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Gloucestershire Business News

Dispelling the myths about care homes

Put the words 'care' and 'home' together and your mind plays a trick on you and turns two words with innocent meaning into a phrase that is far removed from the original.

Martin Hughes, chief executive of Lilian Faithfull Care

Care homes receive a bad press, not because of what they are or what they offer, but for the simple reason that in an ideal world you will never have to use one.

However, a Gloucestershire based charity wants to dispel the myth that care homes are dingy and miserable places and throw light on the fantastic work they do for their many residents.

Lilian Faithfull Care operate five centres in the county caring for an ever-growing number of people and employing a rapidly-expanding workforce.

They operate day centres that provide support and care for carers at home, right through to residential elderly care for those living with dementia.

And according to chief executive Martin Hughes, they take pride in dispelling the misconceptions and myths that people have about the words: 'care' and 'home.'

"Lilian Faithfull Care is here to support and enhance what is simply the next chapter in people's lives," he said.

"We should never forget that our older generation formed and shaped our modern way of living.

"It's our duty to care for them because they have already given so much to society in their lives.

Astell House

"We are now one of the largest providers of social care in Gloucestershire and it's our aim to continue to build on that, through offering an unparalleled level of care.

"We welcome people to visit our day hubs and care homes, just so they can see with their own eyes what we do and dispel the myths that people may have about our care homes."

The charity was created in 1946 by the formidable Lilian Faithfull - Cheltenham's first female magistrate and first woman to own and drive a car in the town.

Oxford educated at a time when women could not graduate, she received her degree in Dublin, before embarking on a career that saw her open the Marylebone Cookhouse to provide for London's poor.

By the time she was 76, she had moved to Cheltenham and noticing a need to provide for an expanding elderly population after the Second World War, she famously declared "something must be done."

The charity was duly formed and in one way or another Lilian Faithfull has been caring for Gloucestershire's elderly population since.

Still a charity to this day, it takes pride in the founding principles of improving the lives of others through care and dedication.

Faithfull House

Each year, around 70 of their 250 residents, who could otherwise not afford care, are financially supported by the charity at a cost of £18,500 per resident or £1.3million in total.

That support includes a 'home for life' pledge that ensures a resident will never be asked to leave a Lilian Faithfull home for financial reasons.

And the commitment to providing care correspondent to the needs of each person, regardless of whether it's the best for the bottom line doesn't end there.

Each person who encounters Lilian Faithfull receives the care they need delivered by an expert team of staff who have the best possible training and experience in the sector.

Across its five sites, the charity offers affordable flats, care for couples, dementia care, respite care, residential care and assisted living and nursing care.

Their aim to care for as many people as possible has seen the charity open new day centre hubs that provide flexible and fully-tailored care for a day, to people living in isolation or who need support.

They also offer respite care for those who are the principal carer for a loved one, knowing that it is vital to be able to take a break from the mental and physical demands that can create.

At the centre of all that they offer is an expanding team of expert staff, that has grown alongside the charity.

Mr Hughes said: "Our staff are our lifeblood, providing the love and care for residents that they deserve.

"We offer and provide continuous training and assessment to ensure consistently high standards.

"It's the attention to detail and involvement of all staff that creates a community for our residents, what we call the Lilian Faithfull family."

And just as you would want to ensure that your family receives the best, Lilian Faithfull ensures that no stone is unturned when it comes to enriching the lives of their residents.

The food produced by in-house chefs has been nominated for industry awards in the care sector by Care Home Management Magazine and Care England.

Residents also benefit from a wide range of in-house activities, from gardening clubs, board games, annual holidays and exercise groups to having visiting guest speakers, singers and musicians and pet therapy dogs.

There is also a free bus service linking the various sites that allows for independence for those who are able to remain active in the community.

It all adds up to being an environment that is as close to being at home as it can be, but with the expertise on hand should it be needed.

Mr Hughes added: "We really do mean it when we say that we want people to see for themselves what we offer and to dispel the myths about what we offer.

"We really do take care in what we offer. It's not about profits or making money for us, it's about the service that we offer.

"Lillian Faithfull herself would be proud of what we do today in her name and also of our desire to expand into other areas and locations to help even more people.

"What's most important to us is the trust that people have put in us to care for them or a family member and we want to do everything we can to repay that trust"

For more information about Lilian Faithfull visit www.lilianfaithfull.co.uk or call 01242 500411.

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