Mhl Newspaper London News

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A newspaper to share and inspire best practice in care homes

Residents creating Valentines cards and Time for a Cuppa cards at Forrester Court

My Home Life is a Movement that cares deeply about quality of life for those who live, die, visit and work in care homes for older people. Through our Movement we are celebrating and sharing the good practice that already exists in care homes and seeking to inspire others to make improvements in line with these good ideas. Through our work across the UK, the Movement has been widely acknowledged for the difference it is making. My Home Life has crossed national borders and is now seeking to strengthen the Movement in London; in particular by helping care homes to network with each other, to share and learn from one another, and to celebrate the great work they are doing in supporting quality of life for Continued on Page 3

A story from Charlotte Schram Denville Hall, Northwood “All her life, my grandmother had been afraid of the water,” Charlotte remarks. “Then, at 88, she went into a care home: she had dementia and in the care home they encouraged lots of activities. One day my grandmother went swimming – and she really enjoyed it! Because of the dementia, she had forgotten her fear of the water.” It’s a story that has clearly inspired

Charlotte. She is now manager at Denville Hall, a care home for elderly actors. And, with the residents in the dementia wing there, Charlotte has been encouraging some new and interesting activities. “We have them using iPads at the moment,” she explains. Residents can tap on a virContinued on Page 2

Inspiring stories from managers across London Find out about the London Movement and see how you can join! Hear about the exciting work My Home Life have done across London so far


A World in Bloom cont. from p1

The My Home Life evidence base:

1. MAINTAINING IDENTITY: Working creatively with residents to maintain their sense of personal identity and engage in meaningful activity.

2. SHARING DECISION-MAKING: Facilitating informed risk-taking and the involvement of residents, relatives and staff in shared decision-making in all aspects of home life.

3. CREATING COMMUNITY: Optimising relationships between and across staff, residents, family, friends and the wider local community. Encouraging a sense of security, continuity, belonging, purpose, achievement and significance for all.

4. MANAGING TRANSITIONS: Supporting people both to manage the loss and upheaval associated with going into a home and to move forward.

5. IMPROVING HEALTH AND HEALTHCARE: Ensuring adequate access to healthcare services and promoting health to optimise residents quality of life.

tual ‘keyboard’ to create a sequence of musical notes; each note is accompanied by a coloured circle that blooms softly toward the edges of the screen. “They absolutely enjoy making music and colours with the iPad.” The iPads are a small but good example of how Charlotte and the team at Denville are approaching dementia. her something every morning: something “When somebody stops talking, stops from the garden, some flowers maybe, or communicating... you herbs like chives and “We’ve had residents who’ve reach to the senses basil. One morning, I that are still intact by been silent for months, who had brought her some using touch, feelings, simply haven’t spoken – who lavender and she soft talking, music, spoke – just one word are now talking again.” light effect...” – she said ‘happy’. It Another key sensory activity is mas- was because of what she was smelling: sage, which can be combined with the those scents from the garden. She had aluse of fragranced essential oils. “We’re ways had such a great love of the outdoor accessing all the senses that are available. world, you see.” We know that we have to deliver care to Less than a year later, the imthe person within.” provement in Dorothy’s condition is The approach has produced some remarkable. She is no longer in such dramatic results. “We’ve had residents poor health. She is eating and drinking who’ve been silent for months, who by herself and communicating again simply haven’t spoken – who are now – something which took many people talking again.” by surprise. One day, when the doctor One lady in particular, Dorothy, was visiting her, Dorothy said out loud, was considered to be near the end of her ‘There’s a gentleman in my room.’ life, in poor health. She was not eating “The doctor almost fell over backor drinking for herself. Her communi- wards!” Charlotte remembers, “Until cation had shut down almost entirely. In that moment, he hadn’t heard her speak Charlotte’s first six months, Dorothy had in a very long time.” The name of the resspoken to her only twice. “I used to bring ident in question has been changed.

6. SUPPORTING GOOD END OF LIFE: Valuing the ‘living’ and ‘dying’ in care homes and helping residents to prepare for a ‘good death’ with the support of their families.

7. KEEPING WORKFORCE FIT FOR PURPOSE: Identifying and meeting ever-changing training needs within the care home workforce.

8. PROMOTING A POSITIVE CULTURE: Developing leadership, management and expertise to deliver a culture of care where care homes are seen as a positive option. 2

With very grateful thanks to all those who have contributed their time, energy and enthusiasm to this newspaper, especially our Innovation Champions who have helped us create the newspaper and our funders City Bridge. My Home Life is led by Age UK in partnership with City University and Dementia UK and is supported by the Relatives and Residents Association and all the National Provider Organisations representing care homes across the UK. With special thanks to: Stories from our London care homes: Mandy Leggate, Ventakesh Arthanary, Audrey Parathan, Gracy Bhoopalan, Ann Noreen Bird, Sue Ann Jones, Edward Bunning, Jessie Khan, Charlotte Schram, Patricia Waldron, Kulvinder Sidhu, Patricia Fyfe, Susan Njeri Maruri and Hazel Greenway Illustrations by Will Blower

A story from Jessie Khan Abbey Care Home, Romford “When one of the residents approached me, asking if there was something more they could do in the home, we sat down together to discuss the idea, and find something that they’d enjoy. Now we have a few residents and relatives taking on different roles around the home” says Jessie Khan, manager at Abbey Care Home.

“We have been encouraging everyone to do things. For example, Brian is responsible for setting the table for dinner every day. Two other residents look after the folding of laundry and bed linen. One former resident used to take charge of peeling potatoes, having mastered the task during his time in the Merchant Navy! Meanwhile, out in the garden, Roger is in charge of growing the fruit and vegetables at Abbey; if his last batch of strawberries and tomatoes are anything to go by, he’s doing an excellent job. It deWhy do you do the job that you do? To make a difference. A lot of people seem to have a negative view of care homes initially – they don’t think they’ll be happy here. But we sometimes take residents in on a trial basis, and after the trial is over they don’t want to go home!

In conversation with...

SUSAN NJERI MARURI KENWOOD CARE HOME How long have you been working in social care? I’ve been in the industry for 13 years now. How did you get into it? I had previously been in a completely different line of work, as a tour operator. I entered the care industry at an admin level – and I realised quickly it was a field I wanted to work in. So I’ve stayed in the industry, and worked my way up to being a care home manager.

What’s the best thing about your job? Just seeing the residents happy and knowing I’ve played a part in that happiness. I like it too when the relatives come to visit. Sometimes you get the impression that they’re not expecting to see their mum or dad doing well, but they get here and see them playing cards, or having a chat, or reading a book, or having a nice meal with the other people – and then they relax, because they know their mum or dad is happy here. We get thank you cards from the relatives sometimes, and that means a lot to us. When things are tough, what gets you through? You have to have a good team around you. That’s the important thing. What one change in your world would you like to see most? I’d like to see more training and experience for the social workers. For example, they should come to do work placements in care homes first. They need to understand what it’s really like, what the real challenges are, what’s possible and what’s not. They need to listen to the people on the frontline.

pends on the residents: some don’t want to get involved, but for those who have joined in, it’s proved to be a rewarding process. They really seem to benefit. This sharing of roles, increases the sense of belonging within the home.” How do you relax when not working? I love reading; I like thrillers. I also like films, I go to the cinema when I can. And I’m very active – I have my weekly zumba class. How do you maintain a work-life balance? I get up early! And I set myself targets. Like on the weekends, with zumba – you have your routines and you stick to them. The Movement moves to London London cont. from p1 residents, relatives and staff. The success of our Movement relies upon your energy and enthusiasm. We know that you are already doing an amazing job, but this Movement needs YOU! If we can work together we can support improvements and help the public better understand the vital role that you have in caring for some of the most vulnerable citizens in our society. Included in this Newspaper is a series of stories based around the evidence base that underpins My Home Life. It gives you an opportunity to hear some of the stories of great practice. Some of the names in the stories have been changed, but essentially the stories are from your colleagues in London. You can read more about My Home Life on our website: See the back page to find out how you can get involved in spreading the word.


How long have you been working in room. So I went out and bought a few things for her and we made her room the social care? way she wanted it. Now she practises her Since 2007. religion in there every day. How did you get into it? I was previously in a completely different When things are tough, what gets line of work – I had a job in media. But you through? my wife was working in the care home in- I have very good support from the care home dustry and I realised that I was attracted provider. Also, I try to relax, even when to that. So perhaps you could say I didn’t things are very stressful – it’s best to deal with things when you are calm and relaxed. choose the job – it chose me! Why do you do the job that you do? I like working in a busy environment, where you learn new things every day. All the time I’m meeting new people; learning how I can help and support them.


What one change in your world would you like to see most? There needs to be more hours in the day!

How do you relax when not working? I’m happiest spending time with my What’s the best thing about your job? family; I have a five-year old daughter. It’s great when you can really see that you’ve been able to help someone. We How do you maintain a work-life have a lady who came to us recently and balance? she really wanted her room to be a cer- It’s difficult, of course. But even though tain way – her religion is very important this is not always the easiest job, I get a to her, so she needed certain things in her lot of satisfaction from it.

A story from Sue Ann Jones, Forrester Court, Paddington Residents at Forrester Court were invited to tell their life stories recently – by being asked about what they had done with their hands. More than thirty residents with dementia or other mental health issues took part in the project, which was created and developed by Hester Jones, a photographer from Westminster Arts. The result of the project is a truly wonderful book, titled A Show of Hands, which combines words and images to breath-taking effect: each page contains an elegant summary of a resident’s story, alongside a beautiful 4

photograph of their hands. During the early sessions Hester was joined by a trained reflexologist, Faye Penford, who treated the residents to some hand-reflexology. As Hester explains: “It was a really good way to engage with the residents and to help them relax. And of course, it got them thinking about their hands.” Copies of the book are now on display around Forrester Court. “Whenever any of our visitors see the book, they always want to know more about it,” says care home manager Sue Ann Jones – and the residents are only too happy

to answer any questions. “They’re very proud to show off their hands and talk about their stories. It really helped them remember parts of their life they had maybe forgotten. It gave them a strong sense of their identity, thinking about all these things they had done with their hands – things they had done with their lives.”

In Southwark, as in other parts of London and the UK, My Home Life (MHL) is delivering a Leadership Support and Community Development (LSCD) Programme for care home managers. This programme offers a safe and confidential space for managers to explore issues and concerns at work and facilitates them to learn from each other and reflect on new ways of working. This action learning process is key to care home managers feeling less isolated and more able to manage and lead quality improvements in their homes. By empowering the managers, the leaders in care homes, the right conditions are being created to achieve quality of life for residents, relatives and staff. The LSCD programme also increases the confidence of care home managers to tackle together some of the

‘blocks’ to quality improvement within the wider health and social care system. It does this by bringing them together with National Health Service and Local Authority colleagues to work on local problems in a positive way: helping them to understand each other’s context; value and respect each other more; and learn to work in better partnership, going forward. Annie Stevenson has been leading this work in Southwark and a number of issues were identified on which to work together: (1) Monitoring (2) Integrated working (3) Safeguarding (4) Future ways of working better together Initially work focussed on involving providers in developing a new agreement for working together. A clear vision was

agreed with a set of core values from which behaviours were identified which would translate into better partnership working. After this a Safeguarding Stakeholder event was held, involving care homes and all the key stakeholders from health and social care. By working in partnership with the Safeguarding Board and bringing in the British Geriatric Society through Professor Finabarr Martin, My Home Life was able to facilitate a transformative session with some clear action points for everyone to take forward. This led to some really good outcomes and, as Annie explained “Southwark has now asked MHL to help a mixed group, (including Health and voluntary sector) work on the action points together and spread the learning about healthy relationships from the Safeguarding conference across the whole of Social Services”. The power of fostering positive relationships should not be underestimated!

Who are Innovation Champions?

These hands are seventy-eight years old, they belong to a caring lady called Nimala, from Sri Lanka, who is a qualified nurse: her hands have cared for many people. They are also the hands of a mother, a grandmother and a great great grand mother. They are the hands of a Buddhist. Nimala remembers her work in St Mary’s Hospital Paddington where she lifted a lot of ladies: now she is bedbound: “We didn’t have all that equipment that they have now, it’s too late to regret”. Nimala misses being able to make a cup of tea for herself. Now she has back problems after slipping down the stairs. She was not always a nurse, “I used to work in Harrods in the confectionary department. I used to get chocolate half price.” She has enjoyed visiting many places including Scotland, India, France and many places in Sri Lanka. From A Show of Hands: Nimala Bandara’s story

Our Innovation Champions are a group of care home managers who have been working with us to create a My Home Life London Network. Passionate about care homes and sharing good practice, these managers have generously given their time to help shape our work.


