A Closer Look at the Homes

In today’s blog we’re looking at a couple of our nursing homes in a bit more detail, exploring the history of the building and the types of care it now offers.  I’m also going to introduce you to some of the amazing people that work there.

Shining the spotlight – Aldingham and St Cuthberts

The homes are situated on the Coast Road between Barrow in Furness and Ulverston.   Aldingham is a stunning mansion with a fascinating history.  It was designed by Sir Matthew Digby Wyatt and built by a learned, wealthy and benevolent cleric, the Rev. Dr John Stonard.  Rev Stonard was a tutor for some time of William Pitt, who later became Prime Minister.  Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort, visited Rev Stonard in his new home and carvings commemorating this event still grace the entrance porch.

Aldingham is a Grade II listed building, it has three spacious lounge/dining areas, a beautiful conservatory and several cosy sitting areas, all decorated and furnished to an extremely high standard to ensure the comfort of our residents.  Two modern passenger lifts connect the three floors. The patios and extensive gardens and seaside location are just some of Aldingham’s greatest attributes.  All rooms are en suite with the bathrooms having specialised baths installed, and the most sophisticated lifting equipment makes taking a bath an easy, safe, and convenient pleasure.

Aldingham Nursing Home

Over the years Aldingham has developed into a home which provides both physical and mental health nursing support.  The home is extremely experienced in providing complex nursing care and has developed skills in caring for clients with dementia. In order to ensure that clients displaying both needs receive appropriate care, support and treatment; we have experienced mental health nurses who assesses, plan, implement and evaluate the mental health needs of each client and registered general nurses on duty to ensure the nursing care needs are also met.

St. Cuthbert’s is set within its own extensive, mature grounds and is part of Aldingham Nursing Home.  It was purpose built and specifically designed for people experiencing dementia; it has wide, bright corridors and all the rooms are on one level.  The home has access to secure garden areas to allow residents to walk freely without feeling restricted.  St Cuthberts has two units Bluebell and Daffodil, each unit has a delightful lounge/dining room, which overlook, and lead to, the enclosed patio gardens.  There is also a smaller lounge which provides more intimate surroundings, perfect for family visits or quiet times

St Cuthberts Nursing Home

The home utilises the Stirling University Design for people with Dementia Audit Tool, whereby colour contrast, use of lighting and space, is utilised and tailored specifically for people experiencing a dementia, in order to promote dignity, independence and enhance their quality of life.

Say Hello to the Team

Well…some of them!  There are around 80 amazing people working at Aldingham and St Cuthberts, all dedicated to the care and well being of the residents.  The teams are led by two Nurse Managers, Adelle on the Aldingham side and Marie on the St Cuthberts side.

Adelle – Nurse Manager, Aldingam and Marie – Nurse Manager, St Cuthberts

Adelle – Nurse Manager at Aldingham

I have worked for Risedale since qualifying as a Nurse in 2009. I initially started at Aldingham as a Staff Nurse and then went on to progress to a Senior Nurse at Lonsdale. After my maternity leave I then went to St Georges and in 2018 I came back to Aldingham to be Nurse Manager. Throughout my career at Risedale I have been given opportunities to develop and progress in any interests I have shown and I have recently completed a dementia module to help with my practice in a Mental Health setting. Aldingham is my favourite home I have worked in, the building and surroundings are beautiful. I am very proud to work alongside such a fantastic team who work extremely hard to give our residents the best care possible.

Marie – Nurse Manager at St Cuthberts

I started working at St Cuthbert’s Nursing Home when I was 18 (21 years ago!) At this time I lacked confidence and didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life. I worked as a Health Care Assistant and Activity coordinator for 4 years and during this time the nurses helped build my confidence and really encouraged me to progress within nursing.  I went off to St Martin’s College do my nurse training (Risedale didn’t have all the amazing training opportunities in the olden days that they have now!). Whilst doing my nursing placements in the hospital and community, I found that I missed being able to build therapeutic relationships with people in the way you can in a long term care setting and knew at that point that I wanted to return to Risedale when I qualified.   In 2007 I started at Aldingham Nursing Home as a brand new nurse, within a year I was offered the position of Senior Nurse and then progressed to Nurse Manager in 2014, initially managing Aldingham and now St Cuthbert’s. I am extremely privileged to be part of an amazing team at St Cuthbert’s and really enjoy supporting others to progress and develop.

Joanna – Senior Nurse

Joanna started with Risedale in 2013 as a Care Assistant.  Joanna went through our Assistant Practitioner and Nursing programmes and qualified as a Registered Nurse in 2019 and is now a Senior Nurse at Aldingham.

Christan has been working at Risedale for 5 years.  Starting as a Care Assistant, Christan then joined our Nursing programme.  Currently working in a team leading role as a Nurse Support at St Cuthberts, Christan will qualify as a Registered Nurse next year.

Christan – Nurse Support

Olivia – Nurse Support/Student Nurse. Olivia is working as a Nurse Support at St Cuthberts and studying on our nurse programme with the Open University.

Megan – Nurse Support. Megan is based at St Cuthberts and is studying for her Level 3 diploma in Health & Social Care while working as a Nurse Support

Emma – Nurse Support. Emma joined Risedale in 2019 as a Care Assistant, currently working as a Nurse Support while studying to become an Occupational Therapist

In Their Own Words

Similar to an earlier blog, I’ve been chatting to the team about what it’s like to be a care assistant.  Here’s what they had to say.

Claire:   Tell me about a typical day as a care assistant

Joanna: Here at Aldingham we are a great team.  We come to work to make a difference to people’s lives, it’s immensely rewarding.  As a team we help with hygiene, dressing, assisting with activities, meals and we enjoy spending time getting to know our residents.

Emma: Every day is different which is why I love the job so much.  We help the residents with their daily needs like washing and dressing, maintaining hygiene and their safety.  We offer social and emotional support; we work as a team and all support each other.

Christan: Assisting residents and anticipate their needs on a daily basis.  We provide personal care and pressure relief to maintain hygiene needs and to prevent pressure ulcers.  As a care assistant it is important to maintain the resident’s dignity at all times.  As I work with many residents with dementia or mental health conditions it is important to offer emotional support and reassurance where needed.  It is also important to understand that we are working in the resident’s homes and we must respect that.

We come to work to make a difference to people’s lives, it’s immensely rewarding.

Joanna – Senior Nurse, Aldingham

Olivia: Our morning starts with doing handover and finding out what’s been happening previously.  Afterwards medications are allocated and we as carers go to assist our residents to get up and washed.  During the course of the day, we assist our residents with personal hygiene needs, eating, drinking and complete activities with them.  No two days are the same and things change all the time.

Megan:  As a care assistant a typical day for me would be helping and caring for our residents, everyday can be different.  We help with all daily tasks and provide comfort and support for the residents.

Garden and Sea View from Aldingham Nursing Home

Claire:   Can you give me a list of jobs that care assistants do?

Emma: Maintaining hygiene, giving medications, talking to and reassuring residents, helping with meals/feeding.

Christan: Providing personal care, assisting with meals, administering medications, monitoring and documenting fluid and diet intakes, providing emotional support to residents.

Olivia: Washing and dressing, maintaining nutritional and hydration needs, giving out medications.

Megan: Medications, feeding, keeping hydrated, changing, provide comfort, help with activities.

Joanna: Help with meals, help with dressing/washing, provide support, go to appointments with residents, activities, medications.

Claire:   What did you do before you came to work at Risedale?

Christan: I went to Edge Hill University to study criminology and law.  I worked part time as a waitress at Salvanas restaurant before I started working at Risedale.

Olivia: Before Risedale I was a housekeeper at Premier Inn.  My job role was to ensure the cleanliness was up to standard in the rooms and the overall building.  I also interacted with guests at the hotel to ensure that they had enjoyed their stay.

Megan: I worked as a waitress at the Bay Horse Pub in Ulverston but wanted a career change.  I was looking for a more challenging role where I could also help and make a difference, I get to do that as a care assistant. 

Joanna: Prior to Risedale I was a childminder registered with OFSTED, however as my son was getting older, I decided to have a change of career.

