Aged Care Homes or Aged Care Facilities
NewDirection Care Bellmere is changing the face of aged care facilities with a residential care microtown™ community that is a radical and welcome departure from the current and outdated traditional aged care services. With an increasing number of people living to an older age and many with complex care needs, there is a greater need for long-term care models that are catered to individual needs, desires and freedom. Bellmere residents maintain a sense of control over their lives, which contributes to their overall well-being.
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NewDirection Care Bellmere resembles a typical Australian suburban neighbourhood. This state-of-the-art residential care community encompasses 17 domestic style homes that each house seven residents who live together. They feature a living room, dining room, modern open-plan kitchen, front garden and back yard and individual ensuite bedrooms that are furnished with either a single, double or queen-size bed. Each house also has a laundry room with a washer and dryer for residents’ own use. Unlike traditional nursing homes where laundry is done communally and clothes go missing all the time, at Bellmere resident’s clothes are laundered individually.
Our homes are a world away from the sometimes depressing reality of traditional residential aged care institutions where residents live together in one large house. Hospital-like corridors are lined with rows of shared bedrooms, medical trolleys are a common sight and there’s the constant sound of call bells going off. At Bellmere there are no call bells as sophisticated technologies allow for mobile monitoring of residents to ensure their safety. Residents aren’t stuck on wards but live independent lives in their own homes. Friends and relatives can visit at any time and partners can stay overnight if they wish. These are not homes away from home - they are home.
At NewDirection Care at Bellmere residents are encouraged to help with daily chores such as gardening and preparing meals and are more involved in decision making. They enjoy full freedom of movement in a secure environment and can stroll into the retail precinct to have a coffee with friends in the café, shop for groceries in the local store, watch a movie in the cinema, get their hair done in the beauty salon, pop into the dental practice and keep fit in the wellness centre. They’re also free to pursue their hobbies and interests and to take part in a range of activities seven days a week. We bring a new realisation to community aged care.
Contrast this with traditional long-term care facilities where movement is restricted with lots of out of bounds areas and residents can only participate in a few activities such as bingo and even then only on specific days. Worse is the task-driven regime with set wake-up, shower, meal and bedtimes and limited menus. At Bellmere there are no fixed times as residents can follow their own schedules. They are living a full, independent and active life as much as their condition allows in a non-clinical environment that’s rich with social interaction.
To support our residents we have developed a role that you will find nowhere else in the aged care industry, our multi-skilled House Companions™. There is one House Companion™ in each house who forms part of the ‘family’ unit and helps out with daily activities as needed, such as cleaning, cooking, personal care and medication. They wear everyday clothes not uniforms and operate around residents, giving them the freedom and autonomy they wouldn’t have in an institutional environment. House Companions™ are supported by registered nurses.
Meal times are happy, family-like affairs that are enjoyed together with the House Companions™ in each home’s personalised dining room. Family members are also encouraged to join residents at the table. Unlike the generic canteen food that is served up in a traditional aged care nursing home environment, residents design their own menus and choose what they want to eat. Consequently, there haven’t been any complaints about food since Bellmere opened. This involvement in preparation and cooking stimulates the senses and results in healthy weight gain. Weight does not have to be managed with supplements.
Outdoor spaces have multiple benefits for residents and their families including exercise, fresh air, emotional well-being and social interaction. But many elderly care homes have nothing more than a small patch of greenery. Our Bellmere residents can take advantage of gorgeous outdoor spaces right on their doorstep in this two-hectare community. Each house has a spacious front and back garden plus there is a variety of communal spaces to enjoy such as the retail precinct and picnic and BBQ areas. Families are also able to take residents offsite.
At NewDirection Care at Bellmere pets that fit in with the home environments are welcomed with open arms, including cats, dogs and birds. All pets are considered and assessed for suitability. For those who don’t have any pets, they can discover the joy and warmth of interacting with other residents’ pets. In traditional care, you have to give up your pets. This is one of the most heart-wrenching things for many residents in aged care. The cat, dog or bird that has been a big part of their life, their best friend and cherished companion has to be given away or even euthanized.
End of Life
We believe that people should be allowed to die in a place of their own choice, such as their home. At Bellmere we do not move dying residents into designated areas or shunt them off to a hospital, practices that are common in the traditional dementia care and home care services environment. In our community residents are supported to palliate and die in their own bed. It is dying with dignity in familiar surroundings.