For those care homes looking to improve their person-centred care there are now two tools to help which appear, at first glance, to be doing the same thing: providing a quick at-a-glance view of a person’s needs and preferences in their room. Both systems ensure that all members of staff and visiting professionals interacting with a resident are quickly aware of the small things that can make a big difference. Both have won awards for the simple and effective way in which they assist delivery of person-centred care.
Where they differ is in how the information is collected and shared. The Care Charts have a laminated surface on which information can be written, wiped off and updated whenever required. Mycarematters profiles are created / updated online and printed out.
There are pros and cons for both systems, but the one significant advantage of Mycarematters Profiles is that they can easily be shared with other services. The simplest way is to supply a printout, but it is also quick and easy for anyone with the person’s name, date of birth and Mycarematters code to retrieve a person’s profile from online. So when a hospital phones to ask for information about one of your residents because the printout has gone missing, you can just provide the resident’s Mycarematters code and point hospital staff in the direction of the online facility.
There are other benefits offered by Mycarematters Profiles. There is space to add information about Advance Care Plans, DNARs, Power of Attorney for each resident and more, providing a central record of information that is quick and convenient to access when needed. You will be able to give family members access to their relative’s profile so they can view and contribute to the information held.
People like to work in different ways so what works best for one environment is not necessarily the best for another. It may be appropriate to use both: hang a laminated chart in your residents’ bedrooms for updating by hand, and create online profiles that can go with a resident in the event they need a stay in hospital.
Whichever method you choose, you’ll be helping your staff and others to better meet a person’s needs when they are unable to express those things for themselves: enabling everyone interacting with them to engage in meaningful conversation, to know their likes and dislikes, to make an emotional connection. It’s the least they deserve.
Contact us to chat through the options and special offers available.
We’ve all experienced that feeling when our muscles remember how to do something we thought our minds had forgotten, perhaps riding a bike or swinging a tennis racket. We may assume that an individual with dementia soon loses access to these memories along with names, places or facts, but our motor memories (or muscle memories) are actually amongst the last parts of our brains to be affected by dementia. This means that an individual may still be able to recall movements stored long ago in their muscle memories. Lisa Krieger of Mercury News tells the story of Jim Byerlee, an 84-year-old living with dementia, who was taken to play golf by his care home staff. Jim was able to swing a golf club with all the accomplishment of a retired athlete.
Like Jim, everyone has been touched by sport in some way, whether playing it, watching it, on TV or attending live events. As Tony Jameson-Allen, co-founder and director of The Sporting Memories Foundation, says ‘You don’t have a choice, everyone has memories of sport’. Sporting Memories advocate the importance of sport, not only to keep older people active, but as a way to encourage positive emotions and a sense of community through reminiscence. They work with care homes, libraries and other communities to organise groups sessions at which older people can discuss their own experiences of sport. Sporting Memories provides resources and training to staff to help them trigger memories and draw on the positive emotional impact sport can have. As Jameson-Allen explains, ‘one of the best ways to spark memories is other people’s memories’; they focus on the strengths of people with dementia: their long-term memories.
Sporting Memories discovered that talking about sport motivated participants to be active, and now organises reminiscence sessions followed by physical activities, including walking, football and curling. Joyce, a 96-year-old erstwhile ice dancer, is one such motivated person. She was taken to an ice rink by a member of her care home staff and, by using an adaptive frame, was able to experience all the sensations of being on the ice again.
Physical movement can play a vital role in improving the quality of life of an individual with dementia. It encourages physical and mental stimulation, can prevent depression and assists with sleep. Many organisations have discovered the power of active care and the numerous ways it can be tailored for all ages and abilities.
The Bat Foundation describes exercise, or more specifically table tennis, as a ‘drug free Alzheimer’s therapy’. As part of their research, a team of neurologists took MRI scans to compare the brains of people with dementia who play table tennis and those who don’t. The scans revealed that certain parts of the brain light up dramatically in those who had just played table tennis; the concentration and co-ordination required to play the game stimulates the hippocampus and can delay cognitive decline. As a result, they have designed a table tennis table specifically for people with dementia, using colour contrasts to aid sight and side panels to assist with play. Annie Ingram, a voracious player, comments, ‘I can do this, I’m loving it!’.
