Denise Findley, manager of the Willows nursing home in Middlesborough, has won a national Care UK competition for her programme to help people with dementia relax and stay fit through regular swimming sessions.
Care UK provides residential care for more than 5,000 people in 88 homes across England and Scotland and Denise beat off tough competition to win the Innovation of the Year award for her initiative, which has seen residents’ wellbeing increase both emotionally and physically.
Denise said: “The benefits to residents have been wonderful and include increased mobility, reduced agitation and improved sleep. To see the freedom and sheer relaxation on the faces of our residents is delightful. Staff too feel more empowered to do things that help residents to fulfil their ambitions and interests.”
“The team have been wonderful and really embraced the project, many of them have given up their own time because they see the benefits it brings to the people they care for.”
Before taking residents swimming, Denise met with the pool manager and ensured the changing facilities and aids to get into and out of the water were in place. She also ensured the residents would have use of the pool’s floatation devices.
Care UK’s Director of Clinical Governance, Frances Gibson said: “Taking groups of people swimming is a great responsibility, but when those people have dementia, the responsibility and challenges increase. We admired Denise’s tenacity in seeing past the challenges to the benefits to her residents and service users. She and her team are committed to helping others to lead active and fulfilling lives and she greatly deserves this award.”