In this section you’ll find News on MHL activities; a blog with good practice stories from care homes across the UK (don’t forget to share your own stories!); info for press and our library of resources and videos.
News and Media
New developments in dementia care with Professor Julienne Meyer
Monday 20 February 2017
6pm – 8pm
The Brendoncare Foundation invites you to a lecture on:
Building an environment to support best practice in dementia care
by Professor Julienne Meyer CBE, Professor of Nursing: Care for Older People & Executive Director of My Home Life City, University of London
Followed by a discussion on Brendoncare’s new Shared Care Development, a transformational new model of care for families affected by dementia.
Drinks and networking
The Max Rayne Auditorium
Royal Society of Medicine
1 Wimpole Street
London W1G 0AE
Limited spaces available – booking is essential
Care homes play a vital part in supporting families, especially at times of transition. Working with relatives can be rewarding, complex and at times challenging.
The latest My Home Life bulletin celebrates the great work that managers and staff do to support families when they visit and offers some examples of good practice from relatives and staff.
Thanks for reading and please keep sending in your great stories!
Senior Development Officer (0.8 FTE)
My Home Life is a UK-wide initiative that promotes the quality of life for older people in care homes hosted by City, University of London, in partnership with Age UK.
The programme works appreciatively to support the care home sector through a range of research, enterprise and social action activities.
The role will primarily focus on three areas of activity. Firstly, you will lead our communications programme which aims to influencing practice across care homes and across the wider health and social care system. Secondly, you will help support stronger community engagement within care homes. Thirdly, you will identify funding opportunities to develop new local projects that support care home transformation across England.
This is a very creative and dynamic role that offers opportunities to work alongside national and local stakeholders from care homes, commissioning, community and government. We are looking for a self-motivated, confident skilled communicator who is well-organised, has an eye to detail and a passion for celebrating the good work of care homes and helping them make things even better. Click below for more information:
How to make the most of mealtimes in care homes.
In our new bulletin we talk about food – everyones favourite subject. But, it is not just the food that makes mealtimes enjoyable. We asked care homes around the UK for their best practice tips for when it comes to creating a social mealtime, increasing appetites and involving residents, relatives and staff in decision making.
ALIVE IN ME – By Tudor Evans, Hengoed Park
I can still hear her singing
in her high, clear voice
humming around our house
two streets from the colliery,
riddling the ashes
from the stove in the scullery.
I can still feel his strong arms around me,
carrying me to the mine
to lie by the huge fan, 28 feet tall,
the lungs of the pit,
to cure my whooping cough.
My Mother, my father,
They’re alive in me.
I see her young,
glossy hair marcel-waved,
in her yellow twin set with the nipped-in waist,
laughing, joy blazing out
like a firework flaring
I remember him at my bedside
His big hands placing the candles,
To drive my nightmares away.
Still keeping me safe, they’re alive in me.
Writing ‘Alive in Me.’
Deb Llewellyn, creative writer, told us about how she worked with Tudor to create the poem ‘Alive in me.’
“For the last two years I have worked as a Writer in Residence for Age Cymru, in two care homes in the Swansea Valley. I listen to the residents and work collaboratively with them to form their words into poems – sometimes based on stories and memories, sometimes in response to stimuli such as paintings, photographs and objects.
It was in Hengoed Court, Swansea that I met Tudor Evans, and it was a privilege to write this poem with him. We wrote it over the course of several individual sessions. Tudor shared his memories with me of growing up in the mining town of Grovesend near Pontarddulais. His father was a miner and we spoke at length about his work.
As a young boy, Tudor caught whooping cough and his parents feared for his life. One night Tudor was struggling for breath, and in desperation, his father carried him to the enormous fan which circulated air throughout the pit. He believed that being in this strong air current would allow Tudor to breathe. It worked, and Tudor recovered. The vivid childhood memories that Tudor has of his parents form the core of this poem. Writing it was his act of tribute to them.”
What makes a good care home?
