home and go unreported, so the true incidence of all falls is unknown. It is estimated that approximately 30% of people older than 65 fall at least once a year; this is around 3 million people in England.

The 2022 Age and Ageing Journal published the first ‘World guidelines for falls prevention and management for older adults’ that said: 

Falls occur at all ages and are an inevitable part of a bipedal gait and physical activity. They occur in 30% of adults aged over 65 years annually, for whom the consequences are more serious, despite concerted efforts of researchers and clinicians to understand, assess and manage their risks and causes. In addition to personal distress, falls and fall-related injuries are a serious health care problem because of their association with subsequent morbidity, disability, hospitalisation, institutionalisation and mortality.

In Europe, total deaths and disability-adjusted life years due to falls have increased steadily since 1990. The Global Burden of Disease study reported nearly 17 million years of life lost from falls in 2017. Related societal and economic consequences are substantial. In high-income countries, approximately 1% of health care costs are fall-related expenditures.

Note: NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) are currently updating their guidance on Falls and their new recommendations will be published in August 2024.

 

Falls and care homes

With these statistics in mind our Associate Director, Preet Shergill, has made falls the subject of his NHS Digital Academy TOPOL Fellowship (TOPOL Fellowships were borne out of the 2019 Review conducted by Eric Topol MD entitled ‘Preparing the healthcare workforce to deliver the digital future’). In his first blog for the NHS Digital Academy about his fellowship entitled ‘Empowering social care through digital innovation: My Topol Digital Fellowship journey’ Preet said:

The public health data highlights the urgent need for falls prevention strategies, given the impending exponential growth in the 85+ age group. In my local county of Buckinghamshire, the number of people over 85 is projected to rise by 78% over the next 12 years. The total annual cost of fragility fractures to the UK, including social care, is estimated at £4.4 billion.

 

What are the current challenges around falls?

As we go into the autumn and winter seasons, falls join flu, Covid and many other seasonal challenges making NHS-related headlines every year. Falls outside are more likely in cold and icy conditions, and falls inside become more common when people are unwell with infections and more confused, tired or struggling with their balance.

Once a person has a fall, shock and distress are highly likely, making the psychological impact immediate. The physical consequences can, at worst, mean broken bones – hip fractures are especially common and often life-changing or life-shortening – and, if the person has hit their head, potentially the consequences can be fatal. 

Even if these worst-case scenarios are avoided, a fall often means going to hospital for a precautionary scan and tests, an in-patient stay may be needed, pain may be difficult to assess and control, and bruising and any cuts can take a long time to heal. 

With extended waiting times for ambulances, overstretched A and E departments, shortages of beds on wards, and the difficulties for an older person or a person with dementia when they are in an unfamiliar environment (that can often lead to further falls, loss of independence, weight loss and incontinence), going to hospital alone can be a traumatic experience.

Even if a person’s physical injuries heal, the physiological ones often remain. The person may repeatedly think about how they fell and what the cause was. They may become fearful of walking, or lose confidence in maintaining aspects of their independence that they feel may have either led to their fall or could lead to another fall. It then becomes a vicious circle of reduced mobility, with the physical consequences of pressure ulcer risks and greater chances of infections like UTI’s, and greater dependence, which can often erode feelings of self-worth and self-esteem.

 

Falls matter to everyone

Because falls have such a massive impact on the lives of people who fall and their families, we believe they are a vital issue for us to understand more about. We need to find innovative ways to prevent falls and, should a fall still occur, manage a person’s recovery as effectively as possible through modern rehabilitation techniques – like our personalised, at-home physio service – to ensure the best quality of life for our residents.

We will never be able to prevent every fall, or indeed the physical and psychological effects a person may be living with from a fall prior to moving into a Peverel Court Care Home. What we can do, however, is change the narrative and our approaches to find new solutions and ways of thinking.

 

What’s next?

In our second blog of this series, we will hear from some of our residents, families, staff and other healthcare professionals about their personal and professional experiences of falls. We will also discuss how digital transformation can lead to a positive impact in reducing falls.

