13th June

Feelings matter most

When a person enters a care environment, it is important they feel as happy and comfortable as possible in their new setting. Much of the stigma attached to nursing homes is a fear of institutionalisation; a loss of independence and having decisions made for you.

 

While routines have their place, the attention given to the feelings of those living in care homes is often downgraded below more ‘service-led’ practices. But the emotional wellbeing of a person has just as much of an impact on their quality of life as any physical or medical needs.

 

Language, for example, is hugely emotive. Here at the Huntington and Langham Estate, we are constantly making strides in the way we interact with the people living and working here.

 

We are now one of a number of care homes in the UK that has adopted the pioneering Butterfly Model. Created by Dr David Sheard, the founder of Dementia Care Matters, the model aims to disrupt the ‘us and them’ culture usually found within traditional care and is led by the ethos that ‘Feelings Matter Most’.

 

For some people, the need to move into residential care may come at a time when they are no longer able to live independently but are still more than capable of making decisions related to their own wellbeing. So, we have taken the decision to no longer use the term ‘resident’ for the people that live here – they are just that, people, and we want to ensure we’re not labelling them or talking about them as though they are tasks; diminishing any sense of worth.

 

Our staff no longer wear uniforms so there is no differentiation between those that live and work here; we are committed to creating a home-from-home environment and give everyone a voice which is valued.

 

By adopting the Butterfly Model and encouraging such a culture change across the whole care home environment, we are hoping it will enable everyone to flourish; helping the people that live here to retain their independence and be involved in their own decision-making, even down to the marmalade they have at breakfast. Everyone has their own personal preference, and this is important. It really is the little things that make a place feel like home.

 

The risk in any care environment is that people’s medical and personal care needs are prioritised, but we forget about their psychological needs; their overall wellbeing and the fact there is more to people than their diagnosis. Ultimately, our goal is to create a culture where people are doing things because they want to, not just because they’re being paid to; because they’re driven by compassion and love, not policies and routines.

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