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.

 

Dementia, Events, Merryfield

Puppy Visit Pawside Yoga – The benefits of Animal Therapy in Care Homes

Puppy Visit Pawside Yoga – Merryfield House Nursing Home.

Who?

https://pawsideyoga.co.uk/ 

Our Mission, 

We are a friendly + welcoming group who are passionate about sparking inner peace, conversation & connection through the ancient art of yoga to create a health and fitness class whilst adding our special element combining adorable puppies with creating the most blissful experience you’ve ever been to. We are committed to creating safe spaces that are inclusive & respectful of a diverse community.

Our Values,

  • LOVE is our underlying frequency. We have a genuine love for our yogis & we are passionate about uniting humanity through our classes. 
  • COMMUNITY Our people (team and students) are at the core of what we do, we strive to learn new perspectives by listening to, learning from & educating our community. 
  • LEARNING We use physical practice to spark conversation, curiosity & connection to the body, mind & soul. We aim to cultivate a sacred space for diverse bodies through intentional movement & mindfulness. 
  • THE INDIVIDUAL JOURNEY We aim to give you space to explore through the various aspects of yoga & then journey back with a newfound sense of self-connection & appreciation for yourself & others as well as being given the added element of the best cuddles ever with our gorgeous fur babies.

Why?

As care specialists, Peverel Court Care know how much of a positive effect animal therapy can have on those living with dementia. That’s why we welcomed a visit from Pawside Yoga to Merryfield House Nursing Home. 

Making invaluable connections and partnerships with organisations, such as Pawside Yoga, helps to enrich the lives of those residing with us, many of those living with dementia. Interaction with animals has well-documented benefits to older people mentally, emotionally and physically, by improving emotional, social and cognitive abilities. 

When visiting our homes, animals help improve the lives of our residents, including those living with dementia, by bettering motor skills, making them feel happier and lifted, encouraging interaction and also triggering reminiscing conversations. 

Testimonials 

Resident – Vera:

What did you think of the experience? – “Amazing, the puppies were so cute.”

Would you like to experience it again? – “Yes, definitely!”

Resident – Phillis:

What did you think of the experience? “I loved it, I held a few of them!” [laughing]

Would you like to experience it again? “Yes, I would.”

Resident – Joseph:

What did you think of the experience? “It was lovely, I really enjoyed their visit!” [laughing]

Would you like to experience it again? “Yes, of course, it was nice to meet them.”

 

Bartletts, Best Care Practices, Business, Care & Technology, Care Home Maintenance, Care Home Recruitment, Care Management, Dementia, Design, Future of Care, Landscaping and Dementia, Leadership & Management, Merryfield, Property Development, Real life, Social Care & Society, Social Care Strategy, Stone House, Tech, Wellbeing

To succeed care providers must focus on service, employees and the environment

To succeed care providers must focus on service, employees and the environment - Peverel Court Care

 

We wanted to consider the fundamental pillars on which the success of our group is based. Service, employees and the environment are at the heart of Peverel Court Care’s mission to consistently deliver exceptional care for our residents.

At Peverel Court Care we believe that in order for us to be successful in ensuring a level of service which constantly meets and exceeds the expectations of our residents and their loved ones, we can never allow ourselves to take our eye off the three critical foundations that underpin our business. Therefore, we decided to explore some of the elements which contribute to maintaining success in each of these areas throughout our award-winning care homes in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

Exceptional service in our care homes

There are a multitude of elements that contribute to the exceptional levels of service that we provide for the residents of our homes, however some of the key ones include:

  • To make sure that our residents eat a varied and balanced diet, we employ full-time long standing chefs who produce seasonal menus using high quality local produce. Some care homes opt to outsource catering, but we prefer to manage this in-house so that we can provide the food that our residents love. We also offer private dining to our residents, if and when required, so as to best serve their wishes.
  • Peverel Court Care employ full-time hospitality employees, to look after our residents and to make sure that all of their requirements are met.
  • We also maintain a bespoke mini-bus at each of our homes for community outings. This makes it simpler for our hospitality employees to organise trips and visits for residents who wish to attend or require the service.
  • In addition, we have dedicated Activities teams in our care homes, who are responsible for organising entertainment to ensure that our residents can live happy and fulfilling lives while in our care.

