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Care homes can benefit from greater links with the community

I recently read with some interest of The Belmont care home in Worcester who have partnered with the Warriors Community Foundation to open a dementia cafe where tea, coffee and support will be served to residents and the wider community.

It takes me back some years ago when I was carrying out research for the European Commission into quality of care in care homes within the state of Barden Wurttemberg, Germany.

The Burgermeister of Pfullingen

During the research I met the Burgermeister of Pfullingen (the town mayor), who invited me to see the new care home the town had just built. He was obviously very proud of the achievement and wanted it to become part of my research. What I didn’t realise at the time was the impact the visit would have on me.

This was not just a care home but a range of new services to enable older people to maintain links with their community. The Pfullingen complex contained what we may call sheltered housing, and a care home. These were situated on the same campus as a children’s nursery, a garden centre, and a community centre. I remember a phrase used by the Burgermeister, “If older citizens are unable to visit their community, then we should create facilities for older people within a designed community”.

The Belmont Cafe

From 26 April, The Belmont will become the second venue in Worcester to host the café, which will take place every 2 weeks.

The management team at The Belmont hope to welcome the wider community and establish the home as a support hub for those in Worcester who are living with, or know someone living with, dementia.

Tommy Fellows, customer relations manager, and Sandie Preece, home manager, said: “We are so excited to be supporting with an additional dementia café in partnership with everyone at the foundation.

“We look forward to supporting families and those living with dementia and hosting these regular opportunities to help visitors meet new friends, get support and above all have fun in a relaxed setting.”

According to Alzheimer’s Society, there are currently around 900,000 people with dementia in the UK.

This number is expected to rise to over one million people with dementia in the UK by 2025 and nearly 1.6 million in 2040.

A memory café can also provide advice and information for someone caring for a loved one With dementia, as supporting family members and cares are an important function of the cafés.

Warriors Community Foundation

The Foundation provides a space for people within the community to meet, share support, and get to know one another.

In addition to the cafe, the home is also hosting an interactive dementia session on 3 May, run by Paul Gaskell, director of wellbeing & dementia services at Runwood homes.

Carol Hart, chief executive of the Warriors Community Foundation, said: “The Warriors Community Foundation is delighted to expand its service provision for people living with dementia. Since our start up cafe based at Sixways Stadium began in 2017, we have seen an increase in need for the type of service we offer.

“We are now in a position to offer this service to more people out in the community alongside partners such as The Belmont. The Belmont has second to none facilities and we can’t wait to start delivering our fun and engaging programme of activity to their residents and the wider community at absolutely no cost”.

Summary

It was good to hear about the new Belmont Café, and the potential benefits not only to residents but the wider community.

We are beginning to see an expansion in recalling memory and supportive initiatives for people with dementia. Given that hospitals in England have 20,000 patients blocking beds because there is nowhere for them to go we need strategies to maintain people in their care communities.

We may not have the resources at our disposal as the The Burgermeister of Pfullingen but with planning and effort we can bring the community closer to those residents who have dementia.

Albert Cook BA, MA & Fellow Charted Quality Institute Managing Director Bettal Quality Consultancy

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