My first Magazine - Page 36

Serving to Change “I had originally intended for the hospice residents to occupy level 2 of the Annex building and the infants and children, the ground floor. But this building might have to go later to make way for new services and I didn’t want the hospice residents to die lonely. So back to the main building they came. They were supposed to be homed on the second floor, but that gave way to the dementia level as the staff felt the ground floor was too big a space for them to wander about safely.” The building process was a steep learning curve for many of the staff who took the experience in their stride. have taken off quite well and are fulfilling their respective purposes. “You don’t need an ‘A’ level cert to do art therapy. You can be a hawker and can still draw and connect. It’s about putting your feelings into what you do,” says Sr Geraldine. “What I also hope to see slowly changing is the people who come into the home to interact with our residents. I would like more younger people to come in, talk to the residents, support them. It’s not right for the old to look after the old. They should play the role of mentor, tutors, trainers, not look after someone their age.” Homecoming Trials St Joseph’s Home a Model of Care for Others? The long wait came to an end on 18 February 2017. The life that the team had envisioned for this and subsequent cohorts of seniors could finally begin even if on a pilot basis. One of the new features of the home was the family or cluster model concept of care. The same group of care staff would look after the same cluster of residents and be familiar with their preferences and needs. Great in theory and overall, great in practice except the part about everyone having to take on another role apart from their own. So nurses would double up as therapy aides and vice versa. “But it was easier for the nurses to do some of the work of therapy aides. Not so the other way around as they lack the professional know-how,” Sr Geraldine observes. So it’s back to the drawing board for further tweaking for now. But other new services like music and art therapy 34 | St Joseph’s Home “Can we be a light for others?” Sr Geraldine asks. “I’m not so sure given our 3+3+3 year land lease. We need to stay relevant to the times and respond to the needs that arise. I asked them if we can shut our hospice down when we moved to this new place. They said ‘No because St Joseph’s started it’. So what makes us different? What must we continue to do to do right by our residents and staff? This takes courage and perseverance and is not something that can be guaranteed in future. But we must try and the way to do this is to keep telling the story of how the home came to be and where it should be going. Ageing is not a burden, it is golden.” StJ