Balhousie Clement Park Care Home in Dundee recently won the Living the Codes category at the 2018 Scottish Social Services Awards for their personalised environment for residents living with dementia. Yvonne Manson, Dementia Nurse Consultant tells us how they succeeded in bringing our Codes of Practice to life.
How do you use the Codes of Practice in your organisation?
Clement Park’s personalised environment aims to:
- create an environment that is chosen by the people who live in it, making it personalised to meet their needs
- make way finding easier so residents know where they are, where their desired location is and know how to get there
- provide a feeling of security and safety while making sure everyone feels included in decision making and promotes belonging and choice.
It is not about what the organisation wants, it’s about what the people who live and work in Clement Park want and what supports them to live as independently as possible. This change in environment supports both the workers and employers Codes and creates a positive impact for residents and staff who feel more involved in the environment and can celebrate the success stories together.
How do you go about this?
Our manager, Margaret ensures staff receive training to support a person-centred approach and working collaboratively. I work with staff who are Dementia Ambassadors to provide training on improving the environment and we work together with residents to find what works. Through the Dementia Ambassador programme, our ambassadors learn about communication and person-centred care from colleagues, residents, families and speakers from various organisations.
Employer Code 2 says the employer must have the culture and systems in place to support social service workers to meet the Code. Margaret supports this fully by encouraging staff to live the Codes as well as supporting staff to learn and develop and put things in place, which is employer Code 3.
The Codes talk about treating each person as an individual and protecting and promoting a person’s views and wishes as well as promoting independence. The Codes underpin this project as it’s about providing an enabling environment that supports the individual to feel safe, secure and have a sense of belonging.
The first area for development was the residents’ rooms. From the minute a resident chooses to move into Clement Park, they meet with staff to discuss how they would like their room. The resident chooses their own paint colours or wallpaper designs and can bring in any furniture or go shopping with staff for furniture or things they would like. The only limitation is what can fit in their room and staff will help with decorating where needed. This supports residents to feel safe and secure in their environment by having a place of safety and security that is theirs and theirs alone, which can be difficult in communal living. The project highlights the individuality of each person and you can see their character and personality in their decor and furnishing choices.
The focal areas in the home have taken longer as residents, families and staff come up with different ideas and these are debated and decided. Working together has meant lots of different focal areas and help to create them. These focal areas support residents to have some reminiscence time, space to be on their own, family time and engaged visits as well as fun and pride in their creation and using the areas.
The indoor garden supported those who preferred not to go outside for whatever reason and made what was a drab lift area into a bright and therapeutic place to sit and enjoy.
Using the Codes to promote the importance of individuality and supporting self-management has helped Clement Park residents, families and staff to create an enabling environment. This meets several of the Codes as staff ask for more training on things they want to look at, including more meaningful activities with a greater understanding of what the Codes are and how they can support resident outcomes and staff development.
Who is involved in your Codes activities?
Everyone connected to the home, residents, staff, families, management and visitors. The home lives the Codes and continuously promotes choice and belonging.
What impact do you hope/does this have?
By following the Codes and involving those who use the service in designing the environment, Clement Park has achieved personalised bedrooms which gives individuals security and safety, recognition and memories from the items in their room, creativity from the colour and fabric choices and helps staff find out more about the individual as each room is very different.
Staff received training in dementia with particular reference to supporting individuality, meaningful activities and personalised care which has resulted in meaningful items in each of the lounges, like old picture books of places the residents grew up, individual movies and music chosen by residents. This all adds to the enabling environment and creates that feeling of belonging and togetherness.
These are the focal areas created and designed by residents, families and staff.
- Dancing memories – this is small area in the corridor that has some dancing posters and a pair of dancing shoes with images of famous dancers, all selected by residents and families, and arranged to be something to stop and look at and spark memories for discussion.
- Seaside – this area has a large wooden seaside themed bench, a beach scene, bucket, spade and seashells. It is an area to rest with textured wallpaper and items to explore.
- Library – this area has seats, a reading light and a few select books to swap, as well as wallpaper that looks like lots of books. Having books to collect makes for a nice area to get some quiet reflective time and this is a popular area with many avid readers in Clement Park.
- Indoor garden – we created this as many residents are not keen to go outside but like looking at the garden through the window, so we brought the garden in. Residents chose various favourite items for the garden and it is popular not just with residents but also families and children who are visiting. There are lots of prompts for conversation, from chatting about wellies to different plants and even the hidden animals in the garden.
- Bird sanctuary – our big window brightens up the end of the corridor and has a chart of local wildlife birds, binoculars and a notebook so residents can write down what they have seen that day.
- Bus stop – this is somewhere residents can take a rest and see what is going on around them.
- Clubbie/bar area – this is the newest of the focal areas and is a popular one, complete with bar stools, drinks, TV, chairs and tables. It’s used by residents and families and is a good area where events and group activities can take place with a bit of fun.
Our Scottish Social Services Award for Living the Codes has created positiveness and pride among residents, families and staff who helped create it.
What will you do next?
We’ve many plans to create more focal areas and look at more meaningful activities; personalising the environment has been an ongoing project for a number of years and will continue to evolve.
We know there are examples across Scotland where employers and staff use the Codes of Practice to support their day-to-day practice and we’d like to hear about them.
We will share the case studies we collect so others can learn from your experience and get ideas on how they too can bring the Codes of Practice to life.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to share your example of using the Codes.