Rose Lodge, Exmouth, Devon.
Voted outstanding by C.Q.C in 2016
With so much negative press surrounding social care I wanted to share this wonderful story with you.
Rose Lodge is a shining beacon of success in specialist dementia care One of only 43 care homes from 8,000 inspected rated “Outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission.
Although aware of the work Peter and Joanna Groot and their dedicated care team, headed by Manager Karen Bousher,
were doing at Rose Lodge I hadn’t visited. My new role of care columnist for Devon Life provided me with the perfect excuse.
The welcome I received was as warm as the sun beating down on us that day. Peter and I sat on the beautiful garden terrace adjacent to the recently opened “Cottage”. The atmosphere immediately struck me, it was calm and relaxed. Carers were walking with residents in the garden or sitting chatting with them about the Olympics whilst looking at the pictures in the paper.
The ratio of 40 staff to 33 residents allows for something so precious – time. Not always available to people with dementia in a care setting: time to sit and talk, time to show and share affection. People with dementia are people living with a disease affecting their brain, they still need and deserve love and kindness. They can still be happy and enjoy a fulfilled life.
Rose Lodge received a gold award from the dementia unit at Stirling University for the design of the cottage. Their research has revealed how good design can help people with dementia remain more independent.
Both coming from a non-caring work background, which has enabled them to create a care home, that is entirely “person centred”. It made me smile when I read on their website about working at Rose Lodge, “ Be prepared to be interviewed by a resident though. Yes, we do things differently at Rose Lodge.”
Peter led the way into the “Cottage” where more independent residents live. I type, “live” with a smile as some of them lead such busy lives they are hardly there! Activity is a huge part of life here with meaningful entertainment and stimulation. Every carer is an activity co-ordinator adding to the scheduled activities twice a day, seven days a week.
Residents are happy and relaxed taking an active part in the community. Regular walks maintain fitness and balance and Tai chi are practised in the garden in summer whilst the choir sing simultaneously on the terrace. Wednesday afternoons sees the weekly dance and we are talking rock and disco here and everyone has fun. Animals play an important part of Rose Lodge and included in the menagerie is Tinker, Peter and Joanna’s gorgeous dog.
My buzzword for the day was “inspired”. Rose Lodge is designed with Dementia in mind, with bedrooms with easy to see light switches and the furniture allowing you to see the content of the drawers. No labels here! Bright modern en-suite wet rooms and hard floors add to the practical style.
Community and communal go hand in hand here. The downstairs bedrooms open into the bright dining room come sitting room and whilst the TV was on, residents were far too interested in activities to be watching it. A piano sits in the corner inviting those who can play to entertain others. Wool sits in a basket on the side, colourful and neatly wound. Wool winding is a practical task enjoyed by man
Little touches such as “Hydration Stations” housing jugs of squash and water encourage people to drink whenever they choose were “inspired” and promote independence. Residents are actively encouraged to help prepare fruit for fruit salads, help with cleaning and laundry and work together to fold napkins for lunch.
At lunch time the tempo changes with calming music on. Residents need to concentrate on eating with no distractions
Other “inspired” touches included the chairs. Not a dreary Parker Knoll in sight (sorry P.K). Rose Lodge is filled with lovely comfortable chairs in calm muted colours the chairs’ height allow residents to get out of them unaided. “It’s a lounge, not a car park!” all wheelchairs are stowed away when residents are comfortably seated.
Other observations included no call bells. I have visited some care homes and the bells are constant. Perhaps the reason for this was that none of the more active residents were in their rooms and if they needed something the carers were on hand to help.
There were no pitiful calls for “help!” that I have heard elsewhere. To me, as an observer, no-one at Rose Lodge felt anxious. They felt valued, cared for and relaxed.
With no retro furniture or signage, the residents live in the present not with false truths, they have today to enjoy and they certainly do.
A stunning mirror in the pampering Salon, where hand massages come as standard, reflects the beauty of Rose Lodge and stands as a reminder that this model of excellence can be replicated.