24 November 2015
By Bryan Smyth
Oaklodge Nursing Home is celebrating after winning a national award at the Nursing Homes Ireland Care Awards 2015 on November 12th at Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, Dublin.
The Social Care Team from the nursing home in Cloyne, East Cork, was honoured with the Nursing Home Innovations in Dementia Care Award for the Oaklodge Choir initiative, which enables those who are most vulnerable and cognitively impaired to not alone be valued, but to socialise and be recognised for their own personal unique contribution to Oaklodge and the East Cork community in whatever way they can, at their own pace.
Oaklodge Nursing Home is a 65 bed home comprising a specialized care unit for residents with Dementia, and also caring for non-dementia residents. The Oaklodge Social Care team won the national award for its determination and commitment in successfully establishing the Oaklodge Choir for residents with dementia, supported by other residents and community volunteers.
Growing in strength since its establishment in 2013 to collaborating recently with a local primary school in writing and performing two songs about Oaklodge and the local area, the choir’s 15 members have also performed their own concert as part of the Midleton Mid-May Arts Festival and produced their very own CD. Residents with very advanced cognitive impairment participate, as well as those who are able to write poetry and songs.
Since the establishment of the choir, Diarmuid O Dalaigh, Managing Director, Oaklodge Nursing Home said “We have seen the positive impact of the choir as a means of communicating with individuals who were often no longer capable of verbal interaction, and how this process often ‘built up into something quite emotional’. Many families and staff noticed an improvement in the residents with regards to mood and quality of life. Our nurses have also noticed how rhythm appeared to engage them in a way that other musical activities did not. Residents with very advanced cognitive impairment, who may be only able to tap along, participate as well as those who are able to write poetry and songs. It is to our knowledge the only formally established choir in Ireland with a conductor, in a Long Term Care of the elderly residential setting for persons with advanced dementia.”
Speaking about the Social Care Team behind the award winning initiative, Diarmuid continued “The Oaklodge Social Care Team is made up of nurses, healthcare assistants, activity staff, management and volunteers who respond to the social care needs of residents. Coordinated by the activity carers Theresa Horgan and Eileen Kenneally, with the support of professional musician Angela Ryan of Music Alive, the team is an integral part of the care team in Oaklodge. Everyone tries to anticipate what residents would like through careful listening to their stories and no request is ever a problem. Projects undertaken include, art, poetry, letter writing, vintage cars, knit and natter, fundraising and of course the Oaklodge Choir.”
Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) is the representative organisation for the private and voluntary nursing homes sector. Now in their sixth year, nominations for the NHI Care Awards were invited and submitted by NHI’s 370 members based in communities across Ireland. 24 finalists went forward for eight award categories that recognised nurses, carers, catering and nutrition, ancillary workers, social and recreational activities, dementia care, and end of life care. The coveted awards were presented by National Chairman of HIQA Mr. Brian Mc Enery and hosted by RTE presenter Gráinne Séoige before a crowd of 500 at the prestigious national ceremony.
Tadhg Daly, Nursing Homes Ireland CEO extended his congratulations the Social Care Team saying “Congratulations to the team at Oaklodge for their magnificent achievement at this national awards ceremony. Nominees of an exceptional standard were put forward from nursing homes across the country. The finalists and nominees reflected the very high standards of care within our sector and fantastic dedication of nursing home staff in providing care and enhancing the quality of lives of persons who call nursing home ‘home’.”
Tadhg continued “With many nursing homes leading the way in developing new models of practice, challenging existing practices and eroding dominant stereotypes in dementia care, the Innovations in Dementia Care Award was established to celebrate innovative practice in this specialist care. Nursing homes are continually pushing the boundaries in innovative care practices and this award is an excellent accomplishment for Oaklodge who certainly have pushed the boundaries in innovative care practices.”
Oaklodge Choir is supported by HSE Arts and Health Fuse funding and Cork County Council Arts Dept funding.
Oaklodge Choir’s CD of old time favourite songs and Christmas classics is now on sale in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society and local charities. The residents’ arts and crafts group designed the artwork for the CD cover. The CD costs €10 and is available from Oaklodge reception.
For further information on Oaklodge Nursing Home call (021) 4646242 or visit www.oaklodgenursinghome.ie.