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Milford Care tips for communicating with elderly patients

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Here at Zycomm we live and breathe the art of communication. We provide solutions day in day out for customers across the country with our two-way radios; but what happens when the people you want to reach out to can’t always communicate in the conventional way?

At Milford Care they work with patients daily; from relatively autonomous elderly residents, who want assisted living for reassurance and support whilst maintaining their independence, right through to palliative end of life care. Milford Care has 5 care homes under its belt with a sixth one, Buddleia house, due to open shortly. For them, communicating with their residents isn’t always as simple as just talking.

I spoke to Milford Care’s Marketing Officer, Othnielle, who was kind enough to share with me some of the innovative ways they get past the communication barriers.

The Butterfly Model – Living in the moment

Milford Care embraces both the ‘Butterfly Model’ and the 'Montessori Way' which are both all about Person-Centred Dementia Care. In other words, ‘people first, tasks second’. Essentially, they acknowledge that independence is what all of us look forward to growing up and it isn’t something we relish having ripped away from us due to dealing with Dementia or other age-related diagnoses.  This means that all staff at Milford Care have been trained to put the individual’s thoughts and feelings first, whether that’s how they prefer to walk around the home or administering medication. The task is not the important part it’s the person.

“We take in to account how we ask others to join in the conversation we’re having about their care as opposed to telling them what they need, instead, asking phrases like “what would you prefer…”, “would you like to join…”, “Are you feeling like…” as opposed to – “you need to do [this] now”, “why haven’t you had [that] yet”, “No, that is not allowed”.  We have found that the simple phrasing of a statement has a great impact on resident well-being.

The cared for becoming the carers with the animatronic pony

Some residents find the transition from being independent to being cared for quite difficult, so Hazelgrove Care Home, part of the Milford Care Group, came with a clever way to give them something to care for.

The lifelike robotic pony, affectionately named Butterscotch, is changing the daily lives of residents at Hazelgrove care home in Hucknall. The pony has encouraged residents who have withdrawn into themselves to come out of their shell and engage in lively communication and dialogue. Care home Manager Lorraine Poundall read about the effect of these products but never believed it would be a tangible reality at the care home. “My husband took a long ride out to collect the pony one Sunday afternoon and wow! What a welcome Butterscotch has received.  All of our residents were excited, intrigued and alive with joy!”

Real animals have been used in the care home environment in the UK for many years with their positive effects being well documented. Robotic pets are now becoming more common in the community to help those with dementia still feel a sense of independence without the unpredictable nature that comes with common pets. This reduces stress and anxiety whilst promoting social interaction, reduces mood swings and increases speech fluency in residents living with dementia.

animatronic pony at milford care, dementia care tips

Bridging the gap

Children and the elderly have a symbiotic relationship. For live in patients, seeing such vibrant expressions of new life can bring instant joy helping them to feel young again. In addition, the young can learn so much for the old and with many having grandparents they naturally gravitate towards the ageing generation a lot more than their more cynical adult counterparts. Children are a reminder of all fresh starts and at Milford Care the staff work hard to provide residents with a new lease on life, a new chapter complete with movie nights, painting and ‘freedom to dance’ sessions amongst much more. 

Milford Care Home, Quality of life Movie Night

A reason to celebrate

We’d like to celebrate with Milford Care as we both hit a milestone year this year. Spencer Grove, one of their flagship Care Homes in Belper, celebrates a decade while here at Zycomm we celebrate 40 years in the telecommunications industry.

 Milford care Spencer Grove staff celebrate

Some of the dedicated Milford Care staff team

A new care home built on the foundations of feedback from patient and relatives

The new Buddleia House is due to open later this year and will be based in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire. Lorraine explains the concept behind the new House as a “home from home” where residents, their families and staff live and work together in a family environment. Buddleia House will have a bright, lively décor which compliments its person-centred care. Bespoke furnishings will encourage engagement and social interaction whilst supporting the complexities that come with conditions such as dementia. We invite you to read more about their new project and keep up-to-date with news on how they continue to change elderly lives.