Dementia author brings cafe to life

Carol and IanRenowned author and campaigner in dementia Ian Donaghy opened the Birch Green Dementia Bistro to a huge round of applause.

He proudly rounded off a number of training sessions by formally opening the bistro called Tea for Two, which will offer advice to families and friends.

And he then joined the gathering of staff, residents and relatives in a cup of tea and cake as the bistro well and truly swung into action.

Carol Nickeas, General Manager at Birch Green, paid testament to everyone who has contributed to helping create the bistro, particularly team leader for lifestyle Bernie Forshaw, and local tradesmen Jay Johnson and Anthony Swan.

Carol said: “Dementia care is rapidly becoming more important in the care sector and at Birch Green we take great pride in remaining at the forefront.

“Our staff never stop learning, and we embrace both tried-and-tested care techniques along with the latest in care, for instance incorporating technology into helping bring back memories for our residents who live with this disease.”

Ian, Director of Training For Carers, leads bespoke training for care staff including managers, nurses, kitchen staff and local authorities.

Under the training provided across four all-day sessions, Ian provided inter-active advice and activities on a range of dementia-related topics including person-centred care, communicating effectively with people living with dementia, using technology to support memories, and the impact of diet, non-verbal communication and lifestyle.

Ian said: “It has been a pleasure to share knowledge and experience of my work and family living with dementia with staff who are so eager to learn and understand more about the issues relating to all affected by it, and the impact person-centred care can make.

“This training is about celebrating the individual and focusing on the person rather than the condition, and highlighting what they can do rather than what they can’t.”

Based in York, Ian has more than 20 years’ experience in the field of dementia, education and learning difficulties, and has won Care Trainer of the Year at the British Care Awards.

He is also the author of Dear Dementia: The Laughter and Tears, a book which has been widely praised by people in the field of care including former TV celebrity and dementia campaigner Angela Rippon, who has described it as ‘a work of true love’ and ‘inspirational.’ Families at Birch Green described Ian’s book as ‘an invaluable resource’ to carry with them.

There are currently 800,000 people with dementia in the UK, expected to rise to more than a million by the year 2021.


Dementia Cafe serves up advice

Birch Green is serving up a regular helping of advice to families, friends and interested parties on the issues surrounding dementia.


We have set up this dedicated initiative to help share information and expertise on dementia for those interested in learning more.


By dropping in for a coffee or a tea and sharing experiences, we can help families of those people with dementia come to terms with the disease and its effects.


Birch Green General Manager Carol Nickeas said: “We want to share our learnings with those who want to understand more about dementia and what it means.


“For many families who have never experienced it, the journey can be difficult and we help to de-mystify some of the myths as well as provide information and support. An informal setting such as our cafe is ideal and is becoming a source of comfort for them.”


As a centre of expertise, staff member Gill Tugwell is also a dementia ambassador, leading the Focused Intervention Training and Support (FITS) project at Birch Green, one of just 150 homes in the country to commit to the training.


Under the FITS project, the intensive training programme will be followed up with regular supervision sessions as best practice is rolled out to other staff members.

MP sees care home at first hand

Local MP Rosie Cooper visited Birch Green recently as part of our National Care Home Open Day celebrations.

The initiative is a national programme which aims to highlight the great work being done in care homes across the UK.

Those homes taking part are urged to open their doors and welcome members of the local community to see for themselves the activities and lifestyle on offer.

Rosie Cooper is MP for West Lancashire, and takes a special interest in health issues and the NHS, including time spent as chair of Liverpool Women’s Hospital.

It was a great chance to show her what life is like at Birch Green for our residents, families and staff.

Birch Green General Manager Carol Nickeas was on hand to show Rosie around, along with Ken Nolan, Springhill Care Group Chairman, and Donna Briggs, Managing Director.

Visitors to the home were able to enjoy the fantastic weather, with refreshments, a barbecue, musical entertainment and a bouncy castle on offer.

 Carol Nickeas said: “National Care Home Open Day is a great opportunity to really show what life is like in a busy care home.


“We take great pride in helping our residents enjoy life to the full, and there are so many activities and events taking place that it’s great to be able to highlight the work our staff do every day.

 “Rosie has been a great advocate for health issues over the years, and we thoroughly enjoyed showing her round.”

 MP Rosie Cooper said: “I was delighted to join Ken, Carol and the residents of Birch Green Care Home in celebrating National Care Home Open Day. From visiting the home over several years I know they work hard for their residents.”

To view all our National Care Home Open Day photos on our Facebook page click HERE

Away day inspires Birch Green team

The Birch Green lifestyle team attended an inspiring away day recently.

Held at Aintree Racecourse, the Care Roadshow Liverpool 2014 event was an informative seminar programme led by care industry experts.

It included cookery demonstrations and exhibitions from providers showcasing products and services for the care sector.

The nine-strong lifestyle team from Birch Green were accompanied by general manager, Carol Nickeas, who reports that the trip was a great chance to learn of the latest developments in care and join seminars hosted by a range of industry leaders.

On hand to deliver talks were a representative from the Dementia Services Development Centre, the Care Quality Commission and the National Care Association.

The team learned a lot and will be looking to put some of these ideas into practice in coming months.

Birch Green opens its doors for national initiative

Birch Green Care Home is opening its doors to visitors from the community as part of the National Care Home Open Day initiative.

This fantastic initiative is a national programme aimed at highlighting the great work being done in homes across the country. It takes place on Friday, June 20.

Care homes are urged to throw open their doors and welcome members of the public to take a look at the activities and lifestyle enjoyed by residents.

Birch Green is joining in the fun by arranging activities including a bouncy castle and other entertainment.

We will also host a visit by Rosie Cooper MP, the Labour member of parliament for West Lancashire, and will be delighted to show her around the home.

The event is supported by leading care organisations including the Care Quality Commission, Alzheimer’s Society and the Department of Health.

Nationally it’s easy to believe that the care sector has a poor reputation, with the media often featuring high profile, negative stories.

What the care home open day is trying to do – with the full support Birch Green Care Home and the whole Springhill Care Group – is to show people what care homes are really about.

Organisers say the day is ‘about connecting people’ and we are taking this to heart. We have always been proud of our relationship with the local community, and we’d love to welcome people into our homes to see the activities that go on, the wonderful meals prepared by our chefs, and the high standard of living our residents have.

For more information call us on 01695 50916 or visit

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Contact Us

Contact: Victoria Sudworth, Registered Manager

Birch Green Care Home
Ivydale, Birch Green
Skelmersdale, Lancashire WN8 6RS

Tel: 01695 50916
Fax: 01695 51301
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Call Us: 01695 50916


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