Care Home Celebration Day: Partners for Integration

Scottish Care's Partners for Integration project team are at the heart of supporting reform and resource sharing within the care home sector, working within local health and social care partnerships. Here, Joint National Lead Janice Cameron shares what the team are up to at the moment

Scottish Care’s Partners for Integration team plays a vital role in the delivery of integration; building relationships with key stakeholders to create a shared vision, supporting the delivery of local and national improvement programs, contributing to strategic planning and local engagement, reform and improvement sector wide. 


The Partners Team consist of 2 National Leads, 16 Independent Sector Leads supported by 8 other members of the team in various different roles. Partners work with 21 Health & Social Care Partnerships (HSCPs) across Scotland, enabling the voice of the Independent Sector to be heard at both Local & National level. 


People are at the heart of Integration and we need to ensure that those who access care and support get this in the right place at the right time but equally we need to ensure that along with our colleagues in the HSCPs we are all sharing knowledge ,skills and  values along with building trust and strong relationships.  


Stories, blogs etc are being shared by the leads today for Care Home Celebration day but we also have an event on 5th September which will showcase the broad spectrum of work undertaken by the partners across Scotland. The event celebrates and tells the story of Integration, sharing the successes of the Partnership team and what can be achieved with collaboration. 

Here are some of the Integration Leads who attended the quarterly Leads meeting on Tuesday.


Care Home Celebration Day: the critical role of nursing homes

Theresa Fyffe, Director of RCN Scotland, shares her perspective on the importance of Scotland's care homes and their nurses


Writing in the Herald, Theresa Fyffe, Director RCN Scotland, said: 


Today is Care Home Celebration Day. It is, according to Scottish Care, an opportunity to bust some of the myths about and celebrate care homes in Scotland, the role they play in our communities and tell good news stories about those who live in, work in or engage with them. The focus is very timely. 

In Scotland’s integrated health and social care landscape, care homes are providing essential alternatives to hospital care and are increasingly being used to reduce delayed discharge from the acute sector, making them fundamental to local health economies. And the importance of the role they fulfil is only going to become more significant. 

People in Scotland are living longer. By 2039 the number of people over 75 is projected to expand by 84%. But even now, before the projected population increase, care homes are increasingly caring for people who may have several long-term conditions. These include frailty, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), dementia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease. They may also have palliative and end of life care needs. Fifty-four percent of all people in Scottish care homes for older people have a diagnosis of dementia, and many have advanced dementia. 


As ever, the statistics only tell part of the story. Behind every percentage point are many personal stories of older people and their families, trying to find the right situation and combination of care to help them age well. 


We need to recognise that many people have very complex care needs and require skilled nursing and other expert health care input. RCN Scotland believes it is the right of every resident in Scotland’s care homes to receive high quality, safe care, to be treated with dignity and respect and to have their human rights upheld.  


A key component of supporting care home residents is managing clinical conditions effectively, at the same time as promptly responding to new symptoms. For many residents their clinical needs will require the presence of a registered nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  


Registered nurses in care homes have a valuable role in being able to recognise and take action when a person’s condition is changing. This can enable more timely clinical intervention within that homely setting, and help to prevent avoidable hospital admissions. As expert practitioners, registered nurses use their clinical knowledge and skills to undertake ongoing care assessment, make decisions around the management of long-term conditions and complex medication regimes and therapies, and deliver clinical interventions within the care home. They are only able to achieve this with assistance from skilled support workers, who rightly are a valued part of the care home workforce.  


Complexity of clinical need is only going to increase and the skills, competencies and availability of the registered nursing and support workforce employed in care homes will become ever more important.  


Nursing care is a fundamental right for Scotland’s care home residents. I have met many registered nurses and support workers working in the care home sector who agree and are hugely positive about the experience and how the role satisfies their professional ambitions. But the care home sector has difficulty recruiting enough nurses into the workforce mainly due to the overall shortage of nurses in Scotland. Workforce planning must take account of the nursing and support staff needed across both health and social care, and more needs to be done to showcase the role of nursing in social care and to ensure that career and development opportunities are available in the care home sector. 


