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.”
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.
“I have had a lived experience of a Northern Irish care home doing really, really well in the dying process.”
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.
My Home Life were very excited to see their work be presented as part of the The Commission on Improving Dignity in Care public consultation on a report, which will form the basis of proposals for improvements in the delivery of care of older people in hospitals and care homes.
On 15th September 2011, the Government launched Caring for our future: shared ambitions for care and support – an engagement with people who use care and support services, carers, local councils, care providers, and the voluntary sector about the priorities for improving care and support.
An Early Day Motion (EDM 1588) has been put forward by Timothy Farron MP calling on the Government to take note of the evidence-based recommendations of My Home Life in drawing up new minimum standards for care homes.
At the time of writing, 75 MPs have supported the EDM. The My Home Life team will continue lobbying the Government for greater support for care homes.