Real Lives

Care and compassion for life

Montague Road in Felixstowe is a Care Quality Commission (CQC)-rated outstanding residential nursing home which provides nursing care and support for adults over 55 with mental health needs, including dementia.

The specialist team was humbled to have recently been recognised in The Palliative Care/End of Life Award in the East of England regional finals of the 2020-21 Great British Care Awards.

The staff received the award for their work delivering bespoke end-of-life care for residents and their families. Alongside their Outstanding CQC rating, the award demonstrates that the care and support at Montague Road is delivered to the highest standard, including at the most difficult time.

During residents’ final days, the team put together ‘bereavement boxes’ containing items, including toiletries and blankets, to make a difficult experience easier for both residents and their families. They also try to fulfil residents’ last wishes, including celebrating an early Christmas for one terminally ill resident who loved Christmas.

The staff even step in to support with end-of-life and funeral arrangements when residents have no family, so that no one dies alone. When a resident passed away during lockdown, residents and staff couldn’t attend the funeral, so the team arranged for the cortege to drive past the home, with residents forming a guard of honour and staff blowing bubbles. Even during a pandemic, goodbyes are special at Montague Road.

One family member told the manager: “Thank you for the lovely send-off you gave mum. The funeral director told us how lovely it was… and said he had never seen such a wonderful send-off before.”

The Great British Care Awards judges commented: “Wow, what an amazing place and a fabulous team led by Milly and Debbie. It’s their commitment to caring for their residents and truly getting to know them that allows the whole team to play an important role at the end of their lives.

“There were numerous examples given of how the team, from chefs to housekeepers, right through to senior management, went out on a limb for each and every resident that had passed, to get that moment and the time that leads up to it just right for the individual – along with a resolute desire to ensure that memories live on.”

As well as supporting residents and their loved ones, staff also actively support and look out for each other. They receive bespoke end-of-life training from the safeguarding lead, a trained counsellor, and they have access to 24/7 wellbeing support. They are also reassured that it’s okay to grieve.

Milly Gaskin, Nursing Home Manager, said: “No-one dies alone at Montague Road and we are dedicated to providing personalised care and support to every resident, no matter their circumstances. And, where residents have no family, we step in and, without hesitation, become their family for that time.”

Sanctuary Supported Living’s Operations Director, Sara Keetley, said: “I am incredibly proud of the remarkable Montague Road team who never waiver in their commitment to providing the utmost care and dignity to residents at all times, including when they are approaching the end of their lives. It takes a very special kind of person to approach that with the compassion it needs – and we’re lucky to have a whole team of them.”

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