Theresa Fyffe 

Director, RCN Scotland  






Care Home Celebration Day: designing care homes for the future

Reform is about using what we know to inform innovation, design and new ways of thinking. Colin from Bruach Design reflects on changing architectural practice around designing care homes for dementia


The considered design of care homes can hugely improve residents’ wellbeing, comfort and quality of life.  Over the past decade or so best practice design for care homes has changed dramatically, building on new research into dementia and other age-related conditions, so care homes today provide some of the best living environments for those who need residential care.

There are a few key principles which as architects we always bear in mind to make the living environment as comfortable for residents as possible.  Firstly, there is natural light – it is such an important factor to feeling healthy and happy (even if the Scottish skies are overcast!).  Careful design of windows and rooflights should allow light to flood into communal spaces and corridors wherever possible, and windows should always allow a view from a seated position – there are few things more frustrating than a window frame just at eye level.

Colour, tone and texture are other important factors, particularly when designing for residents with dementia.  Studies by the Dementia Services Development Centre have found that when the brain suffers from dementia it does not process colours and shapes the same way it used to.  Strong changes in tone (from light to dark) can appear to be a step or a hole, so colours for flooring and walls should be chosen carefully.  Patterns and images can also be confusing, for example wallpaper with flowers may be confused by the brain to believe they are real, and lead to frustration when they cannot be smelled or touched.  Texture of flooring can also be misunderstood by the brain, for example vinyl flooring with sparkles (often the harder parts in the floor that provide grip when the soft part of the floor is compressed) can look like water as the light shimmers across it, so flooring in wet rooms should avoid reflections or strong patterns.

It’s not just the indoor environment that plays a part in the wellbeing created by good building design, gardens and other outdoor spaces are equally important as the benefits of fresh air and sunlight are well known.  Designing accessible and engaging outdoor spaces is essential to increasing residents’ comfort, with a variety of plant species providing flowers at all times of the year and a range of fragrances to engage all the senses!  We often work with experienced landscape architects to ensure the design of the planting is as good as it can be in these courtyards and gardens.

Understanding how the brain processes its environment is key, and as architects we are trained to consider the quality of spaces, but when we design specifically for those with dementia and similar conditions, we have to consider additional factors.  For example, designing memory triggers to aid navigation through the building, distinct colour schemes to differentiate different areas, or customising the residents’ own door to be more familiar to them.  Corridors should also lead somewhere, so residents can walk around without the confusion of reaching a dead end, and communal rooms should be easily visible and attractive, with vision panels to encourage residents to walk in and feel at home.

Most recently research has found that care homes adjacent to children’s nurseries has proved beneficial for both elderly residents and children.  Taking the lead from various international examples, this intergenerational approach has found residents enjoying the companionship of the children, as the young people learn from the residents through games and play.

We have and are working with a number of care home providers across Scotland, and really enjoy using our design skills as architects to improve the quality of spaces and the quality of life for residents in care homes.  We are passionate about good quality design and believe it can improve the lives of residents, staff and visitors.


Colin Hastie

Bruach Design




Care Home Celebration Day: Sandra Campbell blogs on end of life nursing care

Sandra Campbell blogs on the role of nurses at the end of life


Nurses are at the very heart of providing end of life care with care of the dying being integral to practice. In almost 40 years’ of nursing, I have not met a nurse who does not pride their self in end of life care or does not prioritise caring for the dying and therefore complying with the NMC Code stating that nurses should "... recognise and respond compassionately to the needs of those who are in the last few days and hours of life".

With possibly 70-80% of deaths considered expected and almost 60,000 deaths per year in Scotland, care of the dying is a significant aspect of nursing. Nurses undoubtedly make the greatest contribution to caring for the dying in all settings. Ensuring they are adequately supported to do this to the highest quality requires organisational systems that are conducive to facilitating excellent care coordination and provision. This includes appropriate staffing levels and access to relevant education in key areas such as symptom control and communication skills. Being able to communicate effectively is the most fundamental of skills required to provide compassionate care. It also requires access to resources such as equipment in a timely manner, especially for those in the community setting. 

With approximately 60% of care home residents requiring care from registered nurses and an estimated 7,000 deaths in care homes per year, we need to understand the educational support and resources required to deliver the right care, by the right person, at the right time, to the right quality standard with the right outcome to the residents in care homes. We must also be mindful of the increasing complexity of need amongst the residents in care homes. If we do not have sufficient numbers of registered staff in the care homes, there is a major risk of unnecessary suffering and inappropriate admission to hospital. 

