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at Kirk House

Kirk House Wins Prestigious Dementia Award

Staff at Kirk House have won a prestigious award which recognises their expertise in dementia care.  Kirk House won the 'Staff Team of the Year' Award on 4th February at the Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) NI Dementia Achievement Awards at the Europa Hotel which recognise organisations and individuals who have worked to improve the quality of life for people with living dementia. 

The team at Kirk House had been nominated by Shelagh McCaughan the daughter of one of the residents, who praised the care her mother receives, “My mum is resident in 'Memory Lane' where a trained, highly skilled team provide her with the highest possible standards of care. The most important thing for me is the way my mum is treated by every single member of staff throughout Kirk House - without exception they are generous, accepting, thoughtful and loving. They are also like this with residents' relatives, who are welcomed and cared for as well.”

Kirk House has recently adapted part of the building into ‘Memory Lane’, which will provide specialist care for people living with dementia.  As part of the changes, the staff team at Memory Lane have completed the innovative DSDC ‘Best Practice in Dementia Care’ development programme, and the changes they have implemented have made great improvements to the quality of life for residents.  The Best Practice programme has been so successful that all of the staff at Kirk House are going to complete the training in order to benefit all residents.

Manager Andrea Selby said, “We are all delighted with our achievement.  This is just the start of our journey to provide the best care and enhance the lives of our residents at Kirk House.  We are committed now to develop all our staff to be trained in ‘Best Practice in Dementia Care’.” 

Major changes have also been made to residents’ flats and communal areas, which combine a cutting edge approach to dementia design with a homely feel to make residents more comfortable and independent and reduce confusion.  Features such as using contrasting colours and bright lighting work alongside personal touches like letting residents choose the colour and number of their own front door to help them find their way.  These features also help with retaining memory.

The next stage in BCM’s commitment to improving care for older people and those with dementia will be Copelands, Dementia and Nursing Care in Millisle, Co. Down.  The development will provide specialist dementia and nursing care for people with dementia who are still physically active but require a secure and supportive environment and will be constructed according to the University of Stirling’s Gold Standard in dementia design. 

Sarah Penney, BCM Dementia Lead said, “The staff model which is in place within Memory Lane is similar to the approach planned for Copelands, Dementia and Nursing Care.  This care model alongside the staff training and a newly established relatives support and training forum has created a wonderful relationship with the residents’ relatives.  They are considered part of the team and we all think of ourselves as one big extended family.  Recent research has shown that it is the little things which make a difference to life in a care home and all of the approaches in Memory lane are helping to focus on 'the little things' which add up to such a big difference.”  Copelands has recently been awarded planning permission and it is hoped that construction work will begin later in 2015, with the doors opening to residents in 2016.

Find out more about the Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDCNI)