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Furze Hill House

Furze Hill House is an accredited Gold Standard Care Home, an award which was achieved with commendation and recognises a ‘gold standard of care’ is being provided for all residents as they near the end of their lives.

It’s all about living well until you die.’

Furze Hill House is an accredited Gold Standard Care Home, an award which was achieved with commendation and recognises a ‘gold standard of care’ is being provided for all residents as they near the end of their lives.

Most residents come to Furze Hill House with the aim of making it their home for the rest of their lives, while others come to receive well managed, pain free care for the last weeks, or even days of their lives. Major Doreen Bland, assistant director of The Salvation Army’s Older People’s Services, says ‘it’s all about living well until you die,’ the focus being on the life the resident wants to live right until their final days. ‘We try to give them what they prefer,’ Doreen continues. ‘Some people want to be on their own, others want family around them, some people want fresh flowers in their room and others want to be in their bed.’

Each resident has an Advance Care Plan that gives them the opportunity to discuss and record their wishes for the end of their life so that, when the time comes, staff can be sure that the wishes of the resident are met with the peace and dignity they deserve. Practical questions such as ‘where would you wish to end your days?’ and ‘do you have any special requests for the end of life?’ are asked in addition to considering funeral arrangements and any spiritual and emotional needs.

Doreen remembers one resident who wanted the Coldstream Guards and his old dog beside him during his final days. While the home could not organise a live performance, a CD was played of the military band and the home’s ‘pat dog’ Buster was brought into the room. ‘Buster jumped up on the bed,’ Doreen explains, ‘the resident stroked him and went to sleep.’

Central to the ‘gold standard of care’ at Furze Hill is good communication with the next of kin, family and friends of each resident. They are kept informed of the resident’s health, given pastoral support from the chaplain should they request it, are allowed to visit day or night, and are encouraged to consider the practical arrangements needed to be made after their loved one has died.

Doreen recalls another occasion when a son and daughter were told their mother was nearing her final days, so they visited Furze Hill to spend a day together. ‘The mother liked her hair to be done so we washed and styled it specially,’ Doreen says. She remembers the family bringing a picnic to share with their mother, a CD of a granddaughter playing the cello and games to play. ‘An hour after her children had left, the mother died peacefully,’ Doreen comments. ‘It’s such a privilege to be with the residents at the end of their lives.’

Residential care

Making later-life a time of fulfilment and enrichment for our older generation, to live with dignity and choice