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Fernhill House welcomes its first residents
Fernhill House's first resident, Claude Bronckaerts, plans to spend some time every day in the home's own pub! 

A Belgian who speaks eight languages, Claude is enjoying a range of Belgian beers bought in especially for him as well as a range of traditional pub meals prepared by the home’s award winning chef Chris Williams, who has worked with Heston Blumenthal and Marco Pierre White.  

The pub is one of the unusual features of Fernhill House’s dementia community village, which also has a 1950s style shop and an indoor potting shed. A beautifully equipped babies’ nursery offers powerful and moving doll therapy which can be very effective in helping people with dementia.   

Staff dress in 1950s and 60s clothes and offer a range of specialist activities harking back to the residents’ younger days.   Manager Peta Mandleberg explained: “We wanted to create a place full of vibrancy – somewhere that didn’t scream ‘care home’, but which was a fun and interesting place to live, but at the same time which had highly experienced staff – and people who have passion for their work. So, as well as our team of nurses we have wellbeing ambassadors chosen for their enthusiasm and vivacity. 

Instead of a TV room we have an art deco style cinema complete with popcorn cart. Our shop isn’t just a place in which to buy things –indeed there is no need to buy anything as everything is included in the fees – but an amazing destination, offering a trip down memory lane for those living with dementia. The pub is exactly like a real pub – the entire dementia floor is more like a themed village than a care home.   

“We’re also acutely aware of how difficult it can be families to think about their loved ones moving to a home. The daughter of one of our first residents here had been looking at a number of places and was very dispirited – until she came to see us and really felt the passion and fun here. It’s very, very different. And our open door policy means families are welcome whenever they wish.”   She added: “We have events and activities going on every day -  gym sessions, arts and crafts, gardening, tea dances, choir therapy, string quartet recitals, bubbles and blinis evenings and morning sherry every day!     

“Residents are actively encouraged to invite friends and family to dine with them or share cocktails, tea and cakes as often as they like at no extra charge, as there is a single fee to cover absolutely everything.” 

• Claude Bronckaerts is the first resident to move into the luxurious and trailblazing Fernhill House near Worcester

Fernhill House celebrates National Pet Month
The opening of Fernhill House this April coincides with another important date in the calendar - National Pet Month!   The therapeutic benefits animals can bring to people are well documented.   

Home manager Peta Mandleberg will regularly be bringing in her two friendly labradoodles, Lucy and Ruby, to be stroked by any residents who appreciate the comfort obtained from contact with a warm furry pooch!  

Indeed, at Fernhill House, every month is pet month!   Throughout the year, as well as regular visits from Lucy and Ruby, a variety of other four legged beasts may make an appearance at Fernhill House. There are already plans for regular petting animals and reindeer at Christmas!   

One of the wrenches for many people moving into a home is the loss of a beloved pet - but at Fernhill House, for those able to take care of their day to day needs, pets will be positively encouraged to remain with their owners – although Peta does draw a line at snakes!   

Research shows that living with pets helps lower blood pressure, lessen anxiety and boost immunity.   Cuddling a pet can elevate levels of ‘happy chemicals’ serotin and dopamine and release oxytocin which has a calming soothing effect.   

According to one psychologist: “A pet is better than Prozac. Animals have a completely different agenda to humans, and bring things back to basics. They want comfort, feeding and love. In return, they give huge affection.”    

Team building day reflects fun ethos of Fernhill House
Putting the fun into retirement living is a key part of the ethos of Fernhill House, and with that in mind, its new 100 strong team were invited to take part in a range of zany activities as part of a team building day held in the run up to its opening this week.   

The event, organised by manager Peta Mandleberg and deputy manager Clair Gurteen, saw the entire staff being asked to do weird and wacky things to help them to get to know each other and really get under the skin of Fernhill House’s dynamic approach to retirement living. 

Among the activities was a competition to see which team could build the tallest giraffe out of spaghetti and marshmallows. Needless to say the spaghetti was uncooked – or the result would have been both very sticky and a little droopy!   The teams were predominantly made up of trained nurses and wellbeing ambassadors. The latter were selected for their passion and enthusiasm and will look after the residents’ day-to-day requirements.   

Peta explained: “Appointing people who will help our residents at all stages of their day – from their morning cup of tea and bathing to organising craft and fitness activities and joining the residents for a potter in the garden – provides reassuring continuity.”   

All members of the senior leadership team helped out on the day, including award winning chef Chris Williams, maintenance manager David Smith, dementia lead Jo Hopkins and administrators George Carr and Debs Jones.   

Peta Mandleberg, a registered nurse who has worked in the care sector for many years, is passionate about the ethos of the home and specifically recruited people who share that passion and enthusiasm.   “We will offer a different approach to life for over-65s and want to put the fun and fulfilment back into retirement living. That will be reflected in all we do,” she said.

Care Fees Presentation
Join us next Wednesday for a presentation on care fees and how to plan for them. You can also take a tour of the home while you're here. It's looking delicious.
Dementia specialist is poised to welcome residents to unique new community
The dementia lead at Fernhill House is looking forward to welcoming her first residents when the doors open later this month. 

Jo Hopkins, a dedicated care manager with more than 15 years’ experience, has plenty of ideas to ensure those living in the unique 36 bed dementia community enjoy themselves with a variety of day-to-day activities. 

Residents will choose for themselves what they want to do – rather than adhering to a timetable laid down by others. Staff will dress informally with a 50s and 60s theme. 

An indoor putting shed, shop and pub will provide places in which to socialise and continue hobbies, while residents can also enjoy safe access to a secure sensory garden.
 
The all inclusive price package means residents can enjoy wholesome nutritious meals created by award winning chef Chris Williams – and invite friends and family to dine with them as often as they like at no extra cost. The same goes for drinks in the bar, and tea and cakes in the bistro. The beauty therapists, chiropodist and hairdresser all have experience of working with people with dementia – making a trip to the salon a relaxing experience.

Jo, as well as making daily life fun and enjoyable, has a plethora of professional qualifications ensuring she understands the needs of residents with particular requirements and helping relatives feel comfortable knowing their loved ones are in safe and welcoming hands. 

As if that isn’t enough, three types of up-to-the-minute technology are in use across both the dementia and the over 65s community, which are aimed at ensuring residents’ wellbeing, keeping families informed and making the best use of staff time. 

Fernhill House is one of the first in the UK to install an acoustic monitoring system which keeps a virtual eye on residents while they are asleep and alerts staff to any unusual activity – such as falling out of bed or being distressed. 

It is one of only 270 homes in the country to have a Smartphone tool which replaces old fashioned notes, enabling all information to be shared to the central computer and making it instantly available for all members of the team. And an e-medication admin record – Wellpad - ensures residents have precisely the right dose of medication at the right time and removes any margin of error.