Eden Alternative Avante Care Homes Our Philosophy of Care

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Eden Alternative Avante Care Homes Our Philosophy of Care

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The Way Forward

The Eden Alternative is Avante’s Philosophy of Care. The Eden Alternative means thinking about ‘care’ in a different way, being positive rather than negative and considering admission into a care home as the start of a new life.

This means that rather than an institution being formed, a true home is created, which works on the principle of knowing each resident well and building the care around that knowledge, always asking ‘how would that feel for me?’ ‘How would I do this in my own home?’

The Aim

The aim of the Eden Alternative is to reduce loneliness, helplessness and boredom, all of which can present a challenge for those receiving care.

The philosophy reduces these challenges by ensuring residents have the opportunity to build relationships with children and animals as well as with each other and staff, and stay connected to nature outside and inside the home.

We do this through encouraging residents to feel useful and needed, and by providing a varied and interesting environment.

The seven domains of wellbeing that we all need

Identity

As we get older people often say they become invisible; they are not consulted or valued for the wisdom that comes with age. Eden seeks to recognise everyone as being an individual in their own right. They have a history and a life story; they are parents, grandparents, have cared for loved ones, have had jobs and careers and have contributed to society in one way or another.

Similarly, carers are not just those who help us to do the things we cannot do for ourselves but they may be wives and husbands, parents, friends and they will have a whole life besides the job they do.

Identity

As we get older people often say they become invisible; they are not consulted or valued for the wisdom that comes with age. Eden seeks to recognise everyone as being an individual in their own right. They have a history and a life story; they are parents, grandparents, have cared for loved ones, have had jobs and careers and have contributed to society in one way or another.

Similarly, carers are not just those who help us to do the things we cannot do for ourselves but they may be wives and husbands, parents, friends and they will have a whole life besides the job they do.

Growth

Learning should not stop just because you need help with everyday life. New skills, new interests and new friends are all available in an Avante care home for residents and staff continue to grow even as they learn from the people they are caring for

Security

Not just the security of the building but feeling secure enough to speak out when things are not to your liking. Feeling secure because you have privacy and are treated with respect and dignity. This also means security for staff to speak out if they have concerns about how residents and service users are treated.

Connectedness

It is important because as we get older our world becomes smaller as it is not possible to do all the things we did in our youth. Being connected to those around us in a positive way, staying in touch with interests and friends outside the home and for staff being part of a team, are vitally important to the way we all feel about ourselves.

Autonomy

This is something we all need; the right and permission to make our own decisions about the way we want to live our lives. For those that need assistance, the opportunity to choose the time of day for events like bedtime and meal times and the sort of clothes we like to wear, is very important. For those giving care, to be empowered to act without always having to seek permission from ‘the boss’ is equally important.

Meaning

Being able to do things that have meaning for us instead of just to fill in the time, is essential to a life worth living. Getting to know everyone well, both residents and carers, their likes and dislikes, is the key.

Joy

This is not simply happiness but also the little moments that lift your spirits and give you that warm feeling of ‘good to be alive’. These are a must if introducing the Eden Alternative is to be measured and celebrated as being successfully implemented.

Dancing on Ice and shared passions at Amherst Court

Forward and dynamic thinking, the Home Manager, at Amherst Court arranged a spontaneous trip to the local ice rink, following a comment made from resident Doris who shared that she had never ice skated before.

Marie Taylor, Activity Coordinator said, “We all had an amazing day, the show was fantastic and Nora and Doris were fixated on the dance moves that took place on the ice. Nora became the star guest during the show and with thanks to the shows compare she received an autographed photo of the judges, which she was delighted with.”

Due to the regular discussion of Ice skating it was clear the new interest needed to be supported, so when Amherst Court residents were gifted tickets to go and watch the semi-finals of Dancing on Ice, they couldn’t believe their luck!

The sensory gardens at Puddingstone Grange

Adam, the Maintenance Technician at Puddingstone Grange has worked for Avante since 2003 and is fully aware of the Eden philosophy. He decided he would like to enhance the residents’ lives by creating a sensory garden, where they could connect with nature and relax.

Adam said, “When I was planning the sensory area, I wanted it to be accessible for all to see, either viewed from in or outside the home, I had an area and vision in mind I just needed to create it! I had previously asked residents what they would like to see in the sensory garden and I’ve tried to make sure I’ve captured everyone’s thoughts through colour and senses. Not only is the area a place for residents to enjoy it is also a relaxing and tranquil setting for families to use when visiting loved ones.”

The Garden of Tranquility suitably named by resident Dianne, allows residents and families to take in the beautiful plants around the seated areas with a water fountain to admire.

Reborn dolls bring a positive impact to Parkview

Residents at Parkview have recently been enjoying visits from Denise Russell and her reborn doll collection. Denise visits the home with the dolls for residents to hold. It has been observed by staff on a number of occasions the positive impacts the dolls have on people living with dementia and the calmness it can bring just by holding a reborn doll.

A reborn doll is a manufactured doll that has been transformed by an artist to resemble a human infant with as much realism as possible. Reborn dolls are also known as lifelike dolls or reborn baby dolls.