A story from Ann-Noreen Bird, Mile End Hospital “I can say hand on heart that my Ann Noreen’s unit recently won an team is one of the most loyal teams there award for Team of the Month. It was also is,” she says. “We just work hard, all of runner up in the vote for Best (student) us. We’re a cohesive team and we try Placement Unit. to do our very best, She says, “The “I can say hand on heart that every day.” patients are the centre my team is one of the most of my working life – Although AnnNoreen Bird is not a loyal teams there is... We just but I always aim to care home manager, work hard, all of us. We’re a keep my staff happy, she is the manager cohesive team and we try to do too. That’s very imof a continuing care portant. If it wasn’t our very best, every day.” unit within the NHS, for such good staff, it where older people with severe dementia would be a very difficult place to manage.” and behavioural problems are catered for. Ann-Noreen often pops over to Tesco to pick up cakes and snacks for the parties held regularly in the unit. An entertainer is due to visit the unit for their next event. “It’s something for the patients and the staff to enjoy,” she says. But teamwork isn’t just about the staff who work for her, explains AnnNoreen. “We have very good support from our senior managers, too. Whatever is happening, they come and support us.” Some of those senior managers will even be at their next party. But perhaps it’s no surprise – after all, it seems AnnNoreen’s unit has gathered a bit of a reputation... Adds Ann-Noreen: “What we do here – and do very well – are parties! We have a summer party, a Christmas party... In the hospital, we are known as the place to go if you want a party!”


In March this year, the My Home Life UK movement met together for an inspired two-day retreat in Central London. Tom Owen, co-director of My Home Life, explains the background to the event: “Given that high quality relationships between residents, relatives and staff are at the heart of good practice in care homes; it is vital that we also create the same positive connections between care homes, the public, and the wider health and social care system. The retreat offered an opportunity for such relationships to develop. Care home managers, from all around the UK, came together to share the challenges they face and to connect with and influence some of the national stakeholders representing organisations that regulate, commission or support care homes. By helping care homes feel properly understood and valued by the organisations that surround them; we hope they will feel less like ‘islands of old’ and develop strength and confidence to take forward improvements in their homes and practice”. One manager spoke of how her experience with My Home Life had changed her life and her home: “My Home Life helps us “ looks at our practice in a different way to any other people that come into the home. It focuses on the positives...” It was an important meeting for the other stakeholders, too. The question to the wider stakeholders was: ‘How can we collectively create the conditions that will enable care homes to do their very best?’ For many of those stakeholders, the retreat will have been the first time they’ve had the opportunity to hear directly from care home managers, the people on the

Why do you do the job that you do? To make a difference. When I started out, it seemed that elderly people didn’t have a voice. Since I’ve started working in the industry, that’s changed so much – for the better. There’s now more respect for people’s dignity and for their right to make choices about where they live and how they live. But we’ve had to keep making more improvements in that direction and we have to make sure that older people’s voices continue to be heard. What’s the best thing about your job? Although things are very busy, I always spend one hour of every day talking with my residents – those relationships are very important to me. And 90% of the time, when I go home at the end of the day, I come away feeling like I’ve made a difference.

frontline. As Tom said “Helping them to learn about the day to day challenges that care home managers face is key to them realising what needs to happen to support improvements.” A lot of our care home managers spoke of the profound feeling of being with others who shared the same passion and also the same struggles. “Thank you for organising this retreat. It was very enjoyable and great to re-energise. I hope you know how valuable your work is” Care Home Manager from My Home Life Derbyshire. The results of the retreat are already beginning to surface: As a result of the dialogue with care home managers, the Care Quality Commission have been in touch to explore how they can work more closely with My Home Life to take on board some of the messages being put out there. Tom explained “It’s a fantastic achievement that a lot of the managers will be delighted by. We’ve also been contacted by a number of the other stakeholders, who are saying they want to find ways of working with My Home Life more closely.”

