We Pay A Visit To Latham Lodge To Mark Dying Matters Awareness Week

30th April 2024

Meet the team at Latham Lodge as they explain how they want to help the community at large to learn more about end of life care and why person-centred care involves family every step of the way.

Latham Lodge Feels Like Home

Step through the doors at Latham Lodge and you’ll immediately feel at home. There’s a comfortable buzz about the place, a feeling of warmth that you get when you’re around genuinely nice people. Everyone you see has somewhere to go and something to do – but they all have time to smile and say ‘hello’. There’s a sense of being busy, but with purpose and calm.

Latham Lodge is a nursing home that specialises in end of life care. Its 35 rooms are arranged over 2 floors of a building that’s bright and homely with a peaceful ambiance. The corridors are painted in a range of cheerful colours – also a helpful signpost for relatives looking for a particular area – and the residents’ lounge is full of natural light and comfortable armchairs. It feels like a family living room, and the overall sense of family is what gives Latham Lodge its true identity.

Home Manager, Carol, is the ‘mother’ of the house and has created an environment where, whether you enter Latham Lodge as a resident, a relative, or a team member, you’re immediately part of the family. This means you’re supported – and everyone’s in the circle.

Everyone’s Part of the Family

Inspired by Dying Matters Awareness Week Carol plans to host an informal coffee morning at the home to share Latham’s experience and expertise in ‘end of life’ matters with the wider community. It will be a chance for people to come along and talk about subjects that might be too difficult to broach with those closest to them, or to ask for advice on making practical arrangements that can seem overwhelming.

At Latham Lodge, combining person-centred care with end of life care brings its own challenges. Because residents are with them for a shorter period of time, the team must build relationships more quickly and discover residents’ needs, preferences and what brings them pleasure. Everyone has their own unique story to tell. Importantly, it’s about making the most of the time they have left and ensuring that residents - and their families - feel cared for, content and as safe as possible.

Wellbeing is a priority here at Latham, and it is completely tailored to the individual. Wellbeing Lead, Debbie, spends her mornings visiting residents who are unable to leave their rooms, sharing whatever they feel like doing on the day. This could be playing a game, doing a puzzle, writing a letter together - or simply listening to music or hearing a story being read. It’s valuable time that gives every resident the chance to experience something they enjoy, interacting one-to-one in a setting where everything is arranged to suit their needs.

Latham Lodge’s nurse, Alison, is responsible for clinical care and has huge respect for the wider team and the depth of care they provide at Latham – especially the pastoral care given to residents and their families. The Latham ‘family’ includes every team member and Alison remarked that “The communication between the staff and the support they give one another is a real breath of fresh air – and it’s essential in an environment where end of life care is the primary focus”.

Renata, one of Latham’s Care Home Assistant Practitioners supports Alison on the clinical side. Her focus is to make residents as comfortable as possible from a medical perspective but like Alison, Renata appreciates the level of support given to residents and their families. She describes it as ‘five star end of life care’ and is full of praise for the carers who she says, “are the ones who really build the relationships with residents because they spend the most time with them”.

Honest Conversations in a Community that Cares

Home Manager, Carol, is proud of the strong sense of family at Latham and for her, part of this is always having personal conversations. Carol explained “Everyone involved – the resident and their family– needs to fully understand their particular situation in order to be prepared for the journey ahead”. Carol also understands that the tone of these difficult conversations needs to be right for each individual, using language that’s relatable and words that everyone can understand.

One of Carol’s favourite phrases is “It’s a community, not just beds” and the relationships built with residents’ families are based on empathy. The team encourages and facilitates sleepovers, feeds relatives to keep their strength up, offers advice throughout the end of life journey, and makes sure that traditions, wishes or little details that have been requested to make the last moments right, are followed through. Families will often keep in touch and continue to drop in, testament to the Latham team’s genuine approachability and the strength of the bonds created.

Carol concludes, “We’re proud and passionate about the care we give, and we have a very good reputation for end of life care in the local community. Our clinical care is outstanding but what makes Latham Lodge special is its heart and soul. We’re a home and we’re a family”.

Discover Latham Lodge in Portsmouth

Latham Lodge Care Home provides residential and nursing care on a permanent and short stay basis. If you are looking for a care home and want to find out more about our home call us on freephone 0808 223 5519.

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