Last August, ninety-four year old Jessie Shearer lived at home alone and had had several falls. She was admitted to hospital for a chest infection and when she came out Jessie wasn’t able to return home. So, she moved into Nightingale House in Auchinleck.
Jessie could only manage to transfer from chair to chair and couldn’t walk any distance at first. Jessie felt very anxious, was afraid of falling and was deemed at ‘high risk’ of falls.
Staff at the home had been involved in CAPA from the beginning and understood how risky it was not to encourage Jessie’s independence. They started small and began to encourage Jessie to move a bit more.
Laura Haggarty, CAPA Improvement Adviser said: “Staff realised that it was really important to build Jessie’s trust. They took time to get to know her and were careful not to ask her to do anything outside her comfort zone initially. They gently encouraged small movements and celebrated her progress.”
Staff learned that Jessie loved music. She loved to sing and dance and listen to music. So they introduced more music and over time noticed that Jessie began to clap her hands in time. Staff joined in and did this with her. Over the next few weeks, Jessie began to tap her toes and shrug her shoulders too.
Everyone was delighted with Jessie’s progress and that she was more engaged. Staff kept track of and celebrated Jessie’s small wins which motivated everyone to keep going.
Catherine Thomson, Depute Manager said: “Once Jessie had more confidence and trusted the staff they began to stand with her while music played. Staff understood how important it was to build Jessie’s leg strength and balance and so also helped her to stand when supporting her with her personal care.
Not long after, Jessie was able to take small steps and with support, was able to walk short distances around the home. Jessie was delighted to be on her feet again and to show her family how she had progressed.
Laura said: “Within three months, Jessie was able to walk independently around the home with her zimmer frame, interacting with residents and dancing. Her mood is hugely better and she has put on 3.5kg in weight.”
Jessie previously had a stroke and struggled with dysphasia (expressing speech) but since her strength, activity and engagement has improved, so has her speech.
Laura continued: “Jessie has had no falls since she moved into Nightingale House. This is because staff understood the importance of increasing Jessie’s physical activity to reduce her risk of falls. And by taking time to build good relationships with Jessie, her trust, confidence and independence grew, ultimately improving her overall quality of life.”
Catherine went on: “Jessie’s son recently visited from America and he could see a remarkable difference in his mum and knew that she was happy. Jessie’s sister lives in England and the last time she saw her at home Jessie was immobile, her mood was low, she was underweight and not communicating much. Now she is up dancing and singing and enjoying her life again.”
Watch Jessie here: