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Legion Care Home in Somerset given top award for dementia care

DEMENTIA care at a Legion-run home in Somerset has been branded “exceptional” by industry leaders.

Dunkirk Memorial House in Taunton was independently audited in the spring by Dementia Care Matters using the ‘Butterfly’ model featured on Channel 4’s Dementiaville.

The results have now been announced, with the home’s specialist dementia care wing, Dunkirk Mews, not only receiving its ‘Butterfly Homes 2017’ status, but also being classed as a ‘Level 1’ site in recognition of its “exceptional person-centred dementia care”.

Dementia Care Matters awards level standards rated from one to 10 in order of the level of care a home provides. Dunkirk Memorial House is now one of the very few care homes in the country to have attained this level of accreditation.

Anne Lewin, Manager of Dunkirk Memorial House, said: “We are all so proud of what we have achieved. Following the audit visit, we were told we had received the highest rating.

“From a personal view the project [introducing the butterfly model] has been very challenging but also rewarding. We have seen some of our staff shine like stars in the way they provide truly exceptional standards of care meeting the emotional and physical needs of their residents.”

The butterfly project is run by Dementia Care Matters and is a year-long process which involves staff training. A Dementia Care Matters consultant was assigned to the home throughout the process and they offered suggestions as to what could be improved at the home.

The staff and management team looked at the environment, and the way in which care is provided, to ensure that the resident’s emotional needs were fully met and that their lives are full of purpose – being occupied and feeling part of a family community.

In particular a large central area of the home was divided up to provide a homely, comfortable and colourful seating area featuring lots of items to stimulate conversation and enjoyment.

Three different corridors were also transformed into small ‘household’ areas to allow a degree of ownership and pride for the residents. In consultation with residents, staff chose colour schemes for different areas with many giving up their own time to help to paint and decorate.

The result is that each ‘household’ now has its own identity.

As part of the review process staff were trained to find out about each residents’ life story to help them create memory boxes. These boxes aim to show residents what they have achieved in their lives.

Staff changed activities from a formal structured programme of large activities to a system where residents themselves help out with household chores such as cooking and cleaning, laying the table and helping in the garden – as well as singing and dancing.

“We’ve found that our residents are much happier,” added Anne.

The auditor remarked: “Spending a day at the Mews is an inspiring reminder that it really is possible to live well with dementia and that to move into a care Home doesn’t have to be a time of despair and loneliness.

“There is a wonderful sense of a group of people sharing the day like friends and family and this first impression was sustained and enhanced throughout the rest of the day.  It is a home with lots of affection, laughter and companionship. The environment and natural flow into a beautiful outside garden is a feast for the senses showing real attention to maximising people’s independence, freedom and wellbeing.”

Dunkirk Mews was opened in 2014 and provides 24-hour dedicated personal care for people living with dementia. There are 30 single bedrooms, all with en suite / shower facilities. The Mews has three wings of 10 bedrooms. Each wing has its own lounge, dining room and bathroom. The site also features a hairdressers.

Meanwhile, Maurice House in Kent – another Legion run home – received a Level 4 rating from Dementia Care Matters for the care and support it offers.

The Royal British Legion supports serving members of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families.

If you need help, call our Contact Centre helpline on 0808 802 8080 from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week (calls are free from UK landlines and main mobile networks) for all enquiries.

For further information on the range of services offered by The Royal British Legion visit: www.britishlegion.org.uk

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

For further information, and interview opportunities, please contact Anne Lewin, Manager of Dunkirk Memorial House, on 01823 432407 or ALewin@britishlegion.org.uk

Alternatively contact Tristan Nichols, Public Relations Officer (South), The Royal British Legion on tnichols@britishlegion.org.uk or telephone: 0333 011 4227 / 07920 378592.

In July 2015 Galanos House – The Royal British Legion’s care home in Warwickshire – featured in the Channel 4 documentary, ‘Dementiaville’. The three-part series looked at how the perplexing disease works and uncovered the radical new treatments in to memory loss.

The Royal British Legion’s work is encapsulated in its motto: Live On – to the memory of the fallen and the future of the living. The Legion is the nation’s biggest Armed Forces charity providing care and support to all members of the British Armed Forces past and present and their families. It is the national custodian of Remembrance and safeguards the Military Covenant between the nation and its Armed Forces. It is well known for the annual Poppy Appeal, and its emblem the red poppy. www.britishlegion.org.uk

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