Making a difference through reconnection

17 May 2023 News

As the saying goes, life is for living. We all need a sense of purpose and value to our lives. People living with dementia are no different.

Re-framing the approach to care provision for those with dementia is front of mind for Orchard Care Homes. We’re passionate about challenging years of formulaic and impersonal care practices within the sector, that are still all too common today. We believe in equitable care for all, and that people should be treated as individuals, not shaped by their diagnoses.

We now have 5 Reconnect communities operating within our 23 homes, with more to come in the future. Our ethos is, as the name suggests, to help people to reconnect with their lives. These communities allow for a more tailored, personal approach to dementia care. Frequently, people who come to stay at our Reconnects have previously experienced heightened levels of distress, often managed through the use of antipsychotic medications. We’ve seen that many people referred to us have been declined placements elsewhere due to perceived high risks.  

A homely environment

Our Reconnect model succeeds by offering genuine inclusion. To reflect the traditional homely atmosphere and promote choice of activity, we’ve adapted our environments to include facilities that you may find in many people’s houses – DIY work rooms, kitchens, a laundry and gardens. We encourage everyone to use these spaces as they did in their own homes.

Life history plays a big part in how we support the person - family involvement is seen as important and is actively encouraged. Our environments are calming and provide space to be alone, socialise or take part in day-to-day life tasks. It’s not uncommon for people to give a helping hand with the laundry, cleaning, or laying the table for meals; or preparing food in the kitchen and maintaining the garden.

To make this kind of living possible, we have an increased staff ratio and train each member of staff to the highest dementia care standards. Our comprehensive training and development for staff enables them to genuinely understand the needs of people and put practical, effective care plans in place to support them individually, with the lifestyle and activities that they choose.

As a result, we’ve seen people’s lives transformed. The people who live in our Reconnect communities are able to maintain life skills and derive meaning from each day by living as normally as possible. We’ve seen a significant reduction in the use of psychotropic medications, alongside improvements in people’s ability to engage with day-to-day tasks, and in the building of positive bonds with others. Self-esteem improvements and enhanced wellbeing have also been achieved.

You can learn more about our Reconnect service by downloading a brochure here