Innovative Richmond woman scoops care award
A mum-of-two from Richmond has been recognised for her pioneering way of working with residents.
Debby Lamont 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 was inspired to study for her degree after watching the film The Bucket List, in which two terminally ill men go on a road trip with a wish list of ‘to dos’ before they die.
She said: “I wanted a new challenge and I was passionate about this course. 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 Recipe for Success, a scheme in which Family Living residents undertake baking sessions to improve their well-being. Residents were asked to recall what they used to bake and their recipes and memories were brought to the baking sessions. Families also helped by jotting down memories of their loved ones’ baking experiences on post-it notes.
Debby said: “Our residents with dementia live in a family environment and they do the things that they would have done at home. A Recipe for Success is about ensuring that residents are at the centre of the activity.
“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.
Middleton Hall Retirement Village said it had separated its residential care function into two different services as a result of Debby’s hard work.
Managing director Jeremy Walford said: “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.”