IN DEPTH: Nightingale House gives insight into physiotherapy operation

NIGHTINGALE

Nightingale Hammerson’s Nightingale House boasts one of the UK’s largest in-house care home physiotherapy departments. Lead Physiotherapist Frances Claire Sepulchere tells Care Home Professional about her work. 

I am fortunate to work within a team of amazing people who do their upmost to help and enable residents with one-to-one therapy, group exercise and mobility classes and general wellbeing.

The therapy team works well above and beyond their job description and I am very proud to be a part of the multi-disciplinary team. The therapy team is split into occupational therapists, physiotherapists and a moving and handling advisor, and every resident who comes into Nightingale House is assessed for individual intervention needs.

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We also train all care staff on moving and handling, falls awareness and importantly, prevention, as well as offering falls prevention training for residents themselves. We have seen a 20% decrease in falls in the past year after proactively pushing this programme with a clear focus on achieving fall reduction.

On a weekly basis, we offer group body conditioning exercise classes for residents. They can choose whether to attend these but we typically have around 20 attendees. In addition, each day we can have as many as 26 residents attend one-to-one physiotherapy sessions at the therapy department,
and for those who are unable to come to the department, they are seen in the units or in their own room. Sessions include a range of movement exercises, strengthening exercises, mobility and balance exercises (evidence based), using bean bags, therapeutic bands, dumb bells and ankle weights. All physiotherapy interventions are tailored according to each resident’s physical and medical needs and their cognition.

We also run more specific group sessions (chair based, circle dancing, general body conditioning exercises and recently we have started a falls revention class) to meet every resident’s social and therapeutic needs meaningfully. Our team provides a person centred care approach, and we see the difference it makes to residents’ lives every day. Some people come into the care home wheelchair bound, but after regular motivated and graded sessions with us, some are now able to walk with a frame with close supervision, and some are able to walk independently around the unit using their recommended mobility aids.

We often see resident’s with complex needs come into the home, but conditions such as dementia shouldn’t stop their access to physiotherapy. In fact, it’s the opposite, we should encourage them to maximise their optimum potential in terms of mobility and independence. We have a feedback book in the department which shows how grateful the residents and their families feel about the support we offer, and the unexpected ways it can help people.

Something as simple as helping a resident out of bed or a chair, and then stand unassisted, gives back the resident’s dignity and independence, and even their sense of “living again”. As a therapist, and like any staff in Nightingale House, as much as we have a very busy hectic day, one “thank you” from a resident is a great reward; it makes us feel valued and appreciated and gives us the energy and motivation to come back again the next day.

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