Exemplar care homes provide a home for a range of adults with complex needs and offer both end of life and long-term care for their service users.

There can sometimes be the small ‘miracles’ for some families where their loved ones are placed in Exemplar homes cfor end of life care and they defeat the odds to live longer, more enriched lives than they could have anticipated.

Wayne (pictured with an Exemplar team member) is one such example. In April 2016 he was assessed for end of life care following a brain injury. He was expected to have less than 12 weeks to live and when he first met the Exemplar team he was laid horizontal in his hospital bed with no meaningful communication taking place.

However, following his admission to Exemplar’s Dearnevale care home, staff realised that there was greater potential for Wayne’s recovery than previously thought. Wayne was desperate to communicate with staff and tried using different sound pitches to get his message across.

It quickly became apparent that rather than be fed via PEG, he was requesting food and drink. Keen to support Wayne’s desire to choose his meals, the staff worked with the speech and language teams to improve their communication channels with him, while liaising with the community dietitian to re-introduce food and drink safely. Following relevant assessments and encouragement, the team worked tirelessly with Wayne to regain his independence with food.

In tandem with the speech and language services, Exemplar staff worked with the continence service to improve Wayne’s quality of life in that area too. Over time, the team were able to remove Wayne’s catheter. It was a slow process but an important milestone for Wayne in regaining some of his independence.

Aside from providing support to help Wayne have independence with his diet and toileting, the in-house physio team looked to improve his sitting balance and core strength. He had been laid horizontal for a considerable time prior to his admission to the home and this had affected his ability to socialise with others outside of his room.

Following a programme from the physio team, and determination on Wayne’s part, Wayne is now able to move around the home in a wheelchair and he spends very little time in his bed.

Socially, he communicates using assistive technology, as well as his remaining verbal communication. He is well-known at the home for being a bit of a joker and thrives from socialising with others at the home.

He is always the first on karaoke to sing his version of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ and has come incredibly far from the unwell figure requiring end of life care that the team met in hospital.

Wayne’s initial prognosis to that of today is completely different and thanks to the Dearnevale team understanding the nuances of his initial attempts at communication, they have been able to provide the relevant support to improve his dignity in care on a day-to-day, long term basis.

Helen McGowan is home manager of Dearnevale, an Exemplar care home rated outstanding by the CQC. In addition to traditional complex nursing care packages for people with brain injuries and complex neurodisabilities, Helen also runs an Exemplar innovation known as OneCare, which creates specially adapted individual houses and flats for service users who do not require the wrap-around care of a home, but still require support for their nursing needs.

For referrals call 01709 565700 or email referrals@exemplarhc.com.
See www.exemplarhc.com for more info.