The vision in the national Strategic Framework for Action on Palliative and End of Life Care states: “By 2021, everyone in Scotland who needs palliative care will have access to it.” To achieve this vision and the recommendations within the Strategic Framework we need to continue to support staff in all areas. We need to particularly support staff in care homes if residents are to remain in care homes and not be admitted to an acute hospital environment inappropriately in the last few days of life. However, dying in an acute hospital should not always be portrayed as negative: staff in the acute environment do an amazing job and dying can be so complex that there are some people  who absolutely need to be there (my own mother included and I was so grateful for the wonderful care she received.) We also need to help staff identify the changing need as the person’s condition deteriorates and recognise dying. Scottish Care in their report about bereavement in 2017, highlights that lack of bereavement support for staff is contributing to the high numbers of carers who leave the caring role. There are tools but expert teams need to be able to provide the training of staff in the care homes. 

Nursing is integral to providing end of life care but staff need support in both practical and emotional terms. It’s vital we look after those who look after us. 

Sandra Campbell

National Clinical Lead for Palliative and End of Life Care/Nursing

Health Improvement Scotland 




Care Home Celebration Day: support with bereavement

Dr Donald Macaskill provides an update on work on National Bereavement Standards, supporting care staff delivering palliative & end of life care #carehomecelebration19


Bereavement support is a basic human right

That might strike you as a bold assertion, but it is one which, I believe, is both defensible and essential to fulfil if we are to continue to grow as communities which care and support one another. 


It is this belief that healthy bereavement support is not just a preferential option or desire but a fundamental human right which lies behind the work of a coalition of individuals and organisations who have been working over the last few months on the development of a Human Rights Charter for Bereavement in Scotland. In this blog I want to try and explain the background to this work and what it means for care homes and indeed the wider community. 

First of all, why human rights?

Human rights are now the well-articulated basis for our understanding of the rights and responsibilities, the obligations and duties which lie at the heart of formal social care and health delivery in Scotland. In the care home sector workers and managers are working together to embed the new National Health and Care (human rights-based) Standards in the day to day delivery of care and support. Indeed, Scottish Care is delighted to be part of this work through the Rights Made Real project working with a group of care homes across Scotland in order to evidence the significance and potential of human rights in care delivery and support. 


Human rights are not just positive aspirations and a ‘nice’ thing to have but rather they are the essential component which lie at the heart of all care and support. At times of particular challenge and uncertainty they are the bedrock to ensure continuation of rights and the retention of dignity and humanity. 


In mid-June the First Minister appointed Shirley Anne Somerville, Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People, and Professor Alan Miller of Strathclyde University to co-chair a National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership. The announcement takes forward recommendations made in December 2018 by the First Minister’s Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership.  The taskforce will focus on the development of new legislation which would enhance the protection of the human rights of every member of Scottish society.  


This taskforce will build on the desire expressed in December to seek to incorporate within any new Scottish law the obligations of the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Included amongst these rights is the right to health 


The right to health is the right to a universal minimum standard of  health to which all individuals are entitled. What this means in practice has been long debated but there is now a mature conviction, not least in Scotland, that the right to health is not solely the right to physical and clinical health but to psychological, emotional and societal well-being. In that context there is a developing argument and belief that the right to both palliative and end of life care and to bereavement support are fundamental to and necessary for the achievement and fulfilment of the right to health. I intend to argue this more substantially in a future publication later this year. 


For the meantime, it is my suggestion that healthy bereavement support should be seen as an intrinsic part of the human right to health and that this sits squarely within the desire in Scotland to fulfil the maximum potential of our economic, social and cultural rights and is part of what a universal minimum right to health should consist of. 

Why bereavement?

To date there has been progress in fulfilling the aims of the 2015 Strategic Framework for Action on Palliative and End of Life Care but a lot less focus has been placed upon bereavement support since Shaping Bereavement Care: a framework for action, 2011 was published.   


We know that there are real challenges facing people in dealing with bereavement and in finding the support that enables them as individuals, family members, workers and citizens to continue to live well and contribute to their communities. Scottish Care in its own research, not least The Trees that bend in the wind and the workforce groups which we have established on palliative and end of life care, knows that there is often a profoundly negative impact on staff wellbeing when bereavement is not adequately recognised and dealt with 


A recent report by Sue Ryder and Hospice UK Bereavement Support in Scotland identified a huge gap in the provision of bereavement support within Scotland. Following a national survey, they stated that: 


nearly one third (31 per cent) of respondents say they needed additional support beyond family and friends to manage their bereavement. But:  

  • Only 6 per cent of all respondents accessed bereavement support. 

