22

May

Barrowhill Hall welcomes the Uttoxeter Lions

We were delighted to welcome members of Uttoxeter Lions Club into our home, after establishing a relationship that will help hundreds of local men to be screened for prostate cancer.

Barrowhill Hall is part-sponsoring a screening session on Thursday 6th June, the eve of the Lions’ Beer Festival.  The event is aimed at those aged 50 and over, and hopes to screen more than 700 men.

“With prostate cancer on the increase, the beer festival which funds the screening has become our biggest fundraiser,” said Lions member, Steve Shields.

“We are extremely grateful to all of the local businesses who support the screening but especially to Barrowhill Hall being one of the main sponsors alongside RBA Wealth Management and JCB.  Last year we screened 520 men, we have made provisions to screen 750 this year.”

We treated our Lions guests to a tour of our home and a special lunch.

“We are all extremely impressed with the facilities at Barrowhill Hall,” commented Steve.  “As soon as you walk in you receive a warm and positive welcome, its bright, very clean and has a lovely atmosphere.  The facilities are modern and its obvious a lot of thought and care has gone into the design aspects.  The views over JCB and rolling hills and simply stunning.”

The Uttoxeter Lions prostate screening session will take place on Thursday 6th June 6.00pm -8.30pm at Oldfield’s Sports and Social Club Ground on Springfield Road.

07

May

Staff share their love of caring as they celebrate more than 60 years’ service

Staff have shared their love of the care profession as they celebrate a combined total of more than 60 years’ service.

Five of our 78 strong team at Barrowhill Hall have worked here for more than 10 years, with housekeeper Christine Rigby chalking up 18 years of dedication and loyalty.

We are bucking the national trend which has seen care homes struggle to recruit and retain staff.

“I started in the laundry team here in 2001 after I was made redundant from Staffordshire Tableware,” remembered Christine.

“The management joked that I was ‘too chatty’ to work in laundry – they saw it as a talent that should be used to the benefit of the residents – so I became a cleaner where I could have more contact with the people living here.

“I’ve since taken qualifications in care and as head of housekeeping I know all the residents. You’ll often find me having a dance with someone when a singer is in, or stopping for a chat. I just love coming every day.”

Senior night care assistant, Sheila Thornley, have reached her 15th anniversary with us and senior care assistant, Andrew Docherty, has made 12 years.

“Care started out as a job for me but it’s become a career,” said Andrew. “I’ve had the opportunity to progress since I’ve been here, and that’s ongoing.

“It’s rewarding, the residents always make my day, and it’s a beautiful place to work – nothing compares to the view from up here!”

Head of Laundry, Rosie Naylor, is close behind them with 11 years’ service as is Christine’s daughter, Lucy Dale, a cleaner.

More than 10% of the staff at Barrowhill Hall have worked at the home for five years or more.

“We are extremely proud of our team and their dedication,” said Dion Meechan, Director of MOP Healthcare which owns Barrowhill Hall.

“The staff turnover rate for the adult residential care sector currently stands at around 27% so to be celebrating 13% of our staff being here for more than five years is quite something.

“We offer training and development opportunities to all of our staff, and everyone has a role in our residents’ care whether they work in the kitchens or as a registered nurse.”

The home also recognises effort and achievements in monthly staff awards.

“We hope those things help to make this a great place to work,” said Ashley, “but we also have a beautiful grade II listed home, as well as a modern unit for those in the earlier stages of dementia.  And we have the best view in Staffordshire.”

“It’s never boring here, every day is different,” said Christine. “I’m part of people’s lives and I love it. I plan to stay – I’ve already picked out my room!”

17

Dec

Santa brings festive fun to families at our Christmas fair!

Santa brought Christmas cheer to young and old when he came to see us on Sunday 9th December.

He took time out from his busy schedule to come to our Christmas fair.  We welcomed families and friends, some of whom drove nearly two hours to spend the afternoon with their loved ones.

Two year old girl with Santa and care home resident
Resident Peggy Hughes with Santa and two year old Amiyah

Two year old Amiyah, whose great-grandmother Sheila Walmsley lives in Churnet Lodge on the site, stole the hearts of many, together with eight month old ‘elf’, Ronnie.

Residents and visitors of every age enjoyed sitting with Santa, sharing their wishes for Christmas and enjoying mince pies.

“It was a fantastic afternoon, and a chance not just for families to get together but the community too,” said activities manager Karen O’Moore.

“We made some new friends in the community.  People from Rocester who didn’t know we were here came to join in.  It was great to introduce ourselves to them.

“We were thrilled to see the families of some of our residents who’ve passed away – they’re never forgotten and are always welcome – and one of our regular entertainers brought his family along.

