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Mitchell House team that put caring at the heart of the community wins award

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The team of dedicated carers at Mitchell House has won an award for its work making the nursing home a hive of activity and a great place to live for its elderly residents.

Care UK provides residential care for more than 5,000 people in 88 homes across England and Scotland and the Mitchell House team beat off tough competition to win the Outstanding Community Involvement Award 2011.

The home, in Mitchell Road, provides specialist care for 50 residents with advanced dementia and it is also a hive of activity, thanks to the involvement of community groups. Manager Diana Wiltshire said: “I came here three years ago and we decided that, as well as offering great care, we wanted the house to feel like a home and one of the best ways to do that was to fill it with activities and friends.”

Diana and her team wasted no time and they began a series of talks about the work of the home across the community, with spectacular results. The residents now receive regular visits from the Scouts and the local church youth group who help in the garden and sing for the residents. The Poole Townswomen’s Guild join in with events at the home and its Knit and Natter group have made individual, brightly coloured blankets for the residents, which they love.

The team say they have been astonished at the generosity of local businesse who have donated raffle prizes, refreshments, Christmas trees and even an oversized Santa who, during the home’s many theme days, gets dressed up by staff as a waiter from various countries, a pub landlord or anything else the staff can think of that will amuse residents.

Diana said: “People are also incredibly generous with their time. We have seven volunteers who come in every week. They sit with residents and talk about all sorts of things, from what is going on today to memories of how the area used to be.  Members of the local church pop in too and the Chaplain holds a regular service and then stays to talk to residents, which means a lot to them.”

Among the residents’ favourite visitors are the community police officers who often pop in for a coffee and a chat. Diana said: “Having tall young men in uniform come to visit them brightens the day of many of our lady residents. The officers are all wonderful. They take time to talk to everyone and they even pop in on Christmas Day.”

The residents are now looking forward to the Christmas carol season when they will be visited by the Scouts, the local school and pre-school, and youth groups. Diana said: “I think they love seeing the children most of all and the carols reawaken lots of happy memories. It also contributes to the house feeling like a home and that is what we strive for. We want residents, and their relatives, to feel that they are in their own home, not that they are in a care home.

“We are all delighted with the award and we would like to dedicate it to all of the wonderful individuals, groups and companies who have helped us to make every day a special day for our residents.”


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