  • A further quarter (23 per cent) of respondents would have liked support but  

couldn’t access it because: they didn’t know how (12 per cent); felt uncomfortable asking for it (8 per cent); or couldn’t get the type of support they wanted (3 per cent). 


They further argued that: 


Based on the estimate that around 230,000 people in Scotland are bereaved each year, an estimated 53,000 people could be missing out on support that would help them cope with bereavement. 


Anyone working in a care home will recognise that dealing with frequent loss especially of those whom staff have developed and nurtured relationships with over a period of time, will inevitably impact upon the health and wellbeing of individuals. We recognise that after terms and conditions, one of the primary reasons for individuals leaving the care sector, is the struggle to cope with the emotional impact of caring, including bereavement when caring relationships end. 


Given the growing evidence of the negative impact of bereavement, and not solely in care and health sectors, and given the changes that have happened since the Shaping Bereavement Care report a number of individuals felt that this is an appropriate time to develop a new Bereavement Charter that addresses and flexes to the evolving and varied process of bereavement in Scotland. Additionally, such a Charter has to recognise and address some of the variant factors around workforce attrition levels and acknowledge the impact of failings around bereavement on loneliness and social isolation, mental and physical health, financial and practical considerations, feelings and grief. 

Who is involved?

A small, national multi-agency working group has met several times to begin to draft the content of the Charter (The principles of healthy bereavement: making Scotland the best country to live, die and grieve in). The group is now at the stage of finalising the principles of the Charter and is planning a series of consultation events across Scotland in autumn/winter 2019/20. It is hoped we will be able to launch the Charter in 2020. 


I do hope that you would like to become involved. We will be consulting using social media, a web-based survey as well as through regional face to face events. 


Scotland deserves to be amongst the first countries in the world to celebrate the reality that bereavement support is indeed a key part of the human right to health and that it is one which it is worth striving to achieve and fulfil.  


If you would like to keep in touch or find out more contact us at [email protected] 




Care Home Celebration Day: virtual reality takes residents back to their youth

Technology used to provide a virtual reality experience for care home residents #carehomecelebration19


Residents at Whitecraigs Care Home, Glasgow, have been given the chance to see penguins in the Antarctic, snow-capped mountains and the Tokyo skyline at night, all without leaving the comfort of their arm chair.


Pupils from Crookfur Primary School have been visiting the home to introduce residents to virtual reality, allowing them to see beautiful landscapes, wildlife and historical monuments from the surroundings of the care home.

The exciting initiative was set up by the home’s Activity’s Coordinator after a member of the team mentioned they had purchased a VR headset for playing computer games, and it would be an excellent addition to the busy schedule of activity for residents.

This led the home’s activities coordinator to approach Crookfur Primary to establish a programme sharing the pupils’ VR equipment and skills with the home’s residents while giving them the chance to socialise with the young people

The weekly visits, which see five and six-year old P2 students spending the morning helping the elderly tech-wizards to use VR headsets, have been a hit with residents and pupils alike.

Many participants have found that the immersive technology takes them back to their youth.


Hannah, aged 88, said:

“I was looking at a landscape in the countryside. It reminded me of home. I felt as though I was back in the good old days, running through the fields.”


Ramsey, aged 95, said:

“I could see a beautiful rose garden in one of them and the other one I was looking at penguins playing in the snow. I loved seeing these things. It reminded me of being at Edinburgh zoo with my family, where we would always go and see the penguins.”


Annmarie Porter, manager at Renaissance Care’s Whitecraigs Care Home, said:

“Our residents absolutely love using the VR headsets, it’s become a really popular highlight of the week. They’re able to learn about new technology while being  immersed in sights they wouldn’t usually be able to see.

“It brings back memories of their younger days, and it helps them to tell the pupils about their lives before they came to the home. It’s also really important for young people to spend time with the elderly. They can teach them new skills and and form lasting friendships that our residents look forward to each week.”


Huge thanks to Renaissance Care for sharing is fantastic example of technology being used to provide residents with new experiences and enhance their wellbeing.  You can read more of their good news stories at

Renaissance Care was founded in 2004 by executive chairman Robert Kilgour. It operates 14 care homes across Scotland, with over 1000 staff and close to 700 beds. Whitecraigs Care Home is located in Thornliebank and has over 50 beds.