 

Exceptional employees in our care homes

Delivering exceptional service requires an exceptional team. Some of the factors which contribute to the recruitment and retention of the brilliant people who work in our business include:

  • We utilise Values Based Recruitment to ensure that anyone that we’re recruiting into the business shares our values and ethos about care. Understanding whether a person has the correct attitudes and mindset to deliver exceptional service is fundamental to our decision making process.
  • Once we’ve brought good people into the homes, we want to make sure that they want to stay. One of the ways in which we do this is through the development of career pathways, which provide opportunities for ongoing learning and development, allowing staff to grow within the organisation.
  • In addition to helping our employees to progress their careers, we also provide reward & recognition schemes. These programmes are aimed at celebrating success and demonstrating how valued and appreciated their hard work is in delivering exceptional service for our residents.
  • Peverel Court Care, along with each of our homes – Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney, Oxfordshire – all benefit from having a long-standing management team. The expertise and experience of our leadership helps to maintain our exceptional levels of service, but also allows us to get to know all of our employees personally, which creates loyalty and better understanding between the parties.
  • As a business, we always aim to be exceptional. This has been recognised during independent inspections, as we have been awarded the rating of “Outstanding” in CQC ‘Well-led’ categories.

 

Exceptional environment at our care homes

We want our care homes to truly feel like home for our residents. Therefore, maintaining exceptionally high standards across our homes and their grounds is intrinsic to the way that we operate. This includes:

  • All of our homes have beautiful landscaped and dementia-friendly gardens. These spaces offer our residents access to safe, stimulating grounds and provide them with exercise and natural light.
  • It’s not just outside where our attention to detail helps to set us apart. We have also utilised dementia-friendly interior designs to make life as simple and comfortable as possible for our residents.
  • Community involvement and interactions for social stimulation are also a key part of our homes. We would never want residents to feel like they were disconnected from the outside world or each other, so this plays a key role in maintaining mental wellbeing.
  • We also believe that the use of, and access to, technology improves the lives of the residents who live in our care homes immeasurably. This includes the provision of super fast Wi-Fi and iPads for keeping in touch with loved ones, which has proved especially valuable over the past year with visitation having to be restricted. We have also implemented the use of electronic care plans. to further improve the way in which we’re able to personalise and maintain exceptional care for 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.

Dementia, Personalisation, Training & Development, Workforce Development

The Importance Of Friendship At Peverel Court Care

After family, friends are usually the most important people in our lives. Modern family life can often mean our loved ones are geographically spread across the country. When we are older our children will likely have their own very busy lives to run. All of this may mean that they can’t see us as often as they would like and this is when our friendships become even more important. Friends are the family we choose for ourselves. They support us in times of need. Often just knowing that they are there for us is enough to make us feel better.

Think about some of the best times you have ever had in your life. Undoubtedly some of those times will have taken place in the presence of friends.

They’re there for us in the best and worst of times. That’s why we foster and value friendships between our residents and carers at Peverel Court Care. Here are some of the reasons we think friendships here are so incredibly important.

Friendship helps our staff do their jobs better…

The main purpose of any staff member here at Peverel Court Care is to provide high-quality care to the elderly people who live here. Friendships help our staff to do that.

“I do consider myself to be a friend to them because I feel it from my own heart.  I could not do the job that I do, which is quite solitary at times in the lounges, without having those genuine emotional feelings towards our residents.” – Peverel Court Care Carer

When you offer the kind of comprehensive care we offer, it helps greatly if you have a genuine relationship with the people you are caring for. If you feel as though the person you’re taking care of is your friend, you are much more likely to give the best care you can at all times.

Some of our residents here are uncomfortable in social situations…

Some of our residents just can’t bring themselves to join in with the group activities we offer here. Some of them just don’t want to. For these individuals, the carers visiting their rooms are the only people they see all day. Those interactions need to be friendly otherwise those people are going to feel incredibly isolated.

