By Leon A Smith
July 15, 2011
Last week was a memorable week at Nightingale following the official opening of our wonderful new Wohl Wing by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. We were all very nervous about whether the building would actually be finished in time for the official opening, but the builders ensured that it was – at least sufficiently open for the event which was attended by large numbers of Nightingale residents, staff and many friends and supporters.
The visit lasted an hour and His Royal Highness chatted with residents who were involved in a range of activities including cooking, pottery, drawing, and discussion groups. He also met many of our staff and displayed a keen genuine interest in everybody. If there wasn’t a “Prince Charles Fan Club” based in Nightingale previously, there certainly is one now! His charm and enthusiasm rubbed off on everybody, creating a wonderful feel good ambiance throughout the Home. Some 140 invited guests also enjoyed an excellent lunch following the visit.
The new building is in my humble and totally objective opinion pretty much the best example of dementia design that there is around at the present time. Enormous attention has been given by the specialist architects to the physical layout of the building, the layout of the individual rooms, the provision of a large number of activities areas, and very special attention has also been paid to the décor, artwork and signage.
The first residents will be moving into the building in late August and the whole building will be fully occupied over a 2 week period. Our grateful thanks go to the Trustees of the Maurice & Vivienne Wohl Charitable Foundation and to our many friends and donors for supporting this venture.
Notwithstanding this, we realise that first class care is not just about buildings – it’s about people. We have a wonderful staff in whom we are investing heavily through an extensive and sophisticated training programme being carried out by the acclaimed Dementia Centre at Bradford University. Our objective is to ensure that we provide person centred care to all of our residents by meeting their individual preferences and choices. This is a major project which will extend over a 2-year period.
Nightingale recognises that to a great extent the future of care is likely to include a high level of demand from those in the community who are currently living with dementia. Nightingale is determined to continue to be a leader in this field.
This week a report was presented at the All Party Parliamentary Group on dementia care which amongst many other important recommendations highlighted the need for dementia training for those involved in the care of older people. The publication of this report is very timely coming so soon after the publication of the Dilnot report on funding for long term care and also the Hughes-Hallet report on palliative care.
There can be no question that issues surrounding the care and funding of older people have now noticeably risen up the political agenda and we must all hope that the time for reports, commissions and enquiries is coming to an end and the time for action and decision making is going to begin.