SOUTHPORT TO BECOME CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE FOR DEMENTIA CARE
be put on the map as a UK and international "service centre of
excellence" for people with dementia when a £5 million
development plan gets under way later in 2008. Birch Abbey
care home in Southport, which specialises in dementia care and
support, will be more than tripled in size and feature
groundbreaking technology and care and support techniques. Up to 30
highly specialised jobs will be created. The technology
developed and in use at Birch Abbey is already being sold
Dan Lingard, Chief Executive of Altrincham-based Melton Health Care
Limited, which owns Birch Abbey care home in Southport, is a former
software developer working with IBM and the BBC. He says
much-misunderstood dementia needs to be fought, and sufferers
supported and inspired rather than simply have their basic needs
"We looked at
more than 50 care homes when we decided to invest in this project.
We chose Southport because the care home staff and senior
professionals in the area are the most skilled, had the best
attitude, show the best response to the needs of dementia sufferers
and are the most caring and compassionate. Care and support is in their DNA - they have a long tradition
of care and support in the area, and because they have the right
attitude they are the right people for us to invest in. Our
new Birch Abbey will be a revolution in care services for people
with dementia and their families. To us it just felt right that
Southport with its long tradition as a caring community should lead
this revolution and the birth of a new era in care."
said Dan Lingard.
Birch Abbey currently has accommodation for 18 clients and has
pioneered a specialist dementia patient monitoring system, MyAmego,
an award-winning world 1st which is now being sold and installed in
care homes internationally.
"Without having to close our doors, we are completely
rebuilding Birch Abbey so that we will be able to accommodate 60
clients, and rather than simply gearing it to provide basic food,
hygiene and life care for clients, we are designing in - from
scratch - technology, accommodation, entertainment, activity, social
interaction and a broad range of care services and features that
have never been seen together under one roof in the care industry. But, crucially, this is not just about a building - it is about an
attitude to dementia care, service and support."
Dan invented the specialist dementia patient monitoring system,
MyAmego. It recently won a New Product of the Year award at Naidex
2008, the UK's largest event for homecare, disability and
"There are 2 issues - 1stly, driving an understanding that
while the onset of dementia cannot be reversed, it can be contained
or slowed, primarily by stimulating the mind and keeping the body
even just mildly active. We
can address this through the combination of building design and
content, technology, attitude to care and support - and our now
famous chickens. The issue for care
service providers is driving activity, but also monitoring it as
well. MyAmego is a fob which the patient wears or carries. In it is
a microchip. Data about the movements of the patients is captured
from the fob by monitors placed around the care home, the patient's
own home or even in or nearby shops they might visit.
This enables the care team to monitor the movements of patients, not
just for safety, but also to assess their activity levels. The
system analyses location, activity and risk in relation to that
patient's individual needs or circumstances - but will page, text or
email carers for assistance only when appropriate. In a
nutshell, it ensures they're safe, but also ensures they are
physically and mentally active, but also maintains an individual's
privacy." says Dan.
But where do the chickens come in? "Getting dementia sufferers using their minds and muscles -
even in seemingly small ways - can have a massively positive
effect. At Birch Abbey, we've
created a 'living sensory garden' - the chickens draw patients out
into the garden, they provide a talking point; what's more, our
patients collect the eggs, make cakes or biscuits and talk about
what they're doing amongst themselves and to their family members
providing valuable mental stimulus. But, furthermore, we are
now planning to put a camera in the chicken run so that those who
are less mobile can watch the chickens on TV monitors or computer
screens, which again creates talking points and ensures everyone
feels involved." says Dan.
Major ward refurbishment at Southport hospital
Formby District General Hospital is set to see a major refurbishment
of its wards over the next few years. This will consist of more
single rooms providing higher levels of privacy and dignity while
enabling us to continue to combat infections. The Trust is aiming
for the highest possible standards in delivering patient care in
modern, clean hotel-style surroundings. This investment in the
hospital will ensure that the accommodation and supporting
infrastructure will be fit to deliver 21st Century healthcare.
The hospital will be 20 years old this September and while there
have been changes to the building during that time, as some wards
have either changed their original use or have been updated to meet
changing needs the main medical wards are still as they were
originally designed in 1975.
A rolling programme of refurbishment of the medical wards will start
in September this year. Although when built, the hospital reflected
the nursing trends of the time, ideas and priorities have changed.
In the 20 years since it opened a much greater emphasis has been put
on the accommodation in which patients are nursed. There is now more
need for single accommodation to help prevent healthcare associated
infections and it has been recognised that privacy and dignity
issues are of much greater importance to patients. There is a need
for additional storage facilities to meet the needs of today's
intensive medical equipment following great advances in technology.
At the moment the wards consist of mainly 6-bedded bays with some
4-bedded ones and a few single rooms. The refurbished wards will
consist of 12 single rooms, of which 6 will have en-suite bathrooms,
and three 3-bedded rooms.
Liz Yates, Director of Nursing said:- "Our aim is to improve
the experience of our patients while they are in hospital at what we
know is a traumatic time. The refurbishment will provide hotel style
accommodation in which we can provide modern day nursing in an
appropriately designed environment to meet current day needs. It
will enable more efficient and effective use of space and will meet
all the requirements of disabled patients. There will also be the
provision of a quiet area on the wards for patients who might want
to discuss issues with staff or family in more private
The whole ergonomics and flow of the wards will be re-designed. The
infrastructure, such as the ventilation systems will be updated and
the finishes will be state of the art to add to our ability to keep
the wards as clean as possible. To enable the work to be done,
ward 10a will close and work will start in that ward. When that is
completed, patients will move across from ward 10b into the new
accommodation and the work will start there.
Bosses sitting on billions of unused savings tell workers a better
pay deal will cost jobs
local government bosses are trying to terrify hard-up workers into
believing a pay rise will cost them their job.
Public sector union UNISON says this is an unfounded and cruel claim
being used to frighten people off going on strike.
The union says rather than cough up what it knows it can afford, the
Local Government Association is claiming its 2.45% offer is final.
And staff due to walk out on Wednesday and Thursday are being told a
better offer will mean layoffs and cuts in services – even though
councils are sitting on billions of pounds in bank accounts.
UNISION’s North West Regional Secretary Frank Hont said town halls
had accumulated unused funds through efficiency savings, and this
should be used to settle the dispute:- “Local government workers cannot afford to take
another pay cut – which is what 2.45% means. Local government
employers have £3 billion stashed away which they could use to make
a better offer without having to go to the government with a begging
bowl, without having to put up council tax and without making cuts
to jobs and services.”
Mr Hont said workers would be walking out unless employers come up
with an acceptable offer.
Almost 100,000 local government workers will be walking out across
the North West in what will be one of the biggest strikes since the
1970s. Nationally, 600,000 UNISON members will be taking part.