Industry Insights

Care home provider elevates dementia awareness

November 9, 2023

Care home provider elevates dementia awareness

Leading Scottish care provider, Meallmore Ltd, is introducing dementia supportive spaces in several homes across the country, which are designed to transform the way in which communities approach dementia.

Care homes Greenan Manor in Ayr and Crimond House in Fraserburgh have launched dementia cafés over the summer. These specialised cafés are supported by Alzheimer’s Scotland and aim to create dementia-friendly experiences for older people, connect with communities, improve awareness, and upskill staff.

Greenan Manor piloted the café, called Let’s Connect, which provides a space for those living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias to participate in dementia-friendly activities and receive information with family and friends in a safe and supportive zone. In addition to tea and coffee, this includes arts and crafts, board games and puzzles, which are adapted for residents’ abilities and cognitive levels. The Let’s Connect Café has been used for meetings with families, as well as offering space for local healthcare professionals to discuss dementia care. Greenan Manor plans to extend access to its dementia café to members of the public in the autumn.

Crimond House is in the early stages of establishing its own dementia café and other Meallmore homes have introduced similar supportive spaces, building on the care home group’s leading work in delivering personalised care to residents with the condition.

The cafés have been launched as part of the ‘Strive, Achieve and Excellence’ framework, which was established by Meallmore in 2016 and allows the provider’s 26 care homes to trial projects tailored to the needs of their residents. The framework, which is not limited to dementia, gives each care home the opportunity to integrate the latest and best practices into their care and can, ultimately, influence business-wide change.

An example of this includes the use of the Pool Activity Level (PAL) Instrument; an Occupational Therapist-designed framework used to deliver activities in a manner customised to the different stages of dementia. This ensures people living with dementia can participate in all kinds of activities, such as baking and arts and crafts, in a way that makes sense to them. Meallmore initially trialled the PAL framework at St Olaf Care Home in Nairn to great success, resulting in a company-wide roll-out.

Hazel O’Rourke, Meallmore’s Quality Director said: “Sadly, there are around 90,000 people with a dementia diagnosis in Scotland and people living with dementia account for around 66% of the current care home population[1].

“The most important thing we can do for people living with the condition is to provide them with the best care we possibly can. At Meallmore, we’re committed to supporting those living with dementia by working to create a compassionate environment and community where dignity is nurtured, identities are preserved and a sense of belonging is fostered.

“It’s not only our mission to bring comfort and connection to those entrusted in our care, but also to educate, listen to and support the families, healthcare professionals and community that interact with those living with dementia. We wish to bring our families closer together and improve the lives of the people that we care for.”

Louise Robertson, Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Advisor, South Ayrshire said: “I was delighted to offer support and guidance to the new Let’s Connect Café at Meallmore’s Greenan Manor. It’s such a positive project and enables people to get together and share their experiences.

“These cafés are so important for people with dementia and their families. Not only do they provide a safe space to relax and socialise, but they also offer the opportunity for peer support.”  

Staff at several Meallmore care homes across Scotland have also participated in specialist sensory training. This involves a 2.5-hour session experiencing what it feels like to live with dementia. Colleagues are placed into a dementia experiential environment and asked to perform certain everyday tasks. The training provides insight into the daily lives of people with dementia, allowing colleagues to better understand how to support their needs and further improve their care.

Following the session is a debrief that provides key information about dementia and a reflection session discussing how care can be adapted to suit residents with the condition. Training has already taken place at St Modans in Fraserburgh, Auchtercrag in Ellon and Kincaid House in Greenock, with a plan to deliver the experience to other homes across Scotland.

Since opening its first care home, Daviot Care Home (formally known as Meallmore Lodge) in Inverness in 1987, Meallmore has grown to become one of Scotland’s leading care providers. Meallmore currently has a network of 26 care homes across Scotland, including offering care for the elderly, specialising in dementia, and adults with mental health diagnosis.

[1] Mental Health Policy (Scottish Government)

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