Some of our residents don’t have anyone else…

Our job is to make sure that those who live with us have a high quality of life. For residents without family or friends of their own left, it is important that they feel as though they have valuable and important relationships with our carers. We don’t just want them to feel cared for; we also want them to feel cared about. We can’t give our residents the high-quality care we are striving for unless people really do care about them as individuals.

It’s important for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients…

We can’t sum this up any better than one of our carers did when we asked her about genuine friendships at work.

“There have been many times when a resident has literally poured their heart out to me with real visual emotion in their expression or body language or chatted away to me ten to the dozen smiling and laughing. Sometimes I have not been able to understand what they are saying. It is so important to maintain an interest, give direct eye contact, verbalise laughter and support, handhold if appropriate and show a keen interest in what they are saying. That is friendship. That is caring. No matter how severe the level of dementia or Alzheimer’s may be, they will know if we are not responding to their needs at that time. As human beings, we would offer this support to our own friends. If we didn’t then they would not share their problems with us again. To give great care, we need to offer this level of support and friendship.”

It’s in our nature and good for our mental health….

The Mental Health Foundation says that friendship is vital for mental health.

“Friendship is a crucial element in protecting our mental health. We need to talk to our friends and we want to listen when our friends want to talk to us. Our friends can keep us grounded and can help us get things in perspective. It is worth putting effort into maintaining our friendships and making new friends. Friends form one of the foundations of our ability to cope with the problems that life throws at us.”

For the mental health of our residents, it is vitally important that we foster meaningful and fulfilling friendships with our residents.

We’re all about friendship

Being around strong, meaningful friendships makes Peverel Court Care a happy place to be. There is an atmosphere of genuine care here because our carers really do hold our residents’ dear and they want to make sure they are doing the best for them. Sometimes when we are faced with difficult situations or sadness, those friendships can make our jobs more difficult, but still, we wouldn’t have it any other way. Friendship in care is the way forward. As they say; “When it hurts to look back and you’re scared to look ahead, you can look beside you and your friends will be there.”

Care Management, Dementia

Dementia Care – The Peverel Court Care Commitment

Some of the brightest scientific minds have dedicated almost 100 years to researching Alzheimer’s. Billions of pounds has been spent, but little has changed for patients since Alois Alzheimer first began investigating in 1901. Alzheimer’s and dementia are more prevalent now than ever before because of modern medicine and resulting ageing population.

There are advantages and disadvantages to this. The disadvantage is that modern medicine and the resulting aging population means that more people need to face living with this terrible illness. The advantage is that the increase in cases means the microscope is honing in on a cure, preventative methods and ways to make life easier for those who are affected. Though it seems as though the illness has come from nowhere, scientists have actually been fighting to cure it for a century.

At the moment it’s making life easier we are interested in at Peverel Court Care. This is our way of battling dementia. We are committed to do everything we can to make sure our resident’s with dementia have the best quality of life available.

We recently invested in a dementia simulation tour bus to visit all three of our homes. It’s already visited Bartlett’s and next month it will make its way to Stone House and Merryfield. The bus was with us all day and could be experienced by three people at a time. Participants wear headphones, special glasses, special gloves and footwear and asked to complete simple tasks in a darkened room. The bus helps our staff and relatives to feel what it’s like to have dementia. We believe that this will help our staff to understand what it’s like to have dementia. We want them to remember this experience whenever they’re giving someone with dementia care and support.  We have also invited relatives and the local community to attend.

We are dedicated to making sure that dementia does not define the lives of our residents. We want them to be able to do everything everyone else can do. That’s why we designed our new Hambledon Wing in a manner that means residents with dementia can come in and out of the building easily, something that they struggle with if special elements are not in place, such as fluidity between the inside and outside and flowing paths without dead ends.

We are also committed to the training of our staff. We stay on top of developments regarding dementia and make sure our staff are up-to-date and fully trained.

