Elm Hall Nursing Home is a 62 bed care facility just on the outskirts of Celbridge, Co.Kildare. Having had a change of management in 2018, the new team embraced change and innovation and have made drastic improvements to the care of residents including joining Grandpal.
Elm Hall have 12 Grandpals who make weekly visits to residents they've been paired with.
“Well whoever you guys are, hats off. I love what you're doing and well done”.
It’s hard to imagine what it was like before Grandpal, we have been engaged with the service for nearly a year now and I have to say it has brought so much more to our home then I originally envisaged, their visits are not only benefiting our residents but also creating a sense of connection to our wider community which holds great value to us.
Thank you for providing such a wonderful service to our residents.
"From the moment we heard about Grandpal, we knew we wanted to be involved. The Grandpals that we have met and commenced with our residents have been so kind, so thoughtful and such an addition to our team and brought new ideas and experiences to our social and activities programme."
"Sometimes the most valuable thing you can offer a resident is time - someone to talk to, a confidant, a pal. The Grandpal service has been a wonderful addition to The Fern Dean and has meant that those who don’t get regular visitors can be prioritised for these visits, ensuring they receive an appropriate level of social engagement."
“Grandpal have been a lifeline for my mum. She’s had to move into residential care due to dementia. Leaving her home, and long term neighbourly friendships, has been a heartbreaking adjustment for her to have to make. Grandpal have given mum an opportunity to form a new friendship, that is enriching and stimulating for her. And also a space in which to talk through her feelings. She is often very animated when talking of her most recent visit. I am indebted to the Grandpal team for sharing their care and compassion with our family. Mum’s carer treats her with dignity and kindness and genuinely cares for her welfare. There’s great peace of mind that comes from knowing your parent has their very own guardian angel, thanks to Grandpal. I couldn’t recommend them more highly”.
Ellen was one of our first Grandpal volunteers back in August of 2018.
She was matched with a gentleman who is blind and had difficulty with his social and recreational activities as a result. Ellen who is a retired teacher, already has a creative streak and was able to think outside the box to support the resident to be more active.
One of the first activities they did together was to share a love of gardening. Ellen brought herbs that she had grown from her Garden and thought it might be fun to feel them, smell them and see if he could guess which ones were which. This gave the resident an opportunity to reminisce about old times and to gain a sense of achievement as he didn't need vision to identify the herbs.
The chat that ensued from this activity included talking about favourite meals incorporating the herbs. By chance, the herbs happened to include Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, all grown in Ellen's garden and the resident suddenly had a Eureka moment when he remembered that this was also the name of a very famous song. Ellen took out her iPad and they were able to listen to the song and talk about the performers Simon and Garfunkel.
Ellen has been visiting once or twice a week for almost a year now and has encouraged the resident to take part in more group activities with her help and support and they've done other creative tasks like tactile puzzles and crosswords. They sometimes use the iPad to cheat if they find a clue too difficult to solve.
One of our Grandpal's was matched with a resident who was born and grew up in Germany. She had moved to Ireland almost 50 years ago when she met her husband. Her two daughters are her only family in Ireland now and they unfortunately suffer from ill-health which makes visiting difficult. The lady was feeling quite down at times due to social isolation as she found it hard to integrate with her peers whom she didn't feel she had much in common with despite staff support and encouragement.
Yvonne, one of our volunteers, started making weekly visits to her and found that she had a number of interests that she could be supported with. Yvonne started bringing her autobiographical books from the library as she is an avid reader. On another visit, Yvonne used her iPad to bring the lady on a google street view tour of her home town in Germany. This provoked a lot of discussion and reminiscence and helped Yvonne get a deeper understanding of the lady which in turn helped the nursing home to get to know her better.
Through Yvonne's visits and support from nursing staff, we were able to get German newspapers and magazine sprinted from an online site and find an internet radio with easy to use buttons that could receive live German radio stations from her bedroom in Kildare. This has allowed her to keep up to date with events in Germany and helped strengthen her relationship with her brother in Germany as they have more to chat about during their weekly phone calls.Yvonne and some fellow Grandpals are planning a coffee morning for their Pals to meet up and make some friends within the nursing home.
As a result of Yvonne's visits, her quality of life has improved, her social and recreational needs are being better met on a daily basis and we all have a better understanding of this lovely lady who came from Germany 50 years ago and now feels closer to home than she has been in years.
She has integrated with the community nursing home, our local community and reconnected with her community in Germany.
Elaine joined Grandpal as a volunteer earlier this year and was matched with a gentleman in his 80's.
The gentleman has a large family but most of them live abroad in Spain and Australia and so he doesn't get a lot of visitors. He was skeptical at first when the nursing home manager spoke to him about the idea of a volunteer visitor but agreed to give it a try as he was feeling a little bit lonely at times.
Elaine's warm and bubbly personality made her an instant hit and they had a great first visit. The resident didn't want to spend the weekly visits doing anything in particular, preferring just to have a cup of tea and a chat and this suited Elaine as she didn't feel she was very confident in doing art or music.
Over the weeks, a strong friendship formed and the resident was noticeably in better form on the days when he knew Elaine was coming. He enjoyed having someone to talk to who wasn't a staff member, who was there just for him, and because they truly wanted to be. His family were similarly delighted to know that he was having some extra one on one time given that they couldn't always be present.
When the nursing home manager went back to him to check how he was getting on and whether things were going well, the resident responded with an enthusiastic thanks saying "You've given me the best gift you could ever give me.... A friend".
Our customers are forward thinking nursing homes who recognise the benefit of reaching out to their local communities for support with delivering meaningful one on one time for their residents. They are homes who put their people first by making sure their psychological needs are met. Below are just a few of the nursing homes paving the way for a new standard of care for their residents.
Book a phone call with a member of the Grandpal team to learn more about how Grandpal can transform your nursing homes community in just one month.
Every Grandpal is Garda Vetted before making visits and has access to training modules on the Grandpal app. Any onsite specific training, the Nursing Home provides.
The safety and standard of our Grandpal Community is, and will always be, our fundamental priority. Our recruitment process is detailed and secure so that we can find Grandpals who are promising candidates to become trusted friends.
Grandpal is all about companionship. We believe that everyone can benefit from more social interactions, especially residents of nursing homes. Providing extra visits for your nursing home residents can help to alleviate their loneliness and improve quality of life, on an individual scale and even in the nursing home as a whole.
Everyone in the nursing home benefits from having some friendly locals coming to visit.
Grandpal offers a way for people who care about their community to become more involved which, in turn, helps foster even more community spirit. Invite your Grandpals to join you on your days out, to your festive parties and other special occasions that will be boosted by having your community there supporting you.
We aim not only to provide a sense of community for Grandpals and their partnered residents by arranging visits, but we also aim to relieve some of the pressure on the nursing home staff and allow them, too, to benefit from the support the local community provides. Grandpal makes a real difference to your nursing home.