Woodside Care Village in Warwick is staged like a town centre in miniature, with benches and a fountain, cafe tables and front doors to homes styled as either “town”, “country” or “classical”. But none of the places are quite what they seem, because here everything has a greater purpose: to improve the wellbeing of people with dementia.
Modelled on a groundbreaking Dutch experiment in looking after people with Alzheimer’s disease, the purpose-built facility, which opened in 2019, is quietly breaking new ground for a better kind of dementia care.
“Everything is dressed and staged to look familiar,” said Jo Cheshire, the communications manager for the home’s operator, WCS. “We try to make sure people aren’t severing their links with the past. We have one lady who works in the launderette with a badge, because that’s what she did before. It feels like they are contributing to the community.”
“The idea is you have freedom,” said Cheshire. “If you come upon a locked door it can increase agitation, that’s unsettling for the other residents and it makes the carer’s job harder.”
Staff ratios are higher than normal, at two staff for every five or six people rather than the usual one. This means staff can spend more time interacting with the residents.
Staff are briefed with a “this is me” document, which details the likes and dislikes of each person with dementia and has photos through their lives, the time they like to get up, when they like to eat.
A clinical trial of such “person-centred” dementia care in 69 care homes in London and Buckinghamshire published in 2020 showed that it improved quality of life for people with dementia and reduced agitation and the burden of depression or aggression. It also reduced hospital and GP visits.
Source: The Guardian, 30 December 2022
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