“I think it says a lot about the home we have here.”

The Christmas fair also included craft and gift stalls hosted by local traders and volunteers from St Michael’s Church in Rocester.

Musical entertainment came from festive singers and the Alton Handbell Ringers.

The Shetland Lollipop ponies, which visit the home regularly offering calming interaction for residents, got into the Christmas spirit too with festive hats and tinsel bridles.

“My little visitor, Phoebe, was so taken with the ponies she asked me if she could have one for Christmas!” said Santa.

“I think she’d be much better off with a reindeer!”

 

17

Dec

Rocester school pupils share the joy of reading

Students from Ryecroft C.E. Middle School are stimulating memories and bringing laughter to residents thanks to a reading scheme that’s brought the two together.

Every Friday a group of year 7 and 8 pupils spend an hour with residents, reading to them and chatting, as well as playing games and doing crafts.

Their reading helps residents to relax, recall memories that bring them comfort and they enjoy the positive energy the young people bring.

Zara Jackson reads to 82 year old Doreen Bell
Zara Jackson reads to 82 year old Doreen Bell

“Our residents don’t always remember they’ve seen particular student,” said activities manager, Karen O’Moore, “but they always enjoy the sound of their voices and the stories they read.

“We can see how they relax with them and there’s often a lot of laughter.  Being with the children helps them to think of younger family members or even their own childhoods.

“In those days, it was an exciting book and a torch under the bedclothes rather than a smart phone!”

The visits are something particularly enjoyed by Bill Smith, 92. He’s formed a special relationship with 11 year old Jack Moore, whose mum, Alison, is a senior carer at the home.

“Bill’s really nice, he’s really funny and we got on straight away,” said Jack. “I’ll be reading to him and suddenly he’ll remember something.  We’ll talk about that for a bit, then carry on.

“I was a bit shy to start with as I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I don’t really know anyone who has dementia, but Bill’s so easy to be with – he’s like a grandad.”

“I wish he came every day,” said Bill. “I love seeing all the children but he’s especially good company.”

The visits are part of the school’s ‘Options’ scheme – a lesson each week that pupils spend following an interest or learning a new skill.

“We weren’t sure how many children would take up the option of visiting a care home but there’s been great enthusiasm from the students,” said headteacher, Rachael Baramuszczak.

“We felt this was an important option for them. The school is just a mile away from Barrowhill Hall so it is a way for our pupils to contribute something very positive to their community. It gives them an immense amount of pride and satisfaction.”

The pupils largely spend their time in the main lounge but will take books up to residents who find it difficult to leave their rooms.

12 year old Zara Jackson is another of the students who chose to visit Barrowhill Hall.

“I wanted to come here to help me build my confidence,” she said. “I love talking to the residents and they really listen to me when I read to them.

“And it’s great to know that I’m doing something that makes them happy.”

21

Sep

Staff climb Mt Snowdon for families living with dementia

A huge ‘congratulations!’ and a well-earned rest are due for our team of staff who completed a five mile climb up Mount Snowdon to raise money for families living with dementia.

The four staff made the near 250 mile round trip to north Wales on Saturday 15th September. They took two and a half hours to reach the 1,000m peak.

September is World Alzheimer’s Month and the staff organised their ‘Memory Walk’ in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society. Barrowhill Hall is home to 74 residents, many of whom are living with dementia.

Our activity co-ordinators Val Barnes and Becky Dalton, and carers Amy Farrell and Becky Buckley, took part in the climb

“It was a fantastic if exhausting day,” said Val. “We weren’t sure if we’d be able to do it but we were thrilled to get to the top!

“We’re so passionate about the work that we do and we wanted to show that by completing this challenge.”

The team also comprised Ann Parker and Michele Millward, teachers from Abbotsholme School in Rocester. Children from the school visit us every Monday to spend time playing and chatting with residents.

Ann and Michele enjoying the climb
Ann and Michele enjoying the climb

“Our little ones have gained a great deal of understanding about dementia over the last few months, and so have we,” said Ann. “We were very keen to support Barrowhill’s fundraising and the support they show for families living with dementia – even when they’re not at work!

“The climb was amazing and we’re so glad we were part of it.”

The team is hoping to raise £500 for the Alzheimer’s Society. To donate to their fundraising page visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/barrowhill-hall-dementia-care-home

10

Aug

“My nursing staff saved my life!”

Our manager, Martin, is happily now back at work after his nursing team saved him from a potentially fatal heart attack.

Too much cake?

Martin left work on the 31st of January in considerable discomfort that he put down to cake he’d enjoyed with residents in Churnet Lodge. Despite pain in his chest that woke him up during the night, he came to work the next morning.

