Promoting Independence

Drumbrae and Granton Day Centre offers a support service for older people. The centre operates across two sites in Edinburgh and when set up the emphasis was on a move away from a traditional day centre/lunch club to a focus on reablement and promoting physical and cognitive independence. Occupational therapy staff are now employed to focus on exercise and falls prevention, and the service has also introduced Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) to support people living with mild to moderate dementia to help maintain memory, verbal interaction and problem solving skills.

By listening to service users, focusing on their needs and wants, encouraging them to achieve their goals, and having enthusiastic staff, Drumbrae and Granton Day Centre promotes independence for the older people that attend their service.

Drumbrae and Granton - Jane Brown

As the Care Inspectorate inspector Jane Brown reflects “it’s not about ‘doing for’ someone. It’s about enabling them and finding a way of supporting them to achieve what they want, if indeed that’s what they want to achieve. And although that’s something that’s talked about a lot, and I think we almost think that most people work that, they don’t.” Jane also appreciates that staff are “very much respectful of the service users and they’re very aware of promoting individuality but also trying to enable people to regain some skills that they may have lost.”

Drumbrae and Granton - Evalina

The practical aspect of how to promote independence in older people is carried out through regular reviews. Evelina, the Assistant Unit Manager, explains that, “the staff will sit down with a client every six months, they will have reviews, and they will break those objectives into little goals and see how they are managing. For example, there could be a goal for someone who can’t bend and always uses a grabbing reacher. But by doing an exercise class, they are able to pick up a newspaper from the floor.” The impact of that work can be seen in the attitude of the service user, Elizabeth, who understands that it’s “very important [to keep active]. And I have to climb up three flights of stairs to get to my house!”

The service does promote independence and offer practical activities but as   Service Manager, Lewis, comments,  “the service works on lots of different levels, it’s important for people to have a social content, it gives them an opportunity to meet different people; it also lets them experience different things sometimes. We can work with people to encourage mobility, fitness, things like that, which is really important in terms of maintaining their independence, enabling them to remain in the community as long as possible.”

The different levels the service works on can be illustrated by the Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) groups established. Care Inspectorate Inspector Jane Brown after observing one of the groups comments that, “It brought out emotions which you don’t get in a normal conversation. For example, “on the menu today for lunch is…what would you like?”, “we’re going to do this group this afternoon, do you fancy getting involved?” It’s a method of bringing out other interactions which are not necessarily promoted through a normal discussion.”

Drumbrae and Granton - Group

A further explanation of the CST groups is offered by social care worker, Diane McGinely. Diane explains that, “The group is set up the same way each week so you have the same people that go to the group and the same member of staff. It has a structure so that the people with memory problems can get used to doing the same things. So we will do the date, the weather, reading from the newspapers, then we stop and have a ball game to brighten people up a wee bit. And we have name [tags], so that people can be familiar with each other and learn each other’s names…And we also hear a lot of stories, a lot of chat from the service users about what it is they remember. When it’s music week in CST it spurs memories of music and dancing, how they met husbands and how they made their own clothes. So it does spur on a lot of conversation. CST, it’s really relationship building as well, it’s helping people gain confidence by it being the same structure, familiar faces.”

By offering practical solutions, a welcoming atmosphere, and innovative approaches such as CST, Drumbrae and Granton Day Centre is promoting independence for the older people that attend their service.

We publish regular inspection reports for all care services - and grades can go up and down depending on what we see. The effective practice we see here should always be read in conjunction with the latest inspection report

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