When things are tough, what gets you through? The staff. We’re very mutually supportive of one another. We did a lot of work on the Gold Standards Framework, and that’s really helped. It’s helped us to recognise when our colleagues might need more support. So when I’m having a bad day, my team see that, and they respond to it. Even in little ways, like they’ll bring me more cups of tea – but it makes a real difference, just knowing you’ve got that support.

PATRICIA FYFE WOODLANDS CARE HOME How long have you been working in social care? Since 1979! How did you get into it? I was very young when I came into the industry – 17. At that time it was seen as a good vocation; there were lots of young girls taking it up as a profession. And I’ve worked my way since then to a managerial position.

What one change in your world would you like to see most? I’d like to spend more time with the residents. And in order to do that, there needs to be less paperwork and less bureaucracy. How do you relax when you’re not working? I like gardening. It’ll be a late start this year – there’s plenty of bulbs ready to go in the ground now. And I like cycling too, out on the country lanes. How do you maintain a work-life balance? It’s difficult to maintain the balance – maybe that will be something I try to change in the future – but right now it’s ok, because this is something I’ve chosen.


A story from Patricia Waldron Waldron, Apple Tree Court, Edgware “If someone is moving into a new home, they’ve got to feel like it’s their home,” says Patricia Waldron at Apple Tree Court. Which is why she encourages new residents to bring so many of their favourite things with them. “It might be a chair or a coffee table, pieces of jewellery, some photographs or pictures – anything that helps them remember ‘this is my life.’” So when, four years ago, Patricia learned that Sally was planning to join them without the most important thing in her life, she knew that something had to be done. There was no time for pussyfooting around the issue – because the ‘thing’ in question was Tara the cat. Sally, from Stockton on Tees, had chosen a care home in north London to be nearer her niece, a community nurse

been devastated. So we decided that Tara had to come too.” Making it possible for Tara to move into Apple Tree Court wasn’t easy or straightforward. Patricia and her team had to look at the rules, and they had to challenge the idea that “things have always been done a certain way.” They had to ensure that any changes they made were in the best interests of all the residents. They had to write a new policy, from scratch and win approval for that policy. “We got their room here kitted out to be just like their living room in Stockton who lives and works in the area. “When on Tees,” Patricia says. “Neither of them I first talked to Sally and her niece about seemed to notice any difference.” the move, they thought that Tara would After four happy years together in have to be taken in by one of Sally’s neigh- their new home, Tara passed away peacebours.” At that point fully in February of “She was already giving up in time, there were this year. Now that no pets at Apple Tree so much as part of the move: a pet policy exists, her home, her town, her Court; there was no the door – or rather, policy for them. “But friends... to have left her cat the cat flap – is wide it was clear that Tara behind as well, she would open. “Tara was meant everything to just the start,” says have been devastated.” her. She was already Patricia, “there is algiving up so much as part of the move: ready a new kitten on the block, Ginger her home, her town, her friends... to have Biscuit, who has happily made himself at left her cat behind as well, she would have home with another resident.”

NEWS FROM LIZ JONES, REDBRIDGE LOCAL AUTHORITY How has Redbridge benefited from My Home Life? First of all, we’ve had positive feedback from care home managers about the impact of the Leadership Programme. One of them told us: ‘The programme has helped with empowering residents to live happy, fulfilled and purposeful lives’ and ‘members of staff now see themselves as special.’ What about MHL’s Community Development Programme? This helped us get commissioners and care home managers together to explore quality in care homes. The My Home Life facilitator ran a series of quality focus groups for us and now some care home managers and commissioners are going to do the Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit (ASCOT) training with the University of Kent. 8

