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August - September 2009
GOLD CARE HOMES OPENS NEW CARE CENTRE IN WELWYN, HERTFORDSHIRE
Gold Care Homes increased their foothold in the Care Home market with the opening of a brand new, custom built, state of the art Care Centre in Welwyn. The Autumn Vale Care Centre was opened by Grant Shapps, M.P. for Welwyn & Hatfield at a ceremony which was held on the 26th June 2009. The opening ceremony included guided tours, wine and refreshments for the many people who attended.
The directors, Ravi and Sukhi Gidar with their wives were very proud to open the new Autumn Vale Care Centre, having founded the company 10 years ago. Ravi and Sukhi both qualified Pharmacists and piers of Society started their care business in 1999 by opening a care home in Hemel Hempstead. Now they have become experts and provide specialist care on 9 sites up and down the country. Dementia Care is where they strive for excellence, having won many awards in the care sector, they intend to provide the best quality care in safe luxurious environments.
Over 150 people battled through the elements and the traffic on the M25 and were amazed at the quality of the 67 bed home, each room being equipped with en-suite facilities. The new facilities will provide further beds for Residential Dementia Care, Nursing Dementia Care and Frail Elderly Nursing. Gold Care Homes are committed to providing excellent services and intend to become a centre of excellence for Dementia Care.
The single storey, flagship care centre was built by Gold Care Homes to address a growing problem in the UK today. There is an aging population in the UK and the Alzheimer’s Society reports that there are currently 700,000 people living with dementia in the UK, a figure which it expects to increase to more than one million by the year 2025. (Source: www.alzheimers.org.uk).
A fundamental principle in addressing the needs of dementia patients is that impairments should be compensated for by the environment where patients reside. Impairments can be Physical, visual, aural, or cognitive.
Autumn Vale has been designed with high levels of visual access in communal areas like the living rooms where an open plan approach has been adopted. This provides high levels of visual access which in turn allows different spaces and uses to be seen from these communal areas. This allows residents to see clearly where the area for sitting and eating are, and where the kitchenette is. Compensating for impaired reasoning is demonstrated by contrasts between surfaces and objects. At Autumn Vale there is a clear contrast between floor and wall finishes and between handrails and grab rails and the walls behind. Light switches also contrast with their background, as do toilet seats. There is a much misunderstood issue of colour perception. As most people get older they lose the ability to differentiate between colours, so colour contrast rather than colours are the key to orientation. The ability to discriminate between colours fails first at the violet end of the spectrum with the red/orange/yellow end failing last, so these colours may be more effective for some people.
Autumn Vale has also been designed with compensation for impaired learning in mind. This is illustrated by multiple cues for doors, such as all toilet doors being a single bright contrasting colour with a picture as well as words. Objects or architectural features work better than colour for orientation. Certain walls can be curved, for example, or have a noticeably different texture, or a painting/clock/pot plant can be strategically placed. Motifs on doors or at eye level on walls and noticeably different joinery can give an identity to each household and cues for residents to know where they are.
The new Care Centre allows for independence of residents. It is safely designed so that dementia residents can walk around the home and make their own choices. Non accessible doors are hidden by painting them the same colour as their surround. Having a non institutional, homely and domestic feel is essential to any care and extra care development and at Autumn Vale they have strived for domestic-scale rooms, homely-looking furniture, potted plants, ornaments, domestic kitchen cupboards, and cross-head separate hot and cold water taps which are all examples of objects that are familiar to people in their own homes. These items are very much influenced by culture and context and are something that will change as future generations are more familiar with remote control televisions, compact discs, computers, the internet etc.
Autumn Vale provides a hair and beauty salon, for recreation as well as areas for special activities such as art and crafts.
A built environment is just one aspect of a total person-centred care approach. The approach and attitude towards care are equally or more important than the built environment. At Gold Care Homes, all of our care staff are encouraged to undertake the Asset level 2 NVQ qualification in Dementia Care. Also all of our homes managers have been enrolled on a 2 year distant learning course at the University of Bradford which is the leading University in Dementia training. This has been a huge investment by Gold Care Homes.
The home will bring employment opportunities for many local people and further work for local businesses.
Further to the project at Autumn Vale, Gold Care Homes has also just acquired a 76 bed home in Wantage bringing the total number of beds to 525. On top of this, two sites have been purchased one in Sidcup Kent and the other in Feltham Middlesex ,which are to be developed into similar state of the art homes for special care.