OUR STAFF – A PRECIOUS INVESTMENT

 The Brenthurst Residence “MISSION STATEMENT” clearly conveys that we understand and value that the community at large puts a premium on a professionally run home which includes both Registered Nurses and our specially trained staff to meet the various needs of their loved ones.

Early on, we realized that we needed to avoid outsourcing staff so that we could focus on the staff we had chosen, to invest our time, values, our specific policies and procedures, attitudinal approach with specific training to uplift, inform and place value on each person to be able to motivate our team towards service excellence.

We started this process by hiring a professional to do a very enlightening SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats) Analysis particularly as related to our Human Resources Department and general practices in the home.  Much good came of this and programs such as Safety, Job induction Training and ongoing Peer Evaluations, HR counselling processes and referrals, Monthly Kudos, floating trophies in the various departments and Annual Trophies and Prize-giving’s. We also provide medical attention and 1st Aid on and off location, cash and door prizes for attending seminars, and ongoing practical testing along with annual written exams which create a bit of healthy competition amongst the staff.

Most enjoyed are the Life-Skill training sessions, which always include a spiritual component and something practical such as “How to bake a cake in a beer-box” during our May session – this was then presented to the staff to enjoy in celebration of our facility’s 20th Birthday! 

A 20-year service Trophy was presented by Matron Nunes to Charlene Prins for her Service. 

This month we taught staff how to propagate tomato seedlings in a pot from slices of tomato along with a demonstration on how to grow your own veggie garden from the little seed-boxes Checkers gives away – we already have some keen gardeners in the home, working with Imaan, our Occupational Therapist.  Some “Lucky-Draw” winners received a bag full of the little garden boxes along with an umbrella for coming early to class.

Housekeeping and Carer staff each have their own roles to play in our Disaster/Fire Drills which are done twice a year.  This year, we had all our housekeeping staff, acting as “potential patients”, make it out to the Assembly Point in between 6 to 11 minutes (depending on the number of folk who had to be evacuated).  This was well within the 15-minute arrival time of external Emergency Teams.  The Housekeeping Team cares for all the clients who have been triaged and cleared for “granny/grandpa-sitting”.  However, they also felt they should learn about 1st Aid at the Assembly Point and made suggestions via our suggestion box, the peer review system and at the monthly department representatives meetings we have in place.  Here are some wonderful photos of the workshops held last week…….

People being people, raises the understanding that not everyone is able to work *to time, *to standard, *without wastage or *with joy.  This has resulted that we induce our staff into our style of management and upskilling over a 3-month initial period via mentoring and evaluation.  This costs EFFORT and MONEY!  Sometimes we see great potential and sometimes those bright personalities find it hard to fit into a specific role.  This is when we have to evaluate HOW MUCH COST WE HAVE ALREADY SUNK INTO THIS PERSON, regardless of their personal tragedies, struggles or actual potential.  We have to consider their “fit” into the various teams (often swopping work stations to give them another opportunity to shine) and to give them time to buy into our values, preferred attitude, standards and value system.  And, even though we are a Christian-run organization, we still have a mandate to grace-filled-provision of an exclusive, “Home-away-from-Home” care for discerning Elderly.

  This requires Etiquette and a drive to learn, no matter what it takes.  GOOD, WELL DEVELOPED STAFF ARE AN ASSET WHERE THERE IS NO ROOM FOR “SUNK-COST-FALLACY THINKING”. (SEE Tammy Lenski’s very enlightening article on Sunk-Cost-Fallacy which I hope you will enjoy)!  Sadly, people do come and go, but upliftment is our aim in the process of providing excellent care.

 

To date we have a Housekeeping Manager who started at a kitchen sink 16 years ago, a new PA to the Services Manager who started as a cleaner, two wonderful Housekeeping Supervisors who were also cleaners, and a myriad of Housekeepers and trainees who have completed a 3-year housekeeping course designed by their Manager.  In the Nursing Department, we have a Staff Nurse, who became a Nursing Manager and is now our esteemed HR Manager; 4 Senior Charge Nurses and their 2 relievers assist the Sisters; Carer Team Leaders rise up to their roles with a second-in-command and their team of 1 to 3 junior Carers who are specifically trained by Sr. Howes.  Thus far we have had one Carer who became an RN and then moved on to become a Facility Manager; 2 others trained to become RN’s, 5 became ENA’s and 1 trained to become a Staff Nurse (EN).  We also take in nursing students from SEESA and other training facilities to ground them in excellence of care as our specific Community Service Project.  Most wonderful of all is that we currently have two of our young Carers registered in College to become Registered Nurses and are shining because of the training they have received here. 

