Animals help provide care in Heathfield

Heffle court nominated for an award. Debbie Potter (manager) with duck, staff and residents in background
Heffle court nominated for an award. Debbie Potter (manager) with duck, staff and residents in background

A care home in Heathfield where residents - often former farmers or farmworkers - can help care for animals and even grow their own vegetables, has been shortlisted for a coveted national award.

Heffle Court care home specialises in looking after people suffering from dementia.

Staff are celebrating after being told they could scoop the title of Best Dementia Care Home at the National Dementia Awards being held in Brighton on November 11.

Heffle Court, part of the Caring Homes group, is an all-dementia care home that has developed a stimulating environment in which its 39 residents can live happy and meaningful lives. The home’s ethos ensures all residents are treated as individuals, with dignity and respect; they have complete choice around their lives with no restrictions but are carefully assessed in a discreet manner without imposing on their daily lives.

This approach stems from medical professionals’ recommmendations that stimulation and involvement in activities helps people stay happy and enables them to retain some level of independence.

Residents take part in the home’s ‘Living’ activities programme, a ‘five a day’ concept where they choose five activities that meet social, emotional, cognitive, sensory or physical needs as part of a holistic programme of care. One unusual aspect is the ‘mini farm’ where residents help care for chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, goats and birds in an aviary.

Group director Sue Glanz nominated the home after being impressed by the staff’s commitment to residents. “The team at Heffle Court are enthusiastic and provide an exceptionally high level of care,” said Sue. “I am impressed with their dedication and desire to increase their understanding and knowledge of dementia.”

Heffle Court manager Debby Potter is delighted the home has been shortlisted for such a prestigious award. “Our priority is to provide the best possible care we can for our residents who are living with dementia. We focus on helping improve their lives by providing care and support which makes a real difference. We are looking forward to the awards evening on November 11.”