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business. Providing exceptional, personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

Best Care Practices

Personalised, at-home physiotherapy for our residents

Enabling our residents to remain as mobile as possible is a key aim to ensure everyone who lives with us can enjoy maximum quality of life. Read on to learn more about our partnership with The Caring Physio and how this service is benefiting the ladies and gentlemen in our care homes.

 

Supporting our residents to move comfortably and keep as active and fit as possible is a key aim for the care we provide. We know that ageing can bring many challenges with joint, muscle and bone health, and this often leads to reduced mobility, which can be detrimental for both physical and mental health.

With this in mind, we’ve partnered with The Caring Physio so that our residents at Stone House, Bartlett’s and Merryfield can enjoy physiotherapy services in the comfort of their home. This has been a revolutionary offering for our residents that means we don’t need to wait for NHS referrals: the treatment our residents need can begin swiftly and in a relaxed and supportive environment with The Caring Physio visits to us. Our staff and families can be on-hand to provide any additional support and encouragement that our residents may need, and the physios are able to provide in-depth mobility knowledge to support our care teams in their roles. 

 

Why keeping our residents moving is important

When a person can’t move as they’d like to because of arthritis, other painful conditions or recovery from an operation, fall, stroke or other illness we know this can have a huge knock-on effect for their overall health and quality of life.

Physical inactivity has also been highlighted this World Alzheimer’s Month by Alzheimer’s Disease International as a factor in reducing the risk of developing dementia and for ongoing risk reduction for people who are already living with dementia.

We know that keeping our residents moving is beneficial in many other ways too, including for helping to lower blood pressure, improving heart health and boosting immunity, and to support good mental health, especially when exercise is taken outside.

 

The benefits of at-home physiotherapy when you’re living in a care home

We’ve found that providing our residents with regular access to a physiotherapy service that is person-centred and responsive to each person’s needs is playing a huge part in keeping our residents as physically active as possible, as we’ve seen recently with our Stone House Sports Day and Bartlett’s Mini Crazy Golf.

Moreover, for our residents who are living with dementia, having at-home physio means they can be surrounded by their own possessions and have their treatment in a relaxed atmosphere, rather than having to go to an unfamiliar clinic with time-pressured appointments. 

The small team of physios who visit us are able to get to know our residents very well, and for our ladies and gentlemen with dementia they often adopt creative approaches to make the exercises and movements they are recommending as easy to understand and participate in as possible. The physios are also able to assist staff and relatives in understanding how they can support exercise and movement regimes in-between visits.

 

What our residents and families have said about our at-home physio service

Tony said:

“I have been seeing Gemma for the last two weeks and my problem has gone. She has not needed to see me again. She has improved my walking by doing basic walking techniques. Gemma is very easy to get on with and has treated me with dignity and respect.”

 

Audrey (Family member) said:

“My husband suffered a serious stroke in July 2020. He was previously very fit. I was present for a short session given by Ms Barnes during a visit to Merryfield in January 2023, and was immediately struck and most impressed by her completely different approach from that of the community physiotherapists. Determined and dedicated, she never gives up hope and has in-turn given my husband hope. She is always cheerful and her pleasant attitude means my husband looks forward to her visits. My husband is now starting to engage core muscles enabling him to reach forward a little. Most importantly, Gemma has enabled my husband to slightly move his left leg which is an incredible achievement as it is now three years since his stroke. This has had an immense psychological effect on him. I would thoroughly recommend Gemma: her dedicated approach and positive demeanour is second to none.”

 

Esther said: 

“Gemma is now a regular visitor to Merryfield and is a great comfort and help to all. Residents have one-to-one sessions with Gemma and they are helped with their individual needs. She converses well, has a wide knowledge and gives great advice on ‘aches and pains’. She explains specific problems and the best way to deal with them. She has helped me a great deal.”

 

About The Caring Physio

The Caring Physio are a team of physiotherapists – all of whom are members of the Health and Care Professions Council and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy – that specialise in providing person-centred treatment in the comfort of their patient’s own homes. Their physiotherapy is delivered by professionals with outstanding knowledge and experience, and they are able to provide best practice advice for recovery from a multitude of different health conditions and injuries.

Gemma – one of the physios supporting our residents – graduated in 2008 with a first-class honours degree in Physiotherapy. She went on to have a successful career as a Military Physiotherapist before specialising in frailty. Gemma believes – as we do – that no one is too old for rehab, and she enjoys helping people from a variety of different backgrounds to fulfil their potential.

 

 

We caught up with Gemma to ask her some questions about being a physio and what she and her colleagues offer our residents

 

Gemma, you’ve had a really interesting career, including working at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (Headley Court) in the fields of Complex trauma, Amputee rehab and Neurology before specialising in frailty. What do you love most about working with older people?

Gemma: “Yes, I’ve been very lucky in my career so far and have had the chance to work with some incredible people spanning all age groups and backgrounds. I think what I enjoy most about working with older people is what you can learn from them. They have so much lived experience and will inevitably teach me something new every day. This generation in particular have lived through so much change and tend to have a real ‘can do’ attitude, which translates well into the physio sessions. I find myself laughing most days as they often have a very refreshing outlook on things.”

 

Why do you and your colleagues believe that timely access to physiotherapy is so important for people as they age?

Gemma: “We firmly believe that no one is too old for rehab and that prevention is often better than cure. If we can maintain people’s physical fitness, mobility, confidence and balance then this can reduce their falls risk and also improve their overall quality of life. We also believe that age shouldn’t be a predictor of quality of life and that people shouldn’t be ‘given up’ on because they reach a certain age. Sometimes even a small amount of input can have a hugely positive effect.”

 

Many care providers don’t yet offer at-home physiotherapy for their residents. What do you and your colleagues believe are the key benefits of an at-home physiotherapy service for people living in care homes?

Gemma: “Sadly, some people see going into a care home as ‘giving up’. We believe that a good care home environment should encourage people to live their best lives, but often physical barriers can stand in the way of this. Providing an in-house physio service to residents allows us to problem solve in their own environment, meaning we can give advice and make changes in real time. We can also provide physio for residents who are bed bound and may not be able to go out and access ‘traditional’ physiotherapy in clinics or outpatient departments. It may also be that people don’t know what physio can provide, or how much it can help particularly with conditions such a Parkinson’s Disease, stroke & with general frailty. We also provide advice to the care home and family members on equipment that may help residents, and can signpost to other services that may be required for residents who may have ‘slipped through the net’ within a very stretched NHS.”

 

You and your colleagues have made a huge difference to the lives of many of our residents already. Can you tell us some of the successes in treating our residents that you’re particularly proud of?

Gemma: “Within the care homes that we work in, we have seen some brilliant things, including enabling an 89-year-old gentleman to undertake a skydive for charity. He wasn’t able to adopt the correct flight & landing positions, but following an intensive period of physio, he managed it and was able to complete the skydive, raising over £6K for charity and fulfilling a lifelong dream. This was a very proud moment for all of us. (Note: this wasn’t a gentleman in a Peverel Court Care Home). 

We have managed to get a gentleman who had a stroke and was deemed to have ‘no rehab potential’ to actively move his leg, and he is now able to stand using a piece of equipment we have sourced for him. This has had a profoundly positive impact on both him and his family. 

We have also been working with a lady to help her regain full functional use of her hand after it came out of plaster following a break. She didn’t get any physio through the NHS but we have managed to get her using the hand functionally again, which has enabled her to remain more independent with tasks, including being able to feed herself. 

However, it’s not always about the ‘big wins’. Sometimes it’s just as rewarding to see someone’s confidence grow, or to get them walking independently again, or get someone a piece of equipment that enables them to be more independent or engaged. Often it’s all the ‘little wins’ that really add up to give great job satisfaction.”

 

Many thanks to Gemma and her colleagues for the support they are providing to our residents.

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business. Providing exceptional, personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

 

Bartletts, Events, Food & Drink, Wellbeing

Enjoying Cheese and Wine Tasting

 

We love sensory experiences for our residents and we’ve taken this to a new level thanks to our partnership with wine professional Kelly Sullivan. Read on to find out more about our inaugural event with Kelly where some of our residents living with dementia enjoyed delicious wines and cheeses from around the world.

 

A few weeks ago our residents at Bartlett’s participated in our first Cheese and Wine Tasting event as part of our new partnership with wine professional Kelly Sullivan.

We’ve partnered with Kelly to build on the work we do around promoting sensory stimulation across Peverel Court Care Homes. We aim to provide sensory stimulation regularly and in a variety of ways, including using everyday sounds, foods, objects and other items to awaken the senses and elicit a positive response or feeling. This contributes to improved quality of life, one of our core commitments to everyone who lives with us.

 

Sensory support for our residents living with dementia

Sensory support is especially beneficial for people who are living with dementia because it can help the person to live in the moment and interact with their current surroundings. Studies have shown that when done on a regular basis, sensory stimulation can be helpful in supporting memory loss. It can also improve daily functioning and other cognitive symptoms when all five senses are engaged and different ways to communicate can be explored.

 

 

Our first Cheese and Wine Tasting

Some of our lovely residents at Bartlett’s – Denis, Paul, Rosemary, John, Barbara, June and Doug – joined Kelly in the upstairs lounge where Kelly provided all of the cheeses and wines to try, sharing insights and knowledge of where they were sourced from as part of an eclectic round-the-world sensory experience. 

John chose to sit close to the window, overlooking views of the Chilterns, as he drank the wine and ate the cheeses independently, while Denis was pleased to learn about the various wines and the different countries they originated from, asking Kelly if she had visited any vineyards in New Zealand before. 

Paul reminisced while drinking wine with his friends. He was very engaged in the activity, keen to share his own knowledge and learn more from Kelly by asking various questions regarding locations and temperatures. Paul told us he enjoys wine and would like to do this activity again.

 

 

Why we will be doing more events with Kelly

We found that all of our ladies and gentlemen who shared the Cheese and Wine event with Kelly were very happy and keen to participate. This was a fabulous experience because our residents could be independent in a relaxed, adult-focused activity that some had enjoyed in their earlier life, exercise choice about what they wanted to taste, and experience both sensory enjoyment and supportive conversation.

Paul said: 

“I have visited many vineyards with friends, so it was nice to share stories with Kelly. It was a lovely experience – we all had a good time and the wines were very nice.” 

John said: 

“It was very nice to sit around with everyone enjoying fine wines – I really enjoyed myself. They went down very easily!” [laughing]

 

About Kelly

Kelly is a trained wine professional who has worked as a wine writer for various leading publications including Good Housekeeping, Decanter and Stylist. Kelly’s years of experience and deep passion for wine helped her to guide our residents through the tasting experience, supporting everyone to appreciate the intricate flavours and stories behind each bottle.

 

 

We caught up with Kelly to ask her some questions about her passion for wine and her work:

 

Kelly, what ignited your passion for wine and led you to becoming a wine professional?

Kelly: “Everyone has that one great bottle of wine that piques their interest and sparks a passion for wine. I was working in publishing at the time and doing weekly blind tastings for a magazine. I decided to take my professional wine exams to sharpen my knowledge and as a result it led me down a path of sharing my passion with other wine lovers and making wine more accessible for everyone.”

 

How did you choose the wines to share at our wine event?

Kelly: “To kickstart our series of wine tastings, I went with a ‘classic styles’ theme. This way we know there are styles in there that everyone will like or at the very least will have tried as it opens up conversation and makes it less daunting.

My selection of wines was based on reliable and popular producers, so I could guarantee quality. I chose approachable wines I felt the residents would enjoy.”

 

How did you choose the cheeses to pair with the wines? 

Kelly: “I chose the cheese based on what would best complement the wines and enhance their flavours. I wanted to find as many local, British cheeses as I could and to share the stories behind them.”

 

What are the benefits for people living in care homes from having Cheese and Wine Tasting events?

Kelly: “Cheese and wine tastings are a great thing to do in groups. It brings people together, opens discussions and gets you thinking, especially when you’re trying to pinpoint different tasting notes.”

 

What do you like most about engaging with our residents during these events?

Kelly: “The residents always have great stories to share about wines they have tried and the styles they love. It’s really interesting hearing their life stories and getting to know them better.”

 

What advice would you give care homes who want to engage their residents in sensory experiences like Cheese and Wine Tasting?