It has long been my dream over the last 16 years to run a licensed training school and this may yet come about once the Dept. of Social Development settles on a standardized Curriculum for Carers to be registered. Thus, imagine my joy when I was recently a patient at Kingsbury hospital, being lovingly greeted by one of my students, now an RN, running her own floor!

Our beautiful staff makes my heart sing for joy and my life so blessed by their willingness to learn and so wholeheartedly serve our residents!  I am proud of you all, past and present!

Love, Matron P

Mission Statement

 

Our Vision is to:

“Provide an exclusive, Christian, “Home-away-from-Home” for the Nursing Needs and Care of discerning elderly.

Our Mission is to:

  • excel at providing individualized care by trained and professional nursing staff.
  • To enhance our clients’ lives by respectfully attending to their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs.
  • While creating an atmosphere conducive to client and family satisfaction,
  • Our further desire is to enhance our employees’ lives through in-service training and maintaining Biblical values.”

Goals:

WE WILL EVALUATE WHAT WE ARE TRADING OUR LIVES FOR ON A CONSISTENT BASIS BY MAINTAINING THE FOLLOWING VALUES:

  • BEING ON TIME
  • WORKING TO STANDARD,
  • WITHOUT WASTAGE
  • AND WITH JOY

Signature CEO:                  Date: 31 – 3 – 2017

Signature Matron:          Date: 31 – 3 – 2017

 

Life at brenthurst

Back to the Hawaiian theme of last time – drums beating and Hula girls swaying……..What is it about a beat and body-moving-music that gets one going?  The steady beat thrumming with our hearts anmusic stirring the senses in response?

So it is even with the elderly, at 9.am today in the frail Care – Unit, barely awake after a comfort –food brekkie, the music on and Carers and Residents armed with tambourines / shakers / tapping sticks & clapping.  The sparkof rhythms soon light up tired eyes & feet start tapping.

 

Then the singing starts and music therapy is in full swing as clapping starts to drown out the music. Who cares if it is in tune?  The blood is now pumping, eyes bright and cheeks flushed in “the history of now” joins in yesteryear when they were a whirl on the dance floor, memories in the making then and now being re-awakened.

 

 

 

The smiles are worth it all and for a while life on the Frail Care unit, known as “Brenton Lodge,” is alive with joy and new delights, where the music of the heart never fades

 

 

 

Sincerely

Matron Lizann Painter

Good morning All,

This morning I had the pleasure of reading an article by: Tammy Lenski on the art of Mediation.

She explained how easily communication can go wrong by having one of the students in her class, tap out their favorite song on a drum.  She asked the rest of the class if they could recognize the song from the drumming. Fifty percent of the students put their hands up, but not one of them guessed the song correctly.

The article ended with a youtube clip of Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole playing, “Somewhere over the rainbow”  on a beach in Hawaii.

The beautiful, lilting music, immediately transported me to my two holidays in Hawaii, smells of lush, damp, undergrowth, and coconut milk filled my nostrils.

A luau with beautiful swayed hula dancers moving to the music.  Rich sunsets on volcanic, black beaches and swimming with iridescent tropical fish in crystal clear waters came to mind.

So imagine my delight when I heard and saw the lovely circle of elderly folk here at Brenthurst Residence singing and clapping to equally evocative music, as they sat in their chairs between the leaves drifting down in our Autumnal garden.

Strains of “This is my story, this is my song, praising my Saviour all the day long” drifted in the air.

