People living with dementia generally need more support from care providers than those without. It’s therefore extremely important that care home operators understand how to provide outstanding care for residents living with dementia.
This Alzheimer’s Month (September 2021) Theresa McNally, Creative Practice Manager at CQC Outstanding rated dementia care specialist Vida Healthcare, shares her top tips for providing an outstanding level of care.
What is outstanding care?
Outstanding care is about self-awareness, training and education, and challenging ourselves to try and empathise with care home residents living with dementia. If we understand how they feel, it’s easier to deliver the level of care and compassion they require.
Outstanding care relies on a number of factors. A well designed care home, flexible care, and passionate, committed, and compassionate staff who really value the health and wellbeing of the people they care for.
Adaptability and the ability to reflect on the needs of individuals is crucial to ensure outstanding care is provided. This will enable care which is person-centred and flexes to the needs of each resident, no matter the level of care they require or where they are on their dementia journey.
Outstanding care is all about delivering care in a sympathetic and effective way, which makes it easier for staff to connect with residents. Insight and understanding into the experiences of care home residents is crucial, including up-to-date learning and an understanding of any symptoms and experiences.
Building an outstanding care home
Care home design is crucial in ensuring residents are happy, healthy and have a good quality of life. When designing and building a home, consider the needs of the people who will be living there during the design process, rather than just the building as a whole. This will ensure the right care can be given to the right people at the right time, as good design can impact people’s lives in a number of positive ways.
Care homes which feel like a home and offer a level of service beyond traditional care are much more likely to deliver outstanding care. A range of facilities can also create a feeling of homeliness, which gives residents different destinations and activities to keep them busy and occupied. This can include cinemas, hairdressers, and coffee shops.
This will also provide a level of continued normalcy which is vital, particularly when an individual has just moved to a care home or is living with dementia.
Staff are crucial
Providing opportunities for career development is very important, and encourages staff to consider social care as a career rather than just a job. This also drives passion when it comes to caring for society’s most vulnerable people, and ensures staff are committed to delivering best practice and learning new skills.
Investment in career opportunities will inspire more people to become interested in a role within social care, and make current carers feel supported in their ambitions. Showing compassion and interest in the personal development of employees will create a positive workplace culture and working environment which retains existing staff and attracts new talent.
While investment in career development and opportunities is important, the mental health of carers is also vitally important. Investment in mental health initiatives will ensure the health and wellbeing of staff is easier to maintain, give staff more time to interact with the people they care for on a personal level, and reduce pressures. Consider that if the workforce isn’t managed and looked after, how can they provide outstanding care to residents?
Coronavirus and the changes that have followed have meant that providing outstanding care in care homes has become increasingly challenging, particularly for people living with dementia. Care home operators can work together to develop a culture of learning amongst staff, greater understanding of the role of the care home environment, and how to deliver outstanding care.