Kelly: “I would really encourage it. It’s a nice thing to do with an afternoon and it really engages the senses. I would advise care homes to make it accessible to residents by ensuring residents have the best set up and help they need.”

 

Many thanks to Kelly for a really positive experience for our residents at Bartlett’s. We look forward to hosting more Cheese and Wine Tasting events with Kelly soon.

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business. Providing exceptional, personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

Bartletts, Future of Care, Property Development

Making lives better – The expansion of Bartlett’s Residential Care Home

Bartlett’s Residential Care Home has a great Care Quality Commission rating and gets wonderful reviews from current residents and their families, but we always feel there is work to do and room to improve. For a long time we have been talking about how we can add additional facilities for our residents to enjoy.

So we’ve decided it’s time we extended our premises, our capacity and our already excellent service by building an extension. This new part of our building will be specially designed to fit comfortably with the classic, traditional setting Bartlett’s sits within and will add 12 new bedrooms for new residents.

But it will give back to existing residents, too. We’ll be giving them three new communal rooms to utilise at their leisure – a cinema room and library, a private dining room and a brand new general communal room.

We had originally planned on building 14 additional bedrooms, but in the end we decided to forfeit two in favour of offering our current and new residents a much larger communal space. The private dining room will give residents a special place to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries with their family and friends, whilst enjoying bespoke, specially prepared food for the occasion.

Our cinema room and library will provide them with an additional space to socialise in and provide an added source of entertainment.  We decided that this type of room was the best use of our additional space after careful research revealed that libraries in care home can improve mood and memory, and that movies can improve quality of life for older people – especially those with dementia. Visiting the cinema is not something those who need care and support get to do very often, so we hope that this addition to our care home will significantly improve the happiness of our residents. We can use it to screen all sorts of entertainment, from current blockbuster hits to old classics.

Whilst we were working on the premises, we thought it would be worthwhile landscaping the garden in line with the wishes and wants of our residents, so we’ve been working on this at the same time. We asked the residents earlier this year what they would like to see in the Bartlett’s grounds, and we’ll be using some of those suggestions as we develop the garden. A large part of this work will involve moving the car park that some of our rooms overlook and changing this outside area into a much prettier view.

Overall our plans have one aim, to make the lives of the people we take care of better. We’re building something unique and special. We want our residents to thrive in the active, entertaining and homely community we’re building at Bartlett’s, a place where they can live comfortably and be taken care of, and have plenty to do and lots to look at. There’s plenty of work to be done over the next few months, but by this time next year our Bartlett’s community will be completely transformed for the better. We can’t wait to show you our new space, and we hope you are as excited about it as we are.

Social Care & Society

The importance of being involved

Over the next few weeks there aren’t many people in the country who won’t be watching the Euros 2016.

Whether you’re a regular football fan or not, there’s something special about the World Cup and the Euros. Everyone, sport lovers and the usually uninterested, seems unable to resist getting behind the boys as they go head to head with other great nations on the field.

At Peverel Court Care we’re as enthusiastic as the rest of the nation by the footballing festivities. Our residents and our staff are extremely excited by the idea that England might win the competition, though we have had, and continue to have, residents who weren’t born here living with us.

We know how important it is for the mental health and wellbeing of our residents to be included in activities they would participate in if they were still in their own homes. The Euros is a small part of that. In their own homes, residents would be able to choose whether they wanted to watch the football or not, and in which atmosphere they wished to participate. Giving our residents these same choices is extremely important. For us, it’s about making sure they don’t feel as though there are things they can’t do, and we would hate for them to feel forced into anything either.

We know that many residents will use their own televisions in the privacy of their rooms to watch (or avoid) the competition. Every room in our luxury accommodation comes fully furnished with a television and optional Sky TV.

If they would prefer a group atmosphere, our residents can also choose to put the football matches on in our spacious, specially designed lounges.

And for those who want to get a little bit more involved, we’re making sure that there is plenty of football related fun happening whilst the competition is taking place. Last week our activities coordinator arranged for our residents to decorate paper flags in the shapes and colours of all of the teams. Many of our residents chose to take part in this activity, which was wonderfully social and communal.

