Over the years our category of care has changed to include seven beds for residents with a diagnosis of dementia alongside their complex needs. Dementia is one of the most important issues we face as the global population ages, including 820,000 people within the UK.
To improve the quality of life for each individual, our home has linked with the University of Stirling to ensure that each year staff receive training and skills to provide person-centred care. This approach focuses on seeing the person first and not their dementia or care needs. Staff have attended training on ‘life story’ work to enhance developing relationships with each person we care for so that we can respond in a more meaningful way and find out what is important to them. Compiling a book or memory box of photographs, letters and mementos can serve as a record of the individual’s life story.
In Harold McCauley House, we believe in taking all opportunities to promote excellent standards of care for all by working closely with other health professionals and engaging with local groups and initiatives, which enhances our Christian witness. For example, BT also comes here each year as part of its community outreach. BT’s work this involved helping prepare grounds for our new car park. Each year we also have several students from Omagh Academy who, as part of their ‘Community Care’ syllabus, attend our Home on a weekly basis to assist in activities such as reading. They also performed as a choir at our harvest thanksgiving service.
Another initiative we took advantage of is Reading Rooms. This is part of the Verbal Arts Centre programme based in Londonderry. Each week, a volunteer from the initiative attends our Home to read poems and stories and encourage participation, interaction and reminiscence with our residents. Staff members attended training sessions in May, which will enable us to continue this programme ourselves.
We couldn’t do all this without the support of our residents, their families, friends and our volunteers. We are also keen to promote our facility and we that you remember us in your prayer and pray that God will continue to use Harold McCauley House as a witness to His work within the whole community.
Caroline Crawford, originally trained as a nurse and worked in Belfast City Hospital and Tyrone County Hospital, before taking the Home Manager’s position in Harold McCauley House in 1992. This blog first appeared in the Mission Connect section of June’s Presbyterian Herald.