I could only wonder, where, being able to sing “It is well with my soul”, transported them to. Smiles, eyes shining with tears brimming, had me saying thank you to being able to facilitate giving them such a wonderful Occupational Therapist in Imaan Abdurahman who so skillfully reached their hearts and memories with her beautiful song choices and melodies to the extent that as the staff were later walking in the garden with residents on their arms, they too were singing the songs as they walked

What a privilege it is for me to be Matron of Brenthurst Residence Nursing Home as “Mother” to these dear folks.

I look forward to writing more info as to the daily living here in the next few blogs.

Please feel free to comment, encourage us, make suggestions and come visit.

Sincerely

Matron Lizann Painter

Dementia Risks

Dementia related diseases. One of the silent and often overlooked risks for people living with Dementia is WEIGHT LOSS. The medial temporal cortex, which is involved in feeding behaviour and memory, is affected in the early stages of the disease. In today’s society weight loss is considered a good thing, something to aspire to, but as you become older that changes. Obesity carries its own risks, but for a person living with dementia, and even a healthy elderly person, there is a clear risk to losing weight. Often the weight being lost is muscle loss and not fat. The loss of muscle makes the person unable to carry their own weight and unsteady on their feet and the person becomes a fall risk. Falls can cause anything from skin flaps, broken hips to concussion. The consequence of repeated falls can become severe.

 

We do not have to accept the weight loss as a normal consequence of the illness. As caregivers, we have some simple tricks in our bag to combat dementia-associated weight loss:

 

  • Keep the person as active as possible, encourage them to exercise in any way that they are able. Swimming, dancing, walking, anything, and as much as what they are able to do. The more active they are the more enhanced their appetite will be. The increased movement will also help to improve their sleep.
  • Make sure that the meal with the highest caloric load is served at the time that they are the most alert. For most of Dementia patients this is at breakfast. There are some persons who are more alert later in the day, for them lunch can be the meal with the highest caloric load.
  • Don’t give them food they don’t like. This seems like an obvious, easy and silly point but people who live with dementia are often stubborn. If there is one thing on their plate that they do not like they can often discount the whole plate. The happier the person, the more likely they are to eat.
  • More herbs, more spices- over time and with age our taste buds ability decreases. This can be exacerbated by dementia. By using extra flavouring when cooking you can combat the problem of flavourless food and give the person more incentive to eat.
  • Make sure that the food is cooked to be tender and easily chewed and swallowed. Cutting the food into bite sized pieces before delivering it, will reduce the need to cut or handle the food which can frustrate or irritate the person.
  • Reduce the distractions in the dining room and over mealtimes. Turning off the television, making sure that your voice is kept low during meal times and ensuring that the table is clear of all unnecessary clutter will improve the focus on the meal and the eating process.
  • Make sure that the food is placed within the visual field of the person and that they are cued to start their meal. A person with a certain level of dementia will not initiate the eating process on their own, they will also stop and start eating and will need to be reminded to eat. Avoid interrupting the process or they might lose interest in the meal. Serve the pudding separately.
  • Frequently check the person’s mouth. Pain in their mouth or teeth can cause the person to lose their appetite and refuse to eat. Dentures that do not fit can cause frustration while eating and cause the person to stop eating.
  • Another obvious idea is to serve smaller more frequent meals with high calorie snacks in-between.
  • Champion independence. As the disease progresses the person will lose their ability to feed themselves little by little. The loss of independence can be devastating and depressing. Every scrap of independence that can be kept or regained will improve the person’s emotional wellbeing and, in turn, their appetite. There are many ways to offer the person’s independence back to them depending on their ability:
  • Make sure that the person can see the food i.e. do not put food on an overly patterned plate, this could cause the food to disappear into the pattern.
  • Make sure that the food colour contrasts with the colour of the plate.
  • Use cutlery crockery and glasses that are easy to lift and grip.
  • Give the person one item at a time with the appropriate utensil.
  • Make sure that the person is seated comfortably.
  • There are specific aids that can be bought to improve the person’s ability to eat on their own, plate guards to help scoop food on to the spoon or fork, utensils with plastic handles that are either molded to the person’s hand or that grip easier and will angle the spoon or fork into a better angle to easily fit into their mouth even with limited range of movement. Neck bibs that catch spills and. Hand wipes to reduce the tactile distraction if the person used their fingers to eat. Conversation may support distraction if they eat reluctantly.