Five Minutes with… Our Registered Manager and Director of Homecare
Written by Michele Jogee on 21 September 2018
Michele Jogee has been our Registered Manager for nearly 17 years; ably managing our established and skilled team of home care and nursing professionals. Her previous knowledge and experienced gained from working in some of London’s more prestigious hospitals ensure that our clients receive the highest levels of compassionate and excellent clinical care in their own homes.
Despite her busy schedule involving the assessment of new clients, developing home care plans, facilitating staff training and liaising with multi-disciplinary teams, she has kindly taken five minutes out to talk about a very important area – dementia care at home.
Firstly Michele, can you please briefly explain dementia?
Dementia is a progressive neurological disorder that affects the brain although sufferers will inevitably experience and present the condition differently. There are many types of dementia – perhaps the most commonly-known is Alzheimer’s disease.
How does dementia and related conditions affect a person suffering from the condition, and their family?
Broadly, a person suffering from a dementia-related condition will be unable to process independent thoughts and act within their best interests. More specifically, they may suffer loss of memory capacity, be unable to readily process basic information such as time and dates, and ultimately, find communicating in any way difficult and confusing.
The emotional pain caused by dementia is immense: both for the person suffering from the condition and their loved ones. The person with dementia initially realises somewhere inside that they cannot do, say or think as they used to do. In turn, their relatives see their loved one “fade” before their eyes and are at a loss to know how to help them.
In your experience, Michele, how does receiving care at home help the dementia sufferer and their family to maintain quality of life?
So much changes with dementia so maintaining continuity and sameness for the sufferer and their families is both practical and comforting. Care at home can be the ideal solution.
Another major reassurance for families is the fact that once Health Professionals assigns a carer to a client, that carer will be with them for the duration of their care plan. This is the way we work for all clients but where dementia is concerned, the more familiarity and continuity integrated into the care plan the better. A client suffering from dementia may start to forget the faces and voices of people they do not see on a regular basis, so the familiarity of the same person regularly tending to them creates stability for our dementia clients – and their families.
What main reassurances do you give to someone seeking care at home or home nursing for their loved one suffering from dementia?
As Registered Manager, I assess many clients with early onset dementia. I witness their relatives being extremely distressed because, for example, they live far away and don’t want them to go into a home. I reassure families that as a Registered Nurse I will regularly visit their relative and will liaise with their assigned Neurologist in order to facilitate medical assessments. Regular observations are essential to determine whether or not the condition’s presentation has changed, therefore requiring adjustments to the levels or type of care.
I also explain that our carers and nurses regularly receive certified training, and that I and my team work closely with the multi-disciplinary team in their relative’s care plan from GP to Consultant, to District Nurse.
Overall, our carers build trusted relationships with our clients, their families and everyone involved in their care. Families often tell me that their relative’s carer feels like part of the family which really affirms that we are getting it right.
How quickly can dementia change from early onset to being more advanced?
Dementia is always a palliative condition but its pace of progress depends upon the individual’s neurological make-up. I’ve cared for clients with dementia who can hold in-depth conversations on world affairs even up to the advanced stages for example, yet at early onset are unable to remember how to undertake their personal hygiene routines.
Undoubtedly a harrowing condition, dementia sufferers can, in the most extreme cases, forget how to swallow or breathe, so receiving a sensitive and individualised home care package can considerably increase their quality of life until the end of their care plan.
Anything else to add, Michele?
Only that it is a privilege to care for people suffering from dementia and being able to make their journey as comfortable as possible for them, and their families.