We’d like to wish everyone taking part in the Euro 2016 tournament the very best of luck. We at Peverel Court Care will enjoy watching you and taking part in the festivities with the rest of the country. Whatever happens, whether our team wins or not, the Euros will bring our residents and their families together in great spirits. We’re very grateful for that.

Merryfield

Guide to choosing a care home in association with Peverel Court Care – Part 2

Care homeBefore you start your search for the right care home for your loved one, you need to carefully assess the older person’s care needs. Understanding the needs of your relative will help you make an informed choice.

Assessing the needs of your relative

You can call up the social services department of your local council and get a free care assessment. This assessment will allow you to decide whether the older person requires residential care, nursing care or support in their home to meet their needs.

The assessor will take into consideration the following to figure out what is right for your loved one:

  • The person’s general health and disabilities.
  • The current living arrangements.
  • The help they are currently getting and whether it can be sustained.
  • How the person would like to be supported.
  • Any concerns the older person has.
  • The opinions of the community nurse or GP.
  • The older person’s religious, social and emotional needs.

Financial assessment is a must

Once your loved one finishes the care assessment, make sure you get a financial assessment carried out. This will give a clear picture about your relative’s financial health and help you understand how much the person can contribute to the cost of the care home.

This is also the right time to find out how much the local council is willing to pay towards a care home. Remember, if your loved one’s savings run out, you may have to turn to the council to keep the senior in the care home. Most councils have an upper limit when it comes to paying for a care home. Seniors with capital assets under £23,250 qualify for some council help.

Once you find the care home that you think is perfect for your loved one, drop in unannounced after the initial visit to assess the quality of life the residents enjoy. Also, don’t be embarrassed to ask questions. The level of the care and your loved one’s safety are paramount, and you should never compromise on both.

We welcome you to visit our care homes any time to check how Peverel Court Care provides personalised and exceptional elderly care at each home. We offer residential care and nursing care, depending on the needs of our residents.

 

Merryfield

Tips for choosing the right care home for your loved one #CareQualityComm

Front of homeElderly adults with health conditions such as dementia, who are unable to manage their day-to-day living activities independently, often prefer moving to a care home rather than staying alone at home or living with the family. Good quality care should be personalised and promotes independence, treats people with respect, and improves quality of life. Hence, finding a care home that offers exceptional levels of care must be a priority.

Finding quality local care homes

You can check the list of local care homes at the Care Quality Commission website. The website also publishes detailed inspection reports that cover various benchmarks that care homes have to fulfil to receive a rating, which is indicative of the quality of care.

The next step is to contact the care homes to find out the level of care offered to people with different health care needs. There will probably be a waiting list for a place, so the possible time delay before a vacancy becomes available will need to be established, as will the fees. Care homes will send you information that you should review carefully. This way, you can shortlist the promising ones and schedule a visit to check them out.

Tips to select a good care home

Besides the most recent inspection report from the CQC, you should also take into consideration the following selection criteria:

  • Location: Consider the location of the care home. Will family and friends be able to visit easily? Is the home located in a tranquil or noisy area? Can residents access shops and leisure facilities?
  • Safety and Security: Find out the arrangements the care home has to ensure safety and security of residents and visitors. You may also want to enquire about the measures in place to deal with complaints.
  • Staff Training: Good care homes ensure they train and upgrade the skills and knowledge of their staff to provide exceptional care of the elderly. Such training equips staff to cope efficiently with all types of residents and to deal with emergencies more efficiently.
  • Hygiene and General Upkeep: Quality care homes are clean and bright, and offer a hygienic environment that is carefully adapted to suit the needs of residents.
  • Diet: Seniors have special dietary needs. Hence, the food provided should be tasty and nutritious.
  • Resident Activities: Care homes should have age-appropriate activities for residents that keep them stimulated and entertained. No resident should be forced to participate in any activity.

At Peverel Court Care, we are proud to state we meet all criteria to qualify as a quality care home that offers exceptional elderly care. We offer personalised care plans to meet the individual needs of our residents, who are well looked after by highly trained, qualified and friendly staff. Our care homes have received excellent inspection ratings from the CQC for elderly care services. We welcome you to visit our three homes to check out the facilities we offer.

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