Dementia does not mean the end of a life it’s just the beginning of a new phase. By fully training our teams and raising awareness we are focusing on making life easier for those struggling with this disease every single day.

Dementia, Health and Safety, Mental Capacity Act

That extra bit of health and safety

The people who live with us at Peverel Court Care are vulnerable and relying on us. These individuals often have limited sight or hearing capacity and difficulty moving. Our residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s are often easily confused or frightened. In a place where there are so many people who need extra help and support, health and safety must be prioritised.

Adhering to health and safety best practice means doing everything in our power to make sure that potential threats to our residents are taken care of, reducing the risk of injury as far as we possibly can. Some care homes use guidance from the Care Quality Commission or other third parties as their health and safety guidance. At Peverel Court Care, we’ve gone one step further.

We want our residents and their families to feel secure when they’re with us, so we recently invested in an external health and safety company to train our management teams in all three of our homes. The training was delivered by a care home expert and was put together by individuals with experience working with the elderly and vulnerable. Part of our training involved visiting areas of our care homes and identifying potential risks, as well as suggesting with our risk assessor how we can limit potential danger.

All three of our management teams are now trained in health and safety around dementia awareness, emergency first aid, falls awareness, food safety, fire safety, infection control and lone working awareness. They’ve also completed training in medication awareness, the Mental Capacity Act, deprivation of liberty, safeguarding vulnerable adults, stress awareness and the moving and handling of people. It was a busy training programme, but enjoyed by all, and it taught our staff some important lessons about scenarios they face every day that might pose a health and safety risk to themselves or to one of our residents.

When the Care Quality Commission inspects a care home, one of the five key questions they ask is around safety. They want to know that residents are safe from abuse and avoidable harm. One of our priorities at Peverel Court Care is to be rated ‘outstanding’ by the CQC across all five categories, but the emphasis that should be placed on health and safety as an individual aspect of care delivery is never lost on us.  If something goes wrong in this category, it can be the difference between life and death. For this reason, health and safety is part of our ongoing, high quality care and support packages, embedded in our day-to-day practice and introduced at induction to new staff. The health and safety of our residents in paramount, and we’ll continuously recognise that it’s something every single one of us here is responsible for, making that extra effort and going above and beyond to make sure we’re meeting, if not exceeding, all health and safety requirements.

Merryfield

Fiddle cushions create positive experience for Merryfield residents with dementia

Fiddle CushionPeverel Court Care has always given the utmost importance to personalised and exceptional elderly care. Our homes take into consideration the individual needs of residents and personalise the care based on those needs.

Creating a safe haven for residents with dementia

Residents with dementia need specialised care, and we are proud to say that Peverel Court Care staff have the training, knowledge and expertise to offer superior care to such residents.

We realise dementia patients tend to get agitated and anxious at times. It is imperative they calm down for their own safety and others around them. That is why Merryfield Nursing Home has introduced colourful multi-sensory activity cushions known as fiddle cushions.

Fiddle cushions to the rescue

A fiddle cushion offers sensory experience along with activity engagement for fidgety and restless dementia patients. The cushion has a number of objects, such as belt buckles, ribbons, bows, buttoned or Velcroed flaps with pictures, beads on a cord, functional zippers and clothes pegs. These objects are securely fastened with the help of machine stitching or strong crochet cotton. The cushions come in a range of colours, designs and themes.

Trials in care homes have shown that fiddle cushions have the uncanny ability to calm agitated and anxious dementia patients and keep them engaged. One trial also used the cushions to prevent residents from wandering off.

Customised fiddle cushions in Merryfield Nursing Home

Many residents in Merryfield Nursing Home have personalised fiddle cushions that keep them calm and relaxed. One resident loves watches and owls, so her cushion has a few watches along with an owl. Other residents have materials in different textures, zippers and buttons.

As residents manipulate the objects on the cushions, it helps them calm down and diverts their attention by keeping them busy.

Exceptional elderly care is the hallmark of Peverel Court Care, and with the introduction of fiddle cushions in our homes, we have taken our level of care a notch higher.

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