Emma: I was a beauty/sports massage therapist, self employed for 20 years.  When the Covid 19 pandemic hit my salon had to close and I got a job straight away with Risedale.  It was the best thing that could have happened.

Claire:   What do you like about being a care assistant?

Olivia: I enjoy interacting and caring for our residents. I also like the opportunities Risedale give like nursing support, AP and nursing courses.

Megan: The residents, they’re what’s important and I like getting to know them.  The staff are lovely too.

I like the family dynamic with staff and residents. Everyone is made to feel so welcome

Christan – Nurse Support/Student Nurse

Joanna: No two days are the same.  I build a good rapport with residents and their families.  I can make such a big difference to someone.  We have a great supportive team.  

Emma: The residents are the best part and the team I work with are fantastic.

Christan: I like that I can make a difference to a resident’s day.  I like the family dynamic with staff and residents. Everyone is made to feel so welcome.

Claire:   Is there anything you dislike about being a care assistant?

Megan: The wage could be slightly better, but generally people come in to care because they want to make a difference not because it’s a high paid profession.

Joanna: Like all jobs it has bits you enjoy more than others but we all support and help each other with all parts.

Emma: I’m afraid so, but the good parts definitely outnumber the bad.

Christan: The worst part of my job is sometimes seeing residents’ physical health decline and deteriorate.

Olivia: I enjoy my job however I believe for what we do the pay could be better but that’s the same in care everywhere. We’re also given so many opportunities like the nurse training which is fully funded by Risedale, not all care companies can offer that.

Claire:   Tell me about your Risedale journey, how you started and where being a care assistant has taken you.

Joanna: I started my journey with Risedale in 2013 as a health care assistant working night shift.  I applied to become an assistant practitioner as I wanted to learn new things and progress.  I was successful and joined Cumbria University, graduating in 2016 was a very proud moment for myself and family.  In 2016 Risedale had started training their own registered nurses, I applied to do this degree and was successful.  In 2019 I became a registered nurse which was a dream come true for me, something I couldn’t have done without the support and sponsorship from Risedale.  After working at Aldingham Nursing Home for over a year I was promoted to a senior nurse.  I love my job, it’s so diverse.  I work alongside the carers and we have such a good supportive team.  I am continuing to develop my knowledge to be the best that I can for the residents at the home.  Currently I am studying a dementia degree module which will help me lots in my area of work.

Emma: I came to Risedale during the Covid 19 pandemic as a care assistant and soon became a nursing support.  Risedale offer many training opportunities, I am now studying with the University of Cumbria training to be am Occupational Therapist through Rosedale.

Christan: I started at Risedale when I was 21 years old, almost 5 years ago as a health care assistant.  Shortly after I became a nurse support assistant in which I lead the shift and became more involved in resident’s care in regards to medication, care plans and working alongside the multidisciplinary teams.  After my first year at Risedale on Abbey Road I applied for my adult nursing degree withing Risedale and started the September after.  I am now getting ready to qualify next year as a general nurse which I could not be any more grateful for the opportunity from Risedale.  I am now working at St Cuthberts and I am enjoying every minute, even on the hard days.

Olivia: When I started at Risedale I was a healthcare assistant.  I was privileged to be given the opportunity to apply to do my general nursing degree.  I applied and got onto the Open University course which I’m now half way through.  While doing this I also became a nurse support which entails being a team leader so gives more responsibility of care plans, extra medications to give and even shifts to run.  I’d always take an opportunity Risedale give as there are benefits to this.

Megan: I started as a healthcare assistant whilst at college, now I’m a nurse support studying my Level 3 in health and social care with Lakes College.  I work full time whilst I study, all of the college work is done online and an assessor come to the home for some parts.   

The view from Aldingham Nursing Home

I am very proud to work alongside such a fantastic team who work extremely hard to give our residents the best care possible.

Adelle – Nurse Manager, Aldingham

I am extremely privileged to be part of an amazing team at St Cuthbert’s and really enjoy supporting others to progress and develop.

Marie – Nurse Manager, St Cuthberts

Is care for me?  I love our home at Aldingham and St Cuthberts and I know it would be a fantastic place to work as a carer if I decide care is for me!

Is care for you?  Let me know.

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