“He didn’t feel right and he asked me to get him some lemonade,” said his deputy manager, Rhiannon McGirr, who has more than 20 years’ nursing experience.  “He thought the bubbles might help him bring up wind.”

“But as soon as I saw him I knew he needed an ambulance.”

Life saving advice

Martin eventually agreed for paramedics to be called. They took him to the Royal Stoke University Hospital where he was immediately prepped for surgery to fit stents into his arteries.

“I know I have an amazing team but I think they really did save my life,” said Martin. “The ironic thing about this is that I used to work as a cardiac nurse!

“I’d convinced myself it was just trapped wind or indigestion.  But I think the fact that I asked for Rhiannon shows that I knew what was happening and I needed her help and expertise.”

Barrowhill Hall was a recent finalist in the ‘Best Nursing Care’ category of the national Care Home Awards.

Changing his lifestyle

Since his heart attack, Martin has been going for nightly walks around Bath Pool.  He has cut red meat from his diet and hasn’t touched a single one of his much-loved cigarettes. He’s lost two stone in weight and wants to lose two more.

“I know how to look after my residents but I haven’t been looking after myself,” he said. “My blood pressure was too high and so was my cholesterol.”

The episode was immensely worrying for his wife Erica, and their two sons Jacob, 18, and Tobias, seven.

“Toby said to me, “Daddy, if I give you a piece of my heart will it make yours better?”” remembered Martin. “It moved me so much. The changes I’m making now are as much for my family as they are for me.”

Martin is now planning a fundraising challenge for the British Heart Foundation.

“The charity has been a great source of support,” he said, “especially in coming to terms with the fact it was me this time – you always think these things happen to someone else.

“I want everyone to be aware of their heart health – you might think you don’t have the time because you’re caring for other people but you won’t be able to do that at all if the worst happens.”

17

Apr

Celebrity gardener joins us on Care Home Open Day

Join us for our open day on Saturday 21st April where you’ll have the opportunity to put your questions to pioneering organic gardener Bob Flowerdew.

The veteran panelist of Radio 4’s ‘Gardeners’ Question Time’ will be with us for National Care Home Open Day.

As well as meeting Bob you can enjoy a falconry display, a miniature steam railway, live music, a range of stalls, refreshments and the chance to win a hamper courtesy of Tesco in Uttoxeter!

Win champagne!

Visit the event on our Facebook page and tell us you’re ‘going’ and we’ll enter you into the draw to win a case of champagne!

Gardening for dementia

Bob will also be advising us on how to re-design part of our garden to make it more dementia-friendly.  Being outdoors has a positive impact on wellbeing and we want to make sure our residents can access it safely.  Plus, it has to meet their needs and their interests.

Bob Flowerdew will help us to redesign this space for our residents with dementia

Join us 2.00pm – 6.00pm

Care Home Open Day is when we throw open our doors so you can see that moving into a home means you’re still very much part of your community.

Our event is FREE!

You can meet our staff and ask us about our care as well as enjoying a fun day out with all the family.

We look forward to seeing you!

22

Mar

“Pimp my Zimmer kids!”

Residents have had their traditionally bland walking frames ‘pimped up’ by their young friends at Abbotsholme School.

The children have been making brightly-coloured pom-poms and sparkly stars in their weekly visits to us.

The decorations have been used to brighten up the grey Zimmer frames many of the residents use.  The youngsters have also been wrapping them in colourful streamers and personalising them with people’s names.

National project

‘Pimp my Zimmer’ is a national initiative started by a care worker in Essex who realised residents often struggled to identify their own walking frame.

The scheme, which began in 2015, is also designed to improve mobility and has helped reduce falls in some homes by 60%.

“This has been fantastic fun for us and the children,” said Barrowhill Hall’s activities coordinator Val Barnes.

“The children visit us every Monday afternoon and they’ve really enjoyed bringing some colour to what is an extremely dull but hugely important piece of equipment.”

The children visit Churnet Lodge which offers residential care and care for people in the early stages of dementia.

“We are yet to see what impact the pimped up frames will have on people’s mobility,” said Val, “but we are seeing a change in people’s mood – the bright colours and the memories of the fun they had decorating them put a smile on their faces and that’s lovely to see.”

“I’m proud of my frame.”

97 year old Peggy Hughes has enjoyed the experience with six year old Rory and four year old Jensen.

“We’ve had such a lot of fun together,” she said.  “Mine is covered in pink and blue pom-poms, I’ve got stickers and pink bows and stars.

“I would never choose to use something grey but walking frames don’t come in any other colours!  I’m proud of it, I want to get up and move so I can show it off!”