Geoff scoops a top award for his ‘dignity’ role

Our care quality manager, Geoff Aris, has scooped a top award for helping residents at Barrowhill Hall maintain their dignity.

He was recognised at the Staffordshire County Council Dignity in Care Awards on Thursday 3rd August.  The awards are held annually to promote, recognise and reward those people whose actions make a difference and serve as an example to others.

Geoff took the award for ‘promoting dignity through learning’ after using knowