At The Eden Alternative we are on a mission
We want to eradicate loneliness, isolation and boredom in the care environment.
We teach a model of care that is designed to enrich wellbeing, fulfilment and quality of life for those who live and work in care.
- Happier Residents
- Improved staff retention
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Changing staff thinking
Changing staff thinking at a home for people with severe dementia led to positive outcomes for staff and patients:
“Too often [care staff] ‘do for’, when actually allowing people to do more for themselves would help. One of our residents is always on the go. She helps to make the beds and tidy rooms, she does the induction for new staff members and sits with people when they’re upset or ill. She’s a good hostess and genuinely helps us out.
“The EA emphasises that the only difference between residents and us is the amount of support they need. It’s about trying to get staff to think differently, and encouraging meaningful conversations while they work. It helps staff get away from just doing tasks. Sometimes it’s just about slowing down.”
Lead carer, Amy Woodgate House.
Understanding individual needs
In a four-bed hospital ward for people with dementia in Ireland, it took two staff half an hour to get one uncooperative patient up in the morning.
When a single room became available they changed their approach: instead of getting her up, they left her in bed with a cup of tea. Around 10am she emerged fully dressed.
Her clothes had to be adjusted slightly but, by fitting in with her routine instead of enforcing their own, an hour of staff time was saved.
Finding personal history
An activity officer at a care home in South Wales illustrated how a person-centred approach can transform residents’ lives:
“Mrs Dean [name changed], was starting to be labelled as having behavioural problems. She rarely spoke, her personal hygiene was non-existent, she pushed you away and was sometimes aggressive towards carers. She sat all day slumped in the chair in her own urine and faeces, refusing assistance and, on occasion, refusing to go to bed. Other residents would move away from her because of the smell. The more we tried, the more she would block us out. Her son’s visits were very upsetting for him – she wouldn’t even look at him. She was to be my challenge.
“My starting point was to find out more about Mrs Dean. Her son told me she had been a concert pianist. One morning I sat next to her and started talking to her about the piano at the home, saying it was a shame it wasn’t played enough. I said I had been told she played and instantly she sat up, looked at me and said: ‘I haven’t played for years and I’ve heard that one and it’s out of tune.’ This made me smile and, for the first time ever, I saw her smile.
“We carried on chatting and I asked if she would teach me to play the piano. She told me I would have to practise my scales for two years, and showed me on the table how to place my fingers. I copied her and when I did it wrong she let me know.
“After several days I asked Mrs Dean if she would show me on the piano, which she did. She progressed to playing short pieces of music and Christmas carols, for which she always had a round of applause from other residents. She is now a different person: she lets us help with her personal hygiene, chooses her own clothes, chats to carers, and asks for the toilet. She still wants to be left alone on some days, but don’t we all?”
Activity Office, South Wales
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