How will they use the toolkit? We’ll support managers to pilot ASCOT in their care homes; we think this will generate information about quality of life outcomes that will be useful both for managers and commissioners. Any other community development initiatives? Yes, My Home Life ran a workshop for us on older people’s transitions from care homes to hospital and vice versa, looking at how to improve those transitions for everyone involved. How did that go? It was a great opportunity to create links between care home, community and hospital staff; we’ll try and develop these. My Home Life colleagues are also producing a ‘Top Tips for Transitions’

brochure from the workshop findings. What’s been the biggest challenge? For us, it’s been take-up of the My Home Life programme. Commissioners have been surprised that there weren’t more care home managers wanting to get involved. We’re still not sure if that’s because of all the demands on their time or whether there are other reasons. And the best outcome? I think the answer to the first question sums it up – improved quality of life for care home residents and staff is the best possible outcome. Liz is the Strategy and Development Programme Manager in Redbridge Adult Services

A story from Mandy Leggate, Hanbury Court “We used a real tree – a big tree, out- town, such as the library, giving details of side in the garden,” says Mandy Leggate the events and letting people know they from Hanbury Court. She’s referring to would be welcome to attend. “We had the ‘conversation tree’ they created there, a really good response in the end,” says to take part in the Big Care Home Con- Mandy. And, she adds, it’s helped to build versation. “It was a way of getting people some positive on-going relationships. to share their views and ideas, to talk “Some of the people who came to join us about their feelings, by writing on paper were residents from the other care homes. leaves” she explains. “Having the tree And they still keep in touch with us; they made it feel less formal; it made it fun.” visit again from time to time, which is The Big Care Home Conversation great. It was the Big Care Home Convertook place in May and June of 2012 and sation that started it all.” Hanbury Court invited people to write their ideas on their also now receives regular visits from the own conversation tree which was used local Police Community Liaison Officer. to ask people ‘what works well in care “He comes by now to see how we’re homes’, ‘what could doing. Not that “Some people from the be better’, and we have any crime community had said things like ‘how could we get around here! But ‘We didn’t realise care homes there?’. The team it’s good to know at Hanbury Court could be like this!’ – so that was he’s watching out planned a few spe- very encouraging. It felt like we’d for us. We didn’t cial events to get given them a different expectation have that relationthings going. There ship before.” of how things could be." was a Jubilee party, At the end of a summer barbecue and another party the various festivities, Mandy and her to celebrate a resident’s 100th birthday. team ‘harvested’ all of the leaves from Of course, the English summer was not the tree and reviewed the comments and without the odd spot of rain, so going into suggestions. “We had some really posithe garden wasn’t always appealing – but tive comments,” she says. “Some people happily there was more than one ‘tree’ at from the community had said things like Hanbury court. As Mandy explains: “We ‘We didn’t realise care homes could be took some of the branches from the tree like this!’ – so that was very encouraging. and we brought them inside, into the con- It felt like we’d given them a different exservatory, and fixed them up on the wall. pectation of how things could be.” It ended up looking really nice and lots of Other visitors used the conversapeople put their comments up.” tion tree to make comments about the Right from the outset, Mandy care industry in general. “Some people wanted the events to involve not only wanted to put forward ideas about the residents at Hanbury Court but also government policy for care homes, or people from the wider community too. suggestions for how hospitals could take They put up posters in various parts of a different approach to caring for elderly

people,” says Mandy. As for the residents themselves, their suggestions have already led to two changes at Hanbury Court. Firstly, the residents’ meetings are now held more frequently. And secondly, the lunch and dinner menus are being changed more often. “Food is really important to the residents,” says Mandy. “It’s a big part of their day, something they look forward to. So they wanted more variety, and we were happy to do that.” With another summer (hopefully) just around the corner, the team at Hanbury Court are already back into full swing. They’ve just celebrated St George’s Day with a live singer, some very English sandwiches such as roast beef and mustard, plenty of tea and scones. And, Mandy is happy to say, several of the people they met during last year’s events – including some of the residents from the other local care homes – had come back to celebrate with them again.