Denise and Annette Kelly, Activities Coordinator, plan regular visits with the dolls as they have proved a popular activity with some of the residents at the home.

Peter scores a hat trick
at Riverdale Court

Peter is a keen Charlton Athletic fan and has been since he was 15 years old. He would go regularly to the Valley to watch his beloved team and would follow their every game each season. Peter has continued to follow ‘The Addicks’ with pride while living at Riverdale Court and care staff have actively encouraged this interest.

The start of the pandemic lockdown in 2019 sadly meant all football matches were suspended. To help try and fill this void, care staff at Riverdale Court thought it would be a nice idea to for Peter to connect with a pen pal who shared his love of Charlton Athletic.

The request was put out on social media and there was a huge response. Peter has since been inundated with kind letters, cards and signed memorabilia all from his beloved football team. Peter didn’t think it could get much better than this until last week Charlton Athletic footballer Jason Pearce, posted a video message thanking all staff at Riverdale Court for their hard work and dedication followed by a hello to all residents!

Friendships and outings out build confidences at Court Regis

Joan Gregory has been a resident at Court Regis care home in Sittingbourne, for almost a year. When she first arrived she was a very quiet and withdrawn lady. Although Joan would sometimes join in with activities at the home she usually kept herself to herself. Activity Coordinator Emma Ansley noticed the more Joan joined in with the activities, the more she came out of her shell and showed her wonderful sense of humour, and kind and compassionate personality.

During the first few months of living at Court Regis Joan began to form a friendship with Marie, another resident. Marie was the opposite of Joan and would be first in line to go out on day trips, encouraging Joan to join her until they went out on their first trip to an afternoon tea at the Oasis Academy in Sheerness.

When Marie and Joan arrived back to Court Regis, Joan told everyone about her afternoon out, the lovely cakes she enjoyed, the endless cups of tea and the fantastic dancing and singing from the children.

Since then Joan has been one of the first to join in with everything! As well as taking part Joan encourages others to join in with activities in the home as well as the outings. Joan has befriended so many residents since taking part in activities and day trips out.

Keeping faith at Northbourne Court

Staff at Northbourne Court Care home have been coordinating visits from the local church for residents that reside at the home. Many residents living in the community prior to moving into Northbourne Court were regular attendees at church, and our philosophy of care is based on continuing and promoting all interests and hobbies, whenever we can.

Each service is attended by Reverend Craig along with a pianist and members of the church to perform and chat with residents. At the end of the service residents are asked what hymns they would like to sing at the next service so the Reverend and his team can prepare hymn sheets in various different font sizes for the residents and staff, allowing everyone to be able to take part.

One family relative said, ‘This has been warmly welcomed by the residents and carers alike. The service allows everyone to pray, listen and sing. Something I know my mother enjoys being able to do without having to leave the home’.

Bringing the seaside to Pilgrims View

Staff across all of our Avante homes have worked tirelessly to help protect residents from Covid-19 and continue to keep everyone entertained whilst they are unable to have visits from their loved ones. Residents at Pilgrims View were treated to a beach day last summer, but not as you know it!

For older people and those more vulnerable to contracting Covid-19, visiting a crowded beach during these uncertain times is strictly off limits – but not for residents at Pilgrims View! Staff brought the beach to the residents with sun, sand and sea. ‘Well, actually paddling pools but they did the trick’, said Deputy Manager Claire Saxby.

The garden was decked out to reflect a beach like scene with sandcastles, windbreakers, shells and beach games. There were also quieter areas for those just wanting to relax and soak up the sun safely within the grounds of the home. The beach set up allowed residents the opportunity to take part in the day as much or as little as they wanted. There were ice-creams aplenty and everyone enjoyed a fish and chip lunch to help support that beach day vibe.

Avante screen latest movies across 10 sites

With care homes across the UK being closed during COVID-19, Avante’s care homes have kept residents entertained with numerous extra events complementing the already busy daily schedule of activities.

Recently, residents across all 10 of Avante’s care homes sat down and enjoyed the same rib-tickling movie, Stan and Ollie, for bags of laughter and popcorn!

The recent film release about the much loved comedy double-act entertained residents, and the portrayal of their off screen friendship put a smile on everyone’s faces! Many of the homes hosted the movie in their very own cinema room whilst others aired the movie on screen projectors in a darkened lounge creating the perfect cinema effect. One home even had their very own usher! Phyllis who lives at Court Regis previously worked as an usher in a cinema. She shared with staff that she didn’t do it for the money as she genuinely loved being an usher and watching all the latest films. Phyllis was delighted when staff asked if she wanted to show them how it was done.

The Result

Keeping these domains in mind for everyone, The Eden Alternative gives staff permission to be creative and build close relationships with the people they care for and thus improve the life of everyone.

The problems of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom exist in part because of how society perceives aging, disability and dementia. They are about loss – loss of connection with others, loss of feeling valued for what you have to offer, and the loss of rich and delightful engagement with the world around you.

One of the strengths of the Eden philosophy is how the Principles work together. Companionship assists with loneliness, the opportunity to still feel useful and valuable will alleviate helplessness and a diverse environment, with children, animals and nature will add to the potential for a varied and exciting daily existence.