Another sport which appeals to all ages is swimming and is known to have a positive impact on people with dementia, particularly because water offers a feeling of being weightless, thereby relaxing the body. But a public pool may be a daunting environment for someone with dementia and their carer. The Dementia Friendly Swimming Project aims to make swimming pools a safe and welcoming environment for people with dementia. They work across the UK, creating a network of dementia-friendly pools by producing guidance and offering training to swimming staff to achieve this aim.
Dance, on the other hand, is an activity which can be brought directly into the care home. Alive!, based in Bristol, offer dance and movement sessions which focus on the potential this activity has to help older people express themselves when they are no longer able to fully communicate their feelings; it’s about using dance to interact with individuals through rhythm and music. Alive! also offer training programmes to staff to help them bring active care into their own care homes, and run ‘Active Care Forums’ across the South of England for anyone working with older people. Becoming a member of a forum is a great way to pool new ideas and share experiences, whilst also gaining access to training, support and resources on active care.
JABADAO is a somewhat more unusual organisation. SPAGOG, Seriously Playful Armchair Games for the Old and Gorgeous, is a league event which uses basic movements and games with the simple aim of making life better. This is how it works: JABADAO teach the games to carers to play with their residents, the carers return the scores to the organisation, and results are published online weekly so care homes, friends & family can see which team is leading. Two finalist teams play against each other for the famous SPAGOG cup. JABADAO specialise in creating activities for people in late stages of dementia, and offer training for carers to improve the non-verbal communications of these individuals. Contact JABADAO if you’d like organise a competition in your area.
All of the above organisations, and more – see links below – offer the opportunity not only to maintain or increase physical fitness, but to become part of a community and interact with others through a medium other than speech. As Tony Jameson-Allen says, ‘it’s about friendship and keeping people supported just as much as it is about sport itself’. When words are a struggle, it can be the things which do not require any words at all that can offer us the most support.
There are hundreds of care homes who have been using their Care Charts for over three years now, and we frequently get feedback as to what good value for money they offer.
Nevertheless, we understand the constraints cashflow can impose, and we’d like to do what we can to help you incorporate Care Charts into the daily life of your organisation.
So we are delighted to offer you the opportunity to spread your payment over up to 6 months*. Your payment schedule can be set up in a matter of minutes; just email us to say what you’d like to order and over how many months, or call us on 01403 210485 to chat it through if you prefer. It won’t cost you a penny more and you can delight your staff, inspectors, residents and their families with this care-enhancing device, whilst minimising the impact on your cashflow.
PJ Care’s decision to introduce Remember-I’m-Me Care Charts into the daily life of their neurological care centres means that over 800 care homes and hospitals are now using these award-winning communication tools. Trials have demonstrated that Care Charts not only increase the quality of life of those being cared for, but can also provide peace of mind for their relatives, and boost staff morale.
“I first came across Zoe’s charts when she was nominated for the Innovation Award in the Great British Care Awards” explained Jan Flawn, Founding Chair of PJ Care. “I was made aware of them via one of the category judges and it struck me immediately what a simple yet effective idea this was. We pride ourselves on maximising the quality of life of each person we care for, so our staff members are highly trained and we have excellent staff / resident ratios, but it’s still difficult to be absolutely sure that every member of our team is aware of – and kept up-to-date with – a resident’s needs and preferences when communicating is a challenge. We chose the Twist-N-View version of the charts because they allow us to make key information instantly available whenever a staff member needs it, and keep it private when not being referred to.”
“The first Remember-I’m-Me Care Chart was designed to assist in the care of my husband,” explained Zoe Harris. “He spent his final 13 months living with advanced dementia in a care home, unable to communicate his needs and preferences. The care home recognised the importance of collecting information about an individual, but had no reliable method by which to ensure the information was made available to all carers and any other members of staff interacting with their residents. That first design is still popular, but I was aware that in certain environments it was difficult to hang the chart in a discreet manner, so we developed the Twist-N-View to address this issue.
“I’m very proud that prestigious care providers like PJ Care have recognised the value of these cost-effective and simple to use charts, and that they are having a beneficial impact on the quality of life of more than 18,000 people and their families, as well as helping to boost staff morale.”
PJ Care is a leading provider of specialist neurological care and neuro rehabilitation for people aged eighteen and over with progressive or acquired neurological conditions.
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