The chal­lenges faced FIRST PER­SON

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY LIANNE KOLIRIN

LUNCH IS over and a dozen wheel­chairs are gath­ered in a semi-cir­cle for the af­ter­noon’s ac­tiv­ity at the Betty and Asher Lof­tus Cen­tre, Jewish Care’s Fri­ern Bar­net com­plex, of which Lady Sarah Co­hen House is part.

To­day the liv­ing well team has or­gan­ised a word game. But it could just as eas­ily be a sin­ga­long, ex­er­cises, a dis­cus­sion group or a gar­den­ing ses­sion.

Al­though a few res­i­dents are en­joy­ing a post-pran­dial snooze, oth­ers en­gage en­thu­si­as­ti­cally in the ac­tiv­ity. At the back of the room, a wo­man is try­ing get in­volved but strug­gling to be no­ticed.

When this is pointed out to Al­bert, the se­nior nurse who is show­ing me around, he smiles. “That’s where she sits,” he says. “She likes it like that.”

It’s the kind of de­tail that Al­bert, a res­i­dent nurse at the home for 13 years, prides him­self on know­ing.

Fol­low­ing a re­cent in­spec­tion, the Care Qual­ity Com­mis­sion re­ported that the home re­quires im­prove­ment in three of the five CQC cat­e­gories.

But to a vis­i­tor, the com­mu­nal space is bright and airy, the staff at­ten­tive. Al­bert flicks through a vo­lu­mi­nous file as he makes the med­i­ca­tion round. Other em­ploy­ees tidy up and as­sist res­i­dents need­ing to use the bath­room.

The pres­sures are ob­vi­ous. This is a nurs­ing home whose res­i­dents have com­plex care needs. In the past, some would have been cared for in hos­pi­tals and hos­pices. The age range is from 60s to a 104-year-old.

“We of­ten deal with end of life sit­u­a­tions,” ex­plains Al­bert, adding that res­i­dents’ con­di­tions in­clude Parkin­son’s, mo­tor neu­rone dis­ease, MS and di­a­betes.

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