Care Home Celebration Day: a Technology Charter to protect care home residents

Scottish Care CEO Dr Donald Macaskill reflects on the opportunities and challenges for technology in care homes #carehomecelebration19


A Technology Charter to protect care home residents

Last week’s issue of the technology magazine, Computer Weekly, carried a lead story about how AI may be a solution to the social care crisis but that there were legal considerations. 

Since Scottish Care published our TechRights report in 2018 on the need to establish clear human rights and ethical frameworks for the use of technology and digital in older people’s care and support, there has been a growing discussion and awareness of the centrality of these issues. 


There is undeniably immense potential in the use of AI and robotics in care homes. In the midst of what is often described as a crisis over workforce recruitment and retention in Scotland as well as across the United Kingdom– with 9 out of 10 providers struggling to fill jobs, and nearly a quarter of care home staff leaving their roles each year, it is understandable that many might view technology and data as some sort of salvation and panacea. 


Our TechRights report last year mentioned the collaboration between the University of Bedfordshire and Advinia Health Care in a £2.5m European Union (EU)-funded trial using humanoid companions in care homes. The 4ft tall robot, known as Pepper, was designed by Softbank Robotics in Japan and is intended to interact with residents.  


‘Over time, the robot learns residents’ favourite music, videos and games. It can hold a conversation and, using facial recognition software, can identify whether a person is interested in a topic or change it – adapting to the needs of the resident. 

And if the robot companions can successfully recognise a person in distress, they will be able to alert a care worker.’ 


On one level there is a clear benefit between such uses of AI, smart technology in individual homes and the use of virtual reality aids and so on. 


In a not unrelated story last week we have learnt that Amazon is partnering with the NHS in England and Wales to stream the health service's advice already available online through Alexa but using voice. But what on the surface might appear to be positive  progress has not been received without concern and alarm in some quarters.  


Because at the same time as these stories of innovation are gaining prominence so too are stories which are calling into question issues of privacy and data control.  


Facebook is facing an unprecedented fine of nearly £5 billion pounds for breaches in data privacy; there are concerns that home based smart devices are recording and listening into conversations, and there is a growing cynicism around the control of personal data by what are essentially sales organisations like Google and Amazon.  


Scottish Care is convinced that the progress and potential of technology and robotics in care homes and elsewhere will not be maximised unless we increase public confidence and assure citizens about the fundamental protection of their rights. 


To that end, with other stakeholders, we have been working on a Human Rights Charter for Technology and Digital in older people’s care and support. This Charter seeks to not only continue the conversation but ensure that from design, development through to implementation and use that technologies seek to serve and enhance the rights and dignity of older individuals, especially in care home environments 


We will be launching the Charter at our TechCare2 event in Glasgow on 23rd August. This event brings together in workshop and discussion format designers, policy specialists, practitioners and technologists. Come and join us at the event and share with others both the potential and the challenges of technology and digital the care and support which care homes deliver. 






Care Home Celebration Day: awards and rewards

Scottish Care and our partners regularly highlight the need to better recognise and value the care home workforce, who so often go above and beyond without any expectation of reward. However it is really important that we take opportunities to thank our workforce and share their work with others. One way of doing this is through Awards nominations.

Hawkhill House

Thanks to Hawkhill House for sharing their experiences of Awards, and huge congratulations on your success!

Scottish Care Awards 2019

Were you a finalist or winner in our 2018 Care Home Awards? Share your story! We had so many fantastic nominations of people who are shining examples of the care home sector.  You can see the full list of finalists and winners here -

Keep your eyes peeled for some exciting news about Scottish Care's 2019 Care Home Awards, coming later today...


Care Home Celebration Day: sharing The Firs Resident Author Programme

Laura Scroggie, Manager at The Firs care home shares details of their Resident Author Programme and how staff are involved



We hope you enjoy reading this as it gives you some background information on the project as well as providing an insight into why this project was created. We hope it helps answer any questions you have about the Resident Author Programme.

