A lovely outcome for Lily
When Lily was referred to us by the Continuing Healthcare team, she had been given two weeks to live. It was thought that she had a malignancy in her stomach. She was constantly vomiting, had a clostridium difficile infection and had dropped three stone in weight in as many weeks.
We never give up on anyone at Tall Trees, so, when Lily joined us, we worked with a multidisciplinary team to put together a tailored care plan to start helping her to get her energy, health and mobility back. The dietician prescribed supplements, her condition stabilised, and Lily began to gain weight thanks to the tailored fortified meals provided by our head chef and kitchen team.
On deeper investigation, we learnt that Lily didn’t have a malignancy in her stomach. So, eventually, when she was well enough, she returned to her own home to live independently. Although we were sad to say goodbye to Lily when she moved back home in March 2019, we were delighted to have enabled her to regain her health and wellbeing.
Derek keeps busy in the kitchen
Our aim is to support residents who are living with dementia to live an independent, fulfilling life at Tall Trees. Part of that includes encouraging the people we care for to have jobs around the home if they wish.
Derek is living with advanced dementia. He used to work as a butcher and an environmental health officer, so when he said he’d like a job, we quickly got him involved in kitchen inspections.
He now performs kitchen audits with Alice, the Home Manager, and takes his role of checking the fridges and cupboards very seriously. Derek’s communication is normally restricted due to his dementia, but he happily tells off Tina, our Head Chef, if he thinks she’s got something wrong! In fact, Tina and Derek have developed such a lovely rapport that she’s now his keyworker.
Having a sense of purpose enables Derek to feel fulfilled, and it’s improved his communication skills and self-esteem. Good job, Derek!
Getting the balance right for John
When new residents who are living with dementia move to Tall Trees, we often find they are receiving antipsychotic medication. This is often an inappropriate solution to treat the symptoms of dementia – in fact, reducing the use of antipsychotic drugs for people with dementia is a national priority in England. That’s why we regularly work with our colleagues at the dementia service in Colchester to assess and reduce the use of antipsychotic medication among Tall Trees residents.
In 2018 John moved to the home when his family approached us for help. John is living with vascular dementia, and, when he joined us, he was receiving a lot of medication, including antipsychotic medication. John’s behaviour indicated that he was extremely stressed and distressed.
In his first couple of weeks at Tall Trees, John presented with similar behaviour, and, to compound his challenges, he wasn’t eating, and was at a very high risk of falling. We asked the Colchester dementia service to review his medication and worked with a local multidisciplinary team – including a GP, physiotherapist, psychiatric nurse, speech and language therapist, and dietician – to create a personalised care plan for John.
With a balanced set of medication (minus antipsychotic medication), John’s behaviour and mood stabilised, and he became much more like his ‘old self’, chatting with his family. He also gained weight, and enjoyed meaningful interactions with everyone at Tall Trees. He’s now enjoying a fulfilling life at the home.