Maritime care home marks Dementia Action Week

Family and friends of residents at Surrey-based maritime charity The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society’s care home, Belvedere House, are heralding the dedication of the Society’s staff in caring for their loved ones this Dementia Action Week (17 – 23 May).

With family and friends unable to visit their loved ones for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Society’s staff have provided emotional support and friendship for the 68 residents and 28 tenants living at the Society’s 14-acre Weston Acres estate in Banstead. This includes up to 36 in the home’s dementia annexe, the UK’s first dedicated dementia centre for seafarers.

Now the Society has introduced the Government’s essential care giver role to enable the friends and family of residents with higher care needs, particularly those with dementia, to spend even more time with their family members in a Covid-safe way. Those in the role will follow the same testing, PPE and infection control arrangements as the care home’s staff in order to provide close contact personal care for residents.

Since implementing the essential care giver role, family and friends have already reported a vast improvement in the mood and mental wellbeing of many residents living with dementia.

Robert Faust has taken on the essential care giver role to visit his mother Ellen Faust after a year of no visits. Robert said: “The pandemic has been really tough on families like mine where loved ones are in care as you can feel helpless being unable to visit. At the height of the COVID-19 crisis we were able to have window visits, but this is nothing like visiting in person.

“Now I have taken on the essential care giver role, I can see my mother daily and am able to give her the support of a close family connection. With my brothers being the other two named visitors, it allows us to all spend a lot more quality time with mum at this important stage in her life. We have seen such improvement in mum’s condition, thanks to the introduction of the essential care givers role and the support of the staff at the home itself.

“When we are not around, we know that the staff here at Belvedere House care for mum just as we do, and it relieves some of the guilt from the last year after not being able to spend much time with her because of the pandemic. The team here answer our emails quickly, which gives us peace of mind and they all work incredibly hard to ensure they deliver top class care to each resident.”

Home Manager, Alice Mitroi, said: “It is lovely to hear such a positive first-hand account of how the essential care giver role can support our residents’ care day-to-day, particularly those who suffer with dementia. Over the last year, it has been amazing to see the team here pull together to combat coronavirus and the challenges it has presented for us and many other care homes throughout the country. The team have supported one another through a challenging time and ensured that we always maintained the same first-class care we deliver to our residents above everything else.

“We are so glad to be able to introduce the essential care givers role and reunite families in the home. Our specialist dementia annexe continues to support our residents who live with dementia and I would like to praise the entire workforce here as I’m so thankful for the hard work they have put in throughout the pandemic.”

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