Our Dementia Care Services
Meridian's approach to dementia care is rooted in research-based principles. Using expertise from around the UK, we have developed an award-winning dementia care programme to help our residents achieve the best quality of life possible.
Knowledgeable and experienced staff
Having your parent or relative happy and fulfilled is very important to us. A crucial factor in our ability to achieve this, is the knowledgeable and experienced staff on hand in each home. Good quality dementia care isn't just about having an NVQ or distance learning qualification in dementia - although we support our staff to gain qualificaitons. What's important is getting to know your relative, and helping them to remain as independent as possible, living life as they would like too.
Dementia care requires specialist skills and very special people. We have created, HARMONY, an innovative training and development programme which involves staff, residents, families and healthcare professionals. The HARMONY principles are:
- H - Health and Well-being
- A - Active engagement
- R - Relationships
- M - Motivation
- O - Ownership
- N - New way of working
- Y - Your care, your way
Using the HARMONY approach alongside some simple changes to the environment help to have a dramatic effect on the quality of life achieved by our residents. We have seen:-
- Significant reduction in the number of unplanned admissions into hospital
- Reduction in the amount of food waste
- Reduction in the use of anti-psychotic medications
- Improvement in sleep patterns
- Improvement in continence
- Greater engagement between residents, staff and visitors
- Lower staff absence
Our staff are taught to be less task-focused and more person-centered in their approach to delivering care. We do more activities, including those related to everyday tasks. Staff are taught using formal training methods and experience-based learning. Staff are also supported to achieve nationally recognised qualifications in dementia care as part of the programme. Each home has identified Dementia Champions and we also include families and local healthcare professionals in the programme.
Dementia Friendly Environment
During 2013/4 we invested over £1m into helping to make our dementia care facilities more friendly for those with a dementia related condition.
- We introduced coloured crockery - it really makes a difference.
- Where possible, we improved our gardens with raised flower beds, interesting features and flat surfaces to make getting around straightforward. Patio doors were added to bedrooms and to dining areas so that residents can easily use our garden spaces.
- In some homes we installed a Sunlight Therapy Room. These very special rooms offer a little bit of real sunshine and have demonstrated very real health benefits for residents. Used in Sweden, the Real Sunlight equipment provides all the benefits of sunlight without any of the risks.
- Some of our furnture has been changed to include specialist dementia ranges and finishes.
- Where we can, we have made simple changes to the environment, for example provided coloured crockery (to encourage appetite), and rummage boxes with suitable sensory equipment and items related to the interests of individual residents. We have increased the amount of natural light available by using patio doors and increasing the accessibility of our outdoor spaces.
Latest dementia initiatives within Meridian
Rievaulx House is taking part in The Sporting Memories Network Project. The Sporting Memories Network are working with care homes across Leeds to test out an innovative approach to reminiscence therapy, which will look back at the city's rich sporting heritage.
The project, funded by Skills for Care Workforce Development Innovation Fund, has the support of Leeds City Council, NHS Airedale, Bradford and Leeds and Leeds Care Association. [photograph shows Sporting Memories Director Michael White with Bill Corbett - photograph courtesy of Sporting Memories Network]
Life Story Books: for some years, Meridian staff have worked with families to create Life Story Books for each resident with dementia. The Life Story Books provide a ready reference of interests, likes and dislikes and give a 'pen picture' of the resident. The value of this work is to help us create activities and discussions which are of interest to residents.
Dementia in the UK
There are currently 16.4 million people in the UK over the age of 65. Of these, 820,000 are living with dementia. It is estimated that around 10% of the UK's population with dementia live in the North West. This is set to increase according to the Alzheimer's Society. A third of those diagnosed are currently living in a care home with around 64% of those living in care homes suffering with some form of dementia. Current statistics show that around 163,000 new cases of dementia are diagnosed in England and Wales each year, that's approximately one new case every 3 minutes.
Dementia is a priority for Meridian Healthcare as we predominantly provide care for people over the age of 65 years. We are striving to ensure that our environments are safe, comfortable, stimulate and protect those most vulnerable in our care. We have made development of dementia skills amongst our staff a priority. With this in mind, we have developed HARMONY - a programme to train staff to meet the changing needs of our residents.