New Blog Observations of an Admiral Nurse - by Jakki Whitehead

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Jakki WhiteheadJakki Whitehead, an experienced care professional, is training to become one of dementia care’s ‘beacons of excellence’ – an Admiral Nurse. This blog follows her journey from day one.

February 2017 -Effects of change

Just recently I have had occasion to be aware of the effects of change within my own life: change of hours, change of job role and what impact this has had on my home life.

It hasn’t been comfortable, and few big changes are. Yet I frequently see residents with dementia who have left their family and home to be admitted into hospital, then moved to a residential home and then to us at Riversway Nursing Home, without ever returning to their own home. All within a relatively short time.

Those residents have had to cope with three changes of abode in addition to other changes, such as;

  • Absence of family and recognised supports;
  • Changes in physical health or mental health such as confusional states resulting from infections;
  • Changes in medication and a complete change of their known routine.

All of this at a time when the fact that they have dementia makes it more difficult to understand and adjust to what is happening to them.

My manager Jan and I, often tell relatives that it can take three months for us to start to know the resident, their likes and dislikes and for them to get to know us and which carers they like to work with.

Within that time we try to find out about the resident from themselves and from their family. About their past life history, relationships that are important to them and coping techniques that the resident and their relatives have used.

These often highlight recent changes in the routine of the resident, for example a changed night and day sleep pattern is quite common. One of our residents had a very steady 72 hour pattern of sleeping and then 72 hours of waking, she could even enjoy her meals whilst in that sleepy state!

What is important, is to understand that any change, such as those above or maybe a well-loved carer leaving the home, can have massive effects on our residents, sometimes manifesting in changes of behaviour.

It is up to us, as carers, to work out what that behaviour is trying to tell us; this takes time and understanding of the resident to work out how to help them to feel safe, cared for and familiar with their new environment and circumstances and also to support the family through these times.

This doesn’t mean that all change is bad, managed change can be useful and life enhancing. Small changes can mean the world.

Our new activity coordinator Marilisa, was trying different activities with a resident who has been paralysed from the neck down for 20 years. She brought in a tube of bubbles and asked the resident to blow. A stream of bubbles flew across the room followed by tremendous laughter from the resident and Marilisa.

As we reflected later upon the activity we realised what a sense of ability that she must have had. That small change in Marilisa’s thinking had allowed the resident’s actions to have an effect on something, maybe for one of the very few times in 20 years.

Blog by Jakki Whitehead

Admiral Nurse, Riversway Nursing Home.




Undersea fun for Riversway residents

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A group from Riversway Nursing Home in Bristol recently visited Bristol Aquarium in the historic Harbourside area, to spend time exploring the popular attraction that showcases tropical, marine and freshwater creatures from around the world.


The party of three residents, along with our lifestyle team, embarked on a fascinating journey and were dazzled by the colourful sea creatures including many varieties of fish and tiny seahorses.


Our party spent a relaxed afternoon at the wonderful aquarium and we cannot wait to go back.


To view all the photographs from our recent visit on our Facebook page, click HERE


For more information about Bristol Aquarium click HERE



Tim’s lifesaving work is honoured

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Congratulations TimWell done TimA staff member from Riversway Nursing Home in Bristol has been recognised for making more than 100 blood donations.


Tim, a maintenance team member received an award from the NHS Blood and Transplant service and attended a special Donor Recognition Event at the Haynes International Motor Museum near Yeovil.


Kind-hearted Tim first donated when he was 30 years old in 1984, at his local village hall in Oldland Common in Bristol.


He has no plans to stop with his life-saving work, and is now on donation number 103.


We’d all like to congratulate Tim, and urge any staff members to consider giving blood, something which makes a real difference to the lives of many people.


For more information visit or call 0300 123 23 23.



Poetry for Burns Day at Riversway

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To celebrate Burns Day at Riversway Nursing Home in Bristol, we spent time reading poetry and remembering proverbs.


A group of residents gathered together to guess the proverbs from clues, and got real satisfaction from finding the correct ones.


The final versions were then stuck to colourful card and displayed for all to see.


To view more photographs on our Facebook page, please click HERE 



Care group scoops gold

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Springhill Care Directors Kath, Steve, Ken and Donna photographed with the IIP Steering GroupLancashire-based Springhill Care Group has become one of only six care providers in the country so far to achieve the coveted Investors in People Gold against the new Standard.

Springhill has been awarded the gold standard after being assessed against the revised ‘sixth generation’ Investors in People Standard which was launched in late 2015.

Assessors noted that Springhill ‘outperforms the health and social care sector average’ in many areas of people management practice and that the group ‘is a leading organisation in its field.’

Investors in People (IIP) is an internationally recognised accreditation held by 14,000 organisations in 75 countries across the world.

The Standard sets out what it takes to lead, support and manage people well, with businesses assessed against a strict set of criteria.

The Accrington-based care organisation, which operates three care homes across Lancashire and Bristol, along with a supported living service, has been working with Investors in People since 1995. At the time it was one of the few care organisations to be awarded IIP status.

Donna Briggs, managing director of Springhill Care Group, said being accredited with Investors in People Gold means Springhill Care Group will continue to be more efficient in terms of its management systems, productivity, employee engagement and increased staff retention.

She added: “The whole workforce has contributed to the organisation’s success and is reflected in this fantastic result. Springhill will continue to build on its growth, sustainability and success for the future.

“As a care provider, we know we are only as good as our people, so it has always been a priority to ensure our staff receive the support, training and development they need.

“In recent years we have introduced initiatives including our leadership development programme and made a real difference to how our staff can develop their skills.

“To be one of just six care organisations in the country so far to achieve IIP Gold with the sixth generation Standard is an incredible achievement, but the journey doesn’t stop here.

“Our IIP steering group will be meeting to review the full report and consider any recommendations made in order to continue to improve the way Springhill operates and ultimately the standard of care we can give our residents and those we support.”



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Contact : General Manager - Jan Wilkins

Riversway Nursing Home
Crews Hole Road, St. George
Bristol, BS5 8GG

Tel: 01179 555758
Fax: 01179 540145
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