At Nourish we have a belief that in order to properly understand care, our staff need to have a first-hand experience of what providing care is like. That way, whenever we do something like build a new feature into the system, write a blog post or even choose a new supplier – we know that we have the interests of those who provide care at heart.
We achieve this is by encouraging staff to take voluntary placements within the different care settings of our clients. This enables our team to not only foster great relationships with our clients, but provides a face-to-face network between Nourish and our clientele.
The most recent team member to undertake a care placement was Alex, our Digital Marketing Manager. The following article is his first-hand account of his experiences in care with two of Nourish’s longstanding clients.
When I joined Nourish, I knew that they did things differently. They weren’t just another tech firm, distanced from their clients and locked behind their keyboards. They truly empathise and appreciate the hard work and effort that goes into providing care. This is obvious when you look into some of the articles written by Nourish’s founder Nuno Almeida – his dedication to care providers is admirable and this ethos permeates the company from top to bottom.
My placement began with Shedfield Lodge a residential care home, which caters for people with Dementia. I had already met Jackie, Liss and the homeowner Andrew at a Hampshire Care Association event earlier in the year and as soon as I got in through the door it was easy to see why their home is so highly regarded.
“Their different residents, all of whom had fantastic stories to tell”
Jackie immediately partnered me up with one of her senior carers helping their residents up and about. I was shown the intricacies involved in helping care for one of their residents who was receiving palliative care. We checked her feet for signs of pressure sores and applied cream to her heels to ensure they stayed healthy. As she was having difficulty swallowing we then helped her to drink by using thickened fluids. Once their team had freshened and helped clean her, we adjusted her position using a sliding mat. This helped her into a more positive position and allowed the air-flow mattress to work more effectively.
We then helped some of their other residents get up and into the communal areas. I got the chance to assist with helping one lady with breakfast. She was incredible, her sense of humour and the twinkle in her eye, reinforced why providing care respectfully and with dignity is hugely important. After breakfast we spent some time with a lady who was receiving doll therapy. It was great to see she was actively helped to look after the doll and care for its needs, with the care team talking through washing and changing the doll’s clothing.
As the day went on, we went through morning and afternoon routines, with their different residents, all of whom had fantastic stories to tell and were more than happy to share. I met one lady who was one of 13 children, another gentleman who was an expert in horse-drawn ploughing and a lady who’d spent 30 years as a psychiatric nurse. As the country had been in the midst of a mini-heatwave it was decided that we should prepare some ice creams and ice lollies for the residents in the afternoon. I then helped with afternoon recreational activities before serving up afternoon tea and biscuits. That afternoon we worked with an activities coordinator and played a sort of indoor cricket game with soft bats and balls. Helping the residents cheer one another on, the games got fairly competitive!
“A beautiful residential care home in a quiet rural setting”
My second day was spent helping in Greenview Residential Care Home, owned by Ian Bradford. A beautiful residential home in a quiet rural setting overlooking a village green. Here I was introduced to their fantastic team and got the chance to work with an activities coordinator. She led a group of residents in a series of activities designed to help engage movement and improve coordination – “armchair aerobics”. This was really fun and it was interesting to see the way that the residents all got involved and encouraged one another to participate. The atmosphere was so welcoming it felt as if you were literally in someone’s home.
Afterwards I was allowed to help a lady who was receiving palliative care, one of the carers Peter and I, helped to discuss her needs and then gave her, her medication and readjusted her posture so as to avoid the risk of pressure sores. I then went and spoke with their youngest resident who had early onset Alzheimer’s. An ex-motorbike policeman whose stories of work and travels were fascinating. I got the chance to help him with his dinner and tea, spending plenty of time hearing about his travels round Afghanistan.
An aspect I hadn’t appreciated before this week; was the sense of community you feel when you are in a well-run home. Whilst I was in Greenview, I got the chance to see first-hand how they were helping a local lady from the community who was struggling with dementia. They welcomed her in and the residents all banded together to keep her company and integrated within the community.
“They welcomed her in and the residents all banded together to keep her company and integrated within the community”
My day came to an end by helping serve the residents their dinner. Laying out their individual places round a central the table and watching them all tuck into a lovely home-made salmon dish. One of my favourite experiences was talking to a lady who’d spent her life in Mauritius and was a retired secretary fluent in short-hand typing. She was incredibly complimentary of the team at Greenview (although I must say you can see why as soon as you step through the door) and it reinforced my thought; that the way that mass media present care, focuses on the worst aspects – never spending time with the hard working and highly empathetic individuals that make so many people’s later lives a joy.
During those past two days, I was treated to a broad spectrum of what life can be like in two different care settings. I was really blown away by how caring all of the staff were that I met, and I will definitely be going back (if they’ll have me!).
At this point I’d like to give my thanks to all of the team at Shedfield Lodge and Greenview for making me feel so welcome. They do the care sector proud on so many levels. I’d highly recommend anyone who works in care to go and visit one of their local homes. It really is an eye opener.