Person-centred holistic care in Bramley

PUBLISHED: 11:26 24 November 2015 | UPDATED: 11:26 24 November 2015


At the other end of the life spectrum, a person may have to rely on others to provide for their personal care as they get older

Good parenting encompasses the personal care, nutrition and safety of a child. As the child grows, it is vital to treat them as an individual – nurturing their strengths and supporting their weaknesses, encouraging their hobbies and interests and celebrating their individuality. As the child gains independence they take on the responsibility for themselves.

At the other end of the life spectrum, a person may have to rely on others to provide for their personal care as they get older. It is easy for a carer to lose sight of what makes the person an individual and just provide for what we feel they need, rather than finding out what they’d actually like. It can be difficult for staff to make the time to really get to know the whole person and what makes them an individual.

Holistic care is a high priority at Birtley House, enabling the multi-disciplinary team to work together to facilitate the best possible care for residents: a counsellor to support residents, their families and staff; a chaplain to support spiritual needs; companions to accompany residents to appointments; volunteers and befrienders to sit and have a chat with residents or join them for a stroll in the grounds; an activities team; physiotherapy and a range of complimentary therapies, such as massage.

Recently, further enhancing the Holistic care Birtley provide, a new role of Wellbeing Mentor has evolved as a direct result of an exciting research project, that some of the care staff team have been involved in. The RIPE project was being run by the International Care Ethics Observatory at the University of Surrey, in collaboration with the Ethox Foundation, which is an independent registered charity with an international reputation in applied ethics. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of different types of ethics education in supporting care givers, in the delivering of ethical care in residential care homes for older people.

As part of the study, some members of the care staff team attended a weekend at the University and undertook the role of a vulnerable person; each with different types of care needs, reliant upon others to have those care needs met. One of the care assistants undertook the role of a vulnerable lady in a wheelchair who had to live with a right sided weakness, following a stroke. The role of ‘care giver’ was undertaken by student nurses. The study gave carers a powerful and valuable insight into how it feels to be reliant on others for care and the emotional challenges faced.

The Wellbeing Mentor will work alongside the nursing and activities teams, to enhance the person-centred, holistic care - the benefit of promoting the health, wellbeing, spirituality and the quality of life of residents is priceless. Birtley House must give them a purpose and a sense of self-worth by ensuring that they feel, know and see that they matter. The Wellbeing Mentor will spend one-to-one time with residents, learning all about who they are as individuals and creating life stories. Happiness promotes a feel good factor. We all know that being able to laugh is a great stress reliever. Enabling residents to smile and laugh, will provide some relief from whatever troubles they may carry.

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