There was a party atmosphere at Care UK’s Cumberland House as residents, families and staff gathered to congratulate their friends who have been working at the Whitford Gardens home for 15 years.
Support workers Sylvia Bautista, Mabel Davis and Sally Johnson, nurses Ermine Clarke and Maureen Ogg and laundry assistant Gladys Courtell all joined in 1996 – the year the home opened - and took part in a special award presentation by Care UK’s Regional Director Violet Kotu.
Manager Elaine Robson said: “I am lucky to have such a strong and dedicated team. In so many homes you see a large turn-over of staff and that can be disorientating and upsetting for elderly residents.
“Our 57 residents have dementia and the fact that we have the same caring, dedicated staff, year after year, gives them peace of mind and continuity of care. It is also very reassuring for the relatives who get to know all the staff and they know they can not only talk to their relative’s key worker but to most of the staff and that person will know and understand their loved one.”
In 2011, the whole Cumberland team, including laundry workers, kitchen staff and the maintenance team, took part in a pilot study of a pioneering experiential training programme that allows participants to experience some of the effects of dementia.
During the training, staff were given direct experience of the dramatic effect that dementia and frailty can have on the senses; special glasses blur their vision, headphones deliver white noise and gloves restrict the movement of fingers. Trainees found themselves being fed food that they could not see, drinking tea from plastic training beakers and being asked several questions in quick succession without enough time to think of replies.
Elaine said: “It was a great experience and allowed everyone in the home to see a bit of the world as our residents do. They were already a very caring bunch, but this has raised their empathy further.”
Other staff who were celebrated at the event, for service of five years and over, were:
- Marvlyn Charles-Yusuf
- Naomi Johnson
- Oomila Lobin
- Ahamefula Nwanyanwu
- Freda Rust
- Edith Williamson
- Jane Wilson