Feelings matter most

Posted on by Ricky

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.