Enhance Healthcare Ltd (Clancare Ltd) is a privately-owned care provider, owned by Mr. Manvir Singh and his business partner Mr. Paul McNiven, they are also joined by Manvir’s wife Lesley, who brings a wealth of knowledge from her extensive nursing background in community nursing. Lesley sees to daily operations as the operational director, it is with this close contact with the company’s directors that Enhance can pride themselves in the ability to invest in their workforce. Working with Enhance is not a faceless environment and each and every member of staff that is employed within the business are encouraged to develop both personally and professionally and inspired to continually find new and exciting ways to add innovative practice and enrichment to the lives of those we support. Driving up quality and excellence really is a team effort here at Enhance and that is key to what we do every day!

Our resident author programme has been developed and delivered by Paul McDonagh, Paul has worked within The Firs care home since 1999, throughout which time Paul had been employed within an ancillary role. After the takeover of Clancare Ltd by Enhance Healthcare Ltd and the commencement of new management within The Firs care home in April 2018 it became apparent very quickly what talent lay within Paul and the value of opportunity that he offered with bringing enrichment to the life of the residents within our care homes

Having taken the vision of the resident author programme to our Operations director Lesley Singh, Lesley immediately seen the value of such a resource and supported a pilot programme to be rolled out across the group, commencing within Paul’s base home, here at The Firs and latterly being rolled out in our 7 sister homes, along with our community-based support service ELSS.


Paul McDonagh


Innovation is critical to the continuing success of any organisation, following on from that thought and in line with the ethos of Enhance Healthcare’s commitment to delivering the highest quality and standards of care to those we support we took a look at the research that had been done in relation to reminiscence therapies.

Dementia UK and others have carried out research which reveals that those living in care benefit from writing down their life stories because it helps them retain a sense of identity for longer and to feel more connected to their family and community. Writing and reading their own life story can be an enjoyable reminiscing activity and form part of a broader activities programme. It also helps the care staff understand more about those they work with and what they need because the life story books provide extra information that can be used to give greater choice. At the same time, there are a few care homes in other parts of the UK that use the rhythm and rhyme of poetry to help those living in care in the same way that other care homes have music and art therapy programmes to help individuals access hard to recall memories or express themselves more fully.

It is this which explains why the life story books in the Firs Care Home also contain poems. In effect, they are short autobiographies that also function as tailor-made poetry books. People can enjoy the books for the life story or the poems depending on their mood at the time. Indeed, at the end of each book, there is a blank page with the title ‘Thoughts and Notes About My Life’ so individuals can write down extra memories that come to them after they read their life story, but that didn’t occur to them when they were interviewed.


The process

Each person who wishes to take part in the Resident Author Programme is interviewed either separately or with their family and a series of questions asked about their lives. The answers to these questions along with any information already on file is used to help them write their life story.

Each interview is recorded because it makes it easier to create an authentic first-person narrative account of their lives and because the audio may be required to produce audiobook editions of the life stories for those with impaired vision who cannot read the large print editions.

On average, from the moment of interview to the order for printed copies of the books, each life story takes 10 hours to write, but slightly more if a lot of original poems are written for an individual. Paul McDonagh along with being an accomplished (and published author) is also blessed with the ability to write poems and verse, with many residents being involved and penning their own personal poems that relate to their life memories.

Having the option of sharing these stories with families, friends and loved ones ensures that memories live on. It can offer great comfort and pleasure in sharing these memories and provides an opportunity for engagement and quality of time spent together during the initial information gathering phase.

Available formats

Currently, we can produce the life stories in paperback, hardback, large print, e-book and audiobook formats.

Spin-off titles

As part of the process of writing the life story books, other books do get written based on photographs, artwork and the extra journeys that are undertaken to finish writing the life stories.

This aspect of the project has resulted in the production of the following titles: On the Way to Iona, this book followed the life of resident A.M. (The Firs) his experiences and tales that lead to him relocating to Iona and Tom and Ron’s Book of Haiku, blending the pictures taken over the lifetime of one gentleman to the poetry and verse written by another.

Up and coming

As well as rolling out the Resident Author Programme across other care homes, the following additional book titles are currently in production: Riding a Bike in Millport, A Bunch of Characters, The Firs Sketchbook and Poems That Care.

Riding a Bike in Millport is a travel book in the same vein as On the Way to Iona. Just like that book, Riding a Bike in Millport is about the journey made to help write a life story. Both the Firs Sketchbook and A Bunch of Characters are photo books based on the hand-drawn sketches done by a former employee and friend of the Firs Care Home. The poetry book, Poems That Care, contains the poems that have been written especially for people who now live in the various care homes in which the Resident Author Programme operates.

