My Home Life

Our vision is a world where all care homes for older people are great places to live, die, visit and work.

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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.

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Bulletin Issue 19: We Are Family

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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!

Download issue 19 of the My Home Life Bulletin here.

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Food Glorious Food!

 

How to make the most of mealtimes in care homes.

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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.

MHL Bulletin ISSUE 18 WEB

 

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Alive in me – a poem by a care home resident

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.”

 

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This is your Mums home

What makes a good care home?

ten yearsMum 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.

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My Home Life Suffolk

“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.

Suffolk 2

 

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Homecare Managers complete Leadership Support programme

Essex homecareCongratulations 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.

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Celebrating ten years of My Home Life

ten yearsA birthday present to our network

Over the coming 12 months, we will be sending out a host of tools, badges, stickers and briefings to our network to help them celebrate the great things that they are doing in care homes and share their great stories with us!

Celebrating the great work that you are delivering

We will be taking part in events across the country (list of UK events coming soon) to celebrate the great work we are doing and keep sharing stories of best practice on our website.

Creating new insights and evidence

We will be updating the evidence base for quality in care homes and sharing new insights and stories that come out of the year’s celebrations.
Continue Reading

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New MHL posters!

 

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New images of the evidence base of My Home Life are now available to download!

These posters show all the components of the MHL vision – as well as how they all fit together. Huge thanks to the team in MHL Scotland who have been working hard to bring these together!

You can download posters on the individual aspects of the evidence base:

Best practice themes (read more here)

Relationship centred care (read more here)

Caring Conversations (read more here)

Being appreciative

As well as posters of all the components of the evidence base and how they lead to quality of life in care homes. You can also find the new posters under ‘Posters’ in our Resources library.

 

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New MHL bulletin in the January practice update

Our latest email update is below – free to all – sign up on this page

“If one thing is certain it is that care homes operate with uncertainty and upheaval every day… we’ve got through it before, we can get through it again.”Looking after yourself cover line

Dear friends,

Thank you so much for your tips on supporting managers and care home teams to take care of themselves at times of stress.

We’ve collected some of your advice into our new bulletin ‘Looking after yourself and those around you’, out now in Care Management Matters and on our website.

Hard copies available on request – email mhl@city.ac.uk or call us on +44 207 040 5776. Continue Reading

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“I have had a lived experience of a Northern Irish care home doing really, really well in the dying process.”

Eina McHugh

A story from Slieve na Mon Nursing Home in Northern Ireland has been featured by the BBC – telling a tale of a family being supported through their father’s death.

The item, from a care home whose manager recently completed the My Home Life Leadership Support programme, tells the story of the McHugh family.

We’re delighted to see such a wonderful story in the press about the brilliant end of life care provided by the nursing home – not only for Mr McHugh himself, but for his whole family. It’s a testament to them that the family felt so moved they wanted to share their story with the world.

You can hear the interview on BBC Radio Ulster.

And read ‘How can we wake our father in a nursing home?’ on the BBC News website.

 

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Our Blog

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"I asked the children if they would come again to which they replied ,yes!"

Heavy snow, icy roads, and school closures were the outcomes of last week’s storm Emma combined with the Beast from the East. One care home group from Derbyshire met the chilly challenge head on with fantastic outcomes. Sarah Dixon, community relations manager for Ashmere Derbyshire Ltd explained, “Local schools were closed suddenly on the Thursday, with news […]

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"I get to listen to interesting stories about the residents’ lives and my eyes have been opened up to a completely different lifestyle to my own"

Student Hubs is a national organisation which supports students to tackle social challenges, learn about issues and connect with each other. The Bristol Hub, which supports the students of the University of Bristol, has been collaborating with My Home Life as they work towards creating stronger relationships with care homes in the south west of England. Bristol Hub has created […]

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