Careers

Practice-related feedback: memory box enriches lives of people with Alzheimer's

Linda Thorley, deputy nurse manager at Rock Cottage Care Home in Stoke-on-Trent, describes how feedback on her holistic care, notably the development of memory boxes, helped her become a Queen’s Nurse

Linda Thorley, deputy nurse manager at Rock Cottage Care Home in Stoke-on-Trent, describes how feedback on her holistic care, notably the development of memory boxes, helped her become a Queen’s Nurse


Linda Thorley, deputy nurse manager at Rock Cottage Care Home in Stoke-on-Trent.

I am passionate about the development of community nursing in care homes, so that all care homes are great places to live, die, visit and work.

One aspect of my practice that has prompted feedback from residents, families, colleagues and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the development of memory boxes.

The approach started when I was working with a patient with Alzheimer’s who seemed reluctant to communicate and appeared nervous and withdrawn.

Having worked in dementia care for many years I have learned the importance of using reminiscence therapy and cognitive stimulation therapy.

Songs and photos

Reminiscence therapy encourages people to remember events from their past, using cues such as songs and photographs. This can help to maintain confidence and self-esteem.

Since creating this initial memory box, I have encouraged and helped others at the care home to make memory boxes for their loved ones. Doing so has prompted many conversations and positive feedback.

Our CQC inspection report earlier this year said: ‘We saw that people's life histories had been recorded, to enable staff to have discussions about people’s lives before they used the service. We observed staff provide support to people in a way that met their preferences, and staff knew people well.’

Needs and dignity

After I become a Queen’s Nurse, my manager told the local press that I ‘treat all individuals in a personalised, holistic manner’.

This memory box work covers many themes of the Code, including prioritising the interests of people using the care home. I strive to ensure that their dignity is preserved and their needs are recognised, assessed and responded to, that they are treated with respect, and that their rights are upheld and any discriminatory attitudes and behaviours are challenged.

The positive feedback I have received about the memory box idea has seen it become an established method to improve the care and experience of all the residents.

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