The pilot programme has successfully seen the completion of three initial books across each nine very unique and differing care settings, and as expected displayed the diversity of the client group that we support. The success of the programme has re-affirmed in us all as care practitioners that everyone has a story to tell, many just require the opportunity and platform to do so and if we only take the time to provide this the results have proven to be priceless.

Amazon authors

As an extra bonus for those who take part in the programme, we offer an opportunity to put their book  on Amazon (with consent and agreement) so that they can become a published author on Amazon if they wish and have their life story up alongside the autobiographies and biographies of the rich and famous. It can then be purchased in exactly the same way that you can currently buy the latest bestseller from the likes of Stephen King or Barbara Cartland. In any case, each book is given a unique ISBN so that should they wish to publish their book at a later date they can do so.


Your thoughts

We are always keen to improve the project and to answer any questions that people may have about the Resident Author Programme, so if you have any questions or suggestions for improvement., please contact Laura Scroggie (registered manager) at The Firs – [email protected]

We hope you find this as inspiring as we do.





Care Home Celebration Day: recognising the care home workforce

Workforce Matters Policy & Practice Lead, Caroline Deane, highlights the critical role of care home staff and sees Care Home Celebration Day as one of many times we should thank them #carehomecelebration19


The care home workforce is diverse and innovative and provides support to thousands of individuals across Scotland.  Although faced with many challenges staff continually deliver high standards of care and support to ensure that individuals can access the care they need in a manner that is respectful and dignified and takes into account their increasingly complex needs. 

The ongoing demand for services enabling individuals to stay in their own homes for as long as possible means that when people move into a care home invariably their level of support is much greater.  Care homes have risen to this challenge and due to an incredibly dedicated team of nurses and care and support workers are able to ensure that people are well cared for which reduces the number of hospital admissions and the upheaval that results from stays in hospitals. 

Care home workers are known to be willing to take part in projects and pilots that can introduce improved ways of working to ensure that they are continually improving their support and adapting to meet changing needs in a person-centered manner.  This takes into account the individuality of the people who move into care homes with their diverse histories and backgrounds. 

It is always a privilege during forum meetings to meet with care home providers and to find out the work that they are involved in.  This can be around staff working within the promoting excellence in dementia framework, working to the new national health and social care standards and work around palliative and end of life care. 

Whether a provider is a well-established organization or a relatively new and small provider the really innovative and fascinating work that takes place is inspiring.  Again the willingness of staff to go above and beyond the remit of their roles really displays the values that this workforce has and a completely unique set of skills that at times cannot be taught but is wholly taken for granted. 

The staff and managers at Glenburnie Care Home have been continually updating and improving their care and support workers dementia learning and development journey.  At Glenburnie Care they have developed a new dementia training programme which is now being rolled out to all their staff members to ensure that they have a “whole home approach” to dementia care. 

They have utilised a new resource consisting of a dementia skilled level train the trainer course with a view to train more care and support workers to become trainers.  This is partly due to their limited capacity as a smaller organization but has resulted in a huge impact on the outcomes for their services users and taps into the bigger picture of shared learning amongst staff and career development. 

Across the country care home providers are continuing to invest in their workforces learning and development across a wide variety of care provision.   


At Crossreach the managers are ensuring that all their valuable care and support workers are receiving dementia training to the enhanced level of the promoting excellence framework.  Crossreach have also incorporated some of the skilled level dementia elements in other training courses for example in their induction training for new staff members. 

They currently have nine in house trainers and they also have 36 dementia ambassadors with a view to having another eight staff members becoming dementia ambassadors in the near future.  Their dementia ambassadors receive good support from their organisation and they meet up to three times a year to discuss further learning and development needs. 

At the end of the year staff produce evidence on “what we did well” which results in more effective leadership skills and they have used SSSC step into leadership resources to provide better support to their workforce. 


At Scottish Care we would like to thank the incredible care home workforce for their dedication to their work and to the individuals who they support.  Time and again the relationships that are developed and built between care workers and service user can be pivotal to the quality of life experienced.  Care workers are great advocates for their service users and are best placed on many occasions to be instrumental in obtaining the best support that cares for individuals but ensure that their independence is also maintained.  The social care workforce skills and knowledge must be recognised and listened to when planning care and support for the future.