Let’s do some maths for a moment. With approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK suffering from a mental health condition each year, and over 400,000 people currently residing in care homes across the country, that’s 100,000 people that could be suffering with a mental health condition while in one of these care homes. The question that remains, however, is whether or not the same care is being taken with their mental health as it is their physical. Thankfully, the answer is a positive one. From care homes in Warwickshire, to Essex, all the way up to Scotland and back, care homes all over the UK are starting to work to improve the mental health of their residents, and we’ve decided to investigate just how they’re doing that.

Recognising Mental Health Conditions

The first step to helping someone cope with mental health is by recognising when there is a mental health condition that needs to be treated. Moving into a care home can be a distressing experience, and the human mind can’t always cope with stress as well as we might expect it to. As a result, depression (with 2 in 5 residents suffering from the disorder), anxiety and stress are just a few of the illnesses that nurses in care homes are being faced with, not to mention the 4 out of 5 people in care homes that are living with dementia or other memory problems. Luckily, these conditions are being recognised far more widely not only in care homes, but across all platforms, and as a result the healthcare industry is beginning to cater for the treatments that these require – which moves on to our next point!

Providing Access To Relevant Healthcare

Care homes have always provided the best care they can to residents where necessary, but as mental health becomes a more widely recognised issue, the healthcare needed is becoming far more accessible. Seniors often have a number of existing health conditions and these conditions are often in need of quick and effective treatment where possible. As a result, seniors are often given access to a wide range of healthcare services as soon as they need them, and mental health care is no exception to the rule. Care homes should have good links with GP services, with a good referral arrangement to be able to provide efficient and effective treatments when they are needed.

Maintaining And Developing Personal Identity

When a resident moves into a care home, it can be an unusual experience that would leave anyone feeling alienated, but luckily there are plenty of ways that care homes are working to combat this – and how better than through promoting personal identity? Every resident is a real human being with a rich and relevant past, present and future, and an individual’s personal identity reflects these years of growth. As a way of combating a decline in mental health, care homes across the country are working to give residents independence and the opportunity to express themselves wherever they can. Whether it’s through decision making, from something as simple as choosing their own outfits for the day, to being able to decorate their space with personal and prized possessions, helping someone keep their identity doesn’t take much for the amazing results it can produce.

Providing Meaningful Activity Participation

Activities within care homes are not unheard of, but now more than ever, nurses are working to create more meaningful activities and promote participation in these activities. The highest cause for dissatisfaction with care homes from residents or relatives is a lack of things to do during the day, and so the promotion of entertaining, but meaningful activities is vital in staving off boredom and promoting good mental health. From activities that promote movement, to activities that can involve relatives and loved ones, there is plenty that can be done to improve the day to day schedules. With residents often only getting a few minutes with a carer during the day, giving them a fun, beneficial way to socialise with other residents and keep themselves busy and active is a great way to promote not only mental health, but physical wellbeing too.

While there is still a way to go to truly combat mental health within care homes, there is no denying that what is already being done is certainly on the right track. From acknowledging the common mental health issues that residents can be prone to, to providing the right healthcare to combat these, all the way through to promoting activity and the development of personal identity, these steps are just the beginning.

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