Debby’s innovation is recipe for success

  A SENIOR manager at a North East retirement village has been recognised for her pioneering way of working with residents.

Debby Lamont has achieved a first class honours degree in dementia studies from Bradford University while working as head of care and quality at Middleton Hall Retirement Village, near Darlington.

The trained nurse has also gone on to win a highly commended BUPA Award for Innovation in Person Centred Care for the project she included as part of her final dissertation.

Debby, of Richmond, North Yorkshire, was spurred onto studying for her degree after watching the film The Bucket List – where two terminally ill men go on a road trip with a wish list of ‘to dos’ before they die. She says she found her niche with the dementia course.

Debby, a mum-of-two, said: “I wanted a new challenge and I was passionate about this course. Although it was tough at times, Middleton Hall supported me all the way.

“I really enjoyed it and over two years it gave me a deep understanding of what people with dementia are going through and meant I was able to critically analyse the workplace and incorporate what I was learning.”

Debby was instrumental in setting up the retirement village’s Family Living service whereby a small group of residents, who generally have dementia, live together and actively participate in daily household tasks, such as helping to prepare meals.

As part of her final dissertation, Debby also instigated a project entitled A Recipe for Success, where Family Living residents undertake baking sessions to improve their well being and engagement. Residents were asked what they used to bake and their recipes and memories were brought to the baking sessions. Families also helped by jotting down memories about their loved ones baking on post it notes.

“Our residents with dementia live in a family environment and they do the things that they would have done at home. Recipe for Success is about ensuring that residents are at the centre of the activity,” said Debby.

“It was really rewarding to see them join in. We watched their confidence grow when we gently prompted them and it enabled them to remain in control which is important.

“We had the opportunity to learn from the experts because we found out what was meaningful to people in the past and they ended up showing us how to do things.”

Jeremy Walford, managing director of Middleton Hall Retirement Village, said: “We’ve separated our residential care into two different services as a result of Debby’s hard work.

“Family Living is very different from a traditional care home environment and we’ve seen significant physical and mental health improvements of residents as a result.”

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