Good practice highlighted at dementia care homes in Shropshire
Areas of good practice were found during a series of visits to dementia care homes across the county, a health watchdog has said.
Healthwatch Shropshire says it visited eight care homes between October 2018 and June this year, where trained volunteers spoke to staff, residents and visitors.
The visits focused on the care provided to residents with dementia.
It is estimated there will be more than one million people with dementia in the UK by 2025.
Healthwatch Shropshire says dementia is of particular concern in the county due to its large and growing ageing population.
A new report, which has been published following the visits, says people were 'overwhelmingly happy with the care they were receiving' and 'staff were very positive about their places of work'.
Consideration was also given to the environment within the care homes.
The report says: "Homes scored highly in most areas but in half of the homes we visited we found issues with a lack of clear signs, particularly for toilets, and use of colour contrasts, for example light switches which are a different colour to the wall behind them making them easier to see.
"Both the use of contrasting colours for things like handrails and light switches and having clear signs in place are recommended as helpful for people with dementia.
Recommendations made by the watchdog included developing the use of outside areas for residents and installing dementia appropriate directional signs to toilets, nurses’ station and exits.
It also recommended all care homes delivering dementia care in Shropshire should consider supporting residents to take part in household activities and review menus to ensure they help residents to make food choices.
The group found that some care homes had wi-fi for residents to use, as well as computers or tablets to help them keep in contact with relatives or friends, and many had separate dementia units.
Residents had regular access to GPs, although access to other health support services such as dentists was less consistent, the report said.
Lynn Cawley, Healthwatch Shropshire's chief officer, said: “It is really important that those living with dementia in care homes receive the care they need.
"Our role is to listen to their experiences and identify where things are working well and where things could be improved.
"The visits were carried out by our trained volunteers, they observed the environment and talk to residents, their families and staff in the homes.
"This project focused on dementia care but we are always keen to hear about people’s experiences of care homes and domestic care services and would ask people to get in touch.”
The care homes visited were Alexandra House, Churchill House Nursing & Residential Home, Four Rivers Nursing Home, all in Ludlow; Coton Hill House and The Uplands, Shrewsbury; Danesford Grange, Bridgnorth; Hinstock Manor, Market Drayton and Stretton Hall Nursing Home, Church Stretton.