Dementia work is stepping up at care homes

A care home in Morpeth is helping to lead the way in dementia support.

East Riding Care Home off Whorral Bank has become part of the Positively Enhancing and Enriching Residents’ Lives (PEARL) programme developed by its parent company Four Seasons Health Care.

The award-winning initiative takes a fresh look at dementia care and is attracting attention across the globe due to its success in improving wellbeing.

East Riding Manager Pam Glasper said: “The ethos of PEARL is to see beyond the symptoms of dementia to recognise each person as an individual and support them to live their lives as closely as possible to the way that they always have.

“Talking with the person and their family, friends and health or social workers to understand something of the life of the person can help us shape their care programme and gives us ideas of how we can engage with them.”

Staff have completed months of training to recognise and respond to the needs of people with dementia.

Studies of people in the PEARL programme nationally have shown a 48 per cent reduction in the need for antipsychotic medication to calm them, with 40 per cent less use of anxiety medication, and a 44 per cent reduction in sleep inducing drugs. Wellbeing was judged to have improved in 46 per cent of people studied.

The care programme uses a range of therapies and Four Seasons is now sharing its work with health professionals in Europe, Asia and South Africa.

Meanwhile, Care UK, which runs Ponteland Manor care home has produced a Listen, Talk, Connect guide to help people communicate with a loved one who is living with dementia.

It has been compiled using first-hand advice from care workers, family members and dementia specialists to help people overcome the communication hurdles associated with the illness.

Free copies are available from the Ponteland home, as well as online at

To mark Dementia Awareness Week, which runs until Saturday, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust has launched a Words From The Wise booklet, which was produced from workshops with service users to give them a voice and challenge stereotypes.

And Public Health England and the Alzheimer’s Society are seeking Dementia Friends.

It involves people learning more about the illness and what they can do to make a difference to someone living with dementia.

For details visit