We are residents, families, volunteers, proprietors, care home managers, care staff, nurses, maintenance and handymen, laundry staff, chefs, commissioners, inspectors, members of the public, associated health and social care professionals and others with a shared interest in care homes for older people. We believe that care homes for older people are everyone’s business. We care passionately about their future and about people’s quality of life in them. We aspire to the My home Life vision for best practice in care homes, which is evidence-based and focuses on what we know residents, relatives and staff ‘want’ and ‘what works’. We like the way the needs of older people are at the heart of the My Home Life Vision and value its focus on improving relationships within care homes, and between care homes and the outside world. We support the way My Home Life works in true partnership with care homes to deliver quality. A collaborative initiative between Age UK, City University and Dementia UK; My Home Life works at multiple levels, from engaging with front-line workers to policymakers. It began as a small project to identify best practice and is now seen as a social movement for change across the UK. My Home Life invites everyone to be involved: it is about ‘us’, not about ‘them’. Through research, consultation, leadership development and practical action, we are making a positive difference. Our outlook is to value rather than be judgemental. We come together to inspire collective action. Together with you, we can help care homes to be great places to live, die, work and visit; places that are supported to deliver their potential and cherished by their communities for the vital role they play in caring for some of the oldest and most frail citizens in our society today. We invite everyone who shares our vision to become part of My Home Life.

Sign up to our movement by emailing!

Add yourself to our facebook group: We will keep you informed of events, tools and activities that are being created to help support best practice in care homes. We will also help you to connect and share ideas with each other. 10

A story from Gracy Bhoopalan, Forest Dean Care Home, Wanstead

When Gracy Bhoopalan is looking to recruit a new member of staff, she knows the best people to consult. “It’s the residents who are going to receive care,” she says, “so I want them to help decide who is going to deliver that care. What kind of person do they think will make a good carer? With those kind of decisions,

the residents are always going to be the best judges.” “We had a residents’ meeting and we discussed the idea. And they were excited about it; they wanted to get involved.” Gracy put together an interview panel including herself and three of the residents. “It was important,” she says, “that the residents asked the questions they wanted to ask.” “We had one young lady come for an interview and she had never worked in the care industry before. But she had previously looked after her grandfather, who had dementia. One of the residents asked her: ‘Would you care for me the same way

Over to You!

What’s the hardest thing about your job? Having to juggle so many different things and wear so many different hats! One minute your job is about nursing, the next minute it could be about catering or laundry or the staff rota.

Which of the newspaper stories most affected you?

Why was this?

How can others learn from what works well in your home?

Have you thought of joining the My Home Life London Movement? Go to page 10 to see how…

"It's the residents who are going to receive care ... so I want them to help decide who is going to deliver that care. What kind of person do they think will make a good carer? With those kind of decisions, the residents are always going to be the best judges." Why do you do the job that you do? I do this job so I can make a difference to individuals’ lives.

Why not use these questions to explore these newspaper stories with your staff? Make a note of any actions/key elements of discussions so others who were not at the meeting can catch up.

What are you most proud of, that you would like to share with other care homes?

as you cared for your grandfather?’ It was such a good question. And the lady said, yes, she would.” After a pause, Gracy adds: “We gave her the job.”

In conversation with...

When things are tough, what gets you through? When it all starts to feel like it’s too much, there’s only one thing you can do – go and sit with a resident. When you do that, you remind yourself why you’re here; you remember what it’s all about.

What one change in your world would you like to see most? There needs to be a regulatory body for care assistants. This is a really tough job, but it’s not regulated in the way it needs to How long have you been working in be. There should be standardised training social care? for carers. Since June 2011 How do you relax when not working? How did you get into it? Time with family, going for long walks. I I come from an NHS background, but like to exercise; I go swimming when I get after leaving the NHS I worked as an in- the chance. And, of course, socialise with dependent consultant. One project I got friends. involved with was around End-of-Life. That put me in touch with care homes, How do you maintain a work-life and I realised then how care homes can balance? have such an immediate impact on the It’s tough. But if you’re in this job, it’s bequality of life. cause you’re passionate about it.



WEDNESDAY 18TH SEPTEMBER 2013 10AM-3PM LUMEN URC, 88 TAVISTOCK PLACE, LONDON, WC1H 9RS (Five minutes walk from King’s Cross/Russell Square)

– connect with other care home managers in London – learn more about what older people ‘want’ from care homes and ‘what works’

Hurry – spaces are limited To register for this FREE event, email:

– share ideas, watch films, reflect on your practice – gain top tips about new ways of working – get hold of your free copy of the My Home Life toolkit

My Home Life is a UK-wide initiative to promote quality of life for those who live, die, visit and work in care homes for older people My Home Life London is supported by The City Bridge Trust