Mum never wanted to go into a care home; she used to say “they are all full of old people sitting around sleeping.” She based this on her visits to ‘old people’s homes’ when she used to entertain them as a member of her local church club choir – when she was in her eighties!
Her memory was deteriorating, and it was becoming more obvious that despite the home care she was receiving in addition to the many hours of family care, this was not enough to keep her well and safe at home.
We found a lovely care home. I was given a ‘fob’ to open the front door and I was told this is your Mum’s home, so come and go as you please; just visit her like you did before.
Mum was so happy, she had her own room, personalised with photographs and memorabilia, she had her own TV and her daily newspaper delivered.
She went out in the minibus, she enjoyed activities, she had her hair done, and her feet! She was also able to attend a church services on Sunday which was very important to her. There was such a friendly relaxed atmosphere, no set meal times or routines, everything revolved around how people were and what they wanted to do and at what time. Person-centred care at its very best. Mum enjoyed many impromptu sing-a-longs, and an old film on TV or making cakes, which were then eaten for tea. She loved hats and beads and would select a hat and beads from the coat stand in the corridor whenever she passed by I never knew what she would be wearing on her head when I visited!
The wonderful staff knew Mum so well, her likes, dislikes and little foibles; they treated her with compassion, devotion and humour.
There were phone calls on days when Mum was having a really good day, very bright and alert and staff wanted me to know so that I could visit her and enjoy this.
So many things that made a difference; when Mum went off her food, a carer went out and bought a variety of snacks which were then left for her to eat at will and when Mum returned from hospital following a fall, carers were able to rehabilitate her and get her walking again where the hospital had failed.
At the end of her life Mum became weak, spending much of the time asleep. During that time she was never alone, and everything was done to keep her comfortable. The last days of her life were calm and serene; she was cared for by carers who knew and loved her and this gave me great comfort.
Many thanks to Marianne Manser for sharing her story.
“I am taking out sharing, friendship, and continuity of My Home Life Suffolk – lets meet again”
These were the words of one care home manager who, along with 20 others, attended a day together last week to celebrate the completion of the leadership support programme and to explore how they can continue the momentum in Suffolk.
This impressive group of managers have taken great strides in leading their homes to deliver quality of life and are now associates of the My Home Life national movement.
We are looking for a dynamic individual to volunteer in our team to:
- Gather stories of good practice from care homes
- Create materials that convey new practice ideas that can be distributed across the sector
- Directly support our networks of care homes to take forward new ideas for improving quality
Ideally, we are looking for someone who has experience of working with or in care homes and recognises the vital role that they play. We want someone who is self-motivated, a team player and is able to offer 1-2 days a week to help us. In return, My Home Life can help you develop your thinking, your skills and feel part of a growing movement aimed at promoting quality of life in care homes.
We are open to applications from people from all walks of life: from current students to retirees, and anyone in between. If you’re interested in some time developing your career plans and CV-building during your volunteering placement, we’d be happy to support that.
The RIPE Project (Researching Interventions that Promote Ethics in Social Care). This is an exciting research project being run by the International Care Ethics Observatory at University of Surrey, in collaboration with the Ethox Foundation (an independent registered charity with an international reputation in applied ethics). The RIPE study will evaluate the effectiveness of different types of ethics education in supporting care givers in delivering ethical care in residential care homes for older people.
The research team are currently looking for any member of staff in care homes who comes into contact with residents. The request is that they fill out 3 short questionnaires over 3 separate occasions, 2 months apart. The participants can be any member of staff who comes into contact with residents. In return they will be paid £15, get a certificate from the University of Surrey and will be invited to a conference at the end of the project.
If you are interested in participating, please contact Matthew Peacock at the University of Surrey.
Congratulations to these managers in Essex who have completed the first Domiciliary Care Leadership Support programme with My Home Life. We have loved working with these great people who have and continue to do amazing work in promoting quality of life for our frailest citizens.
If you’re interested in the Leadership Support programme or the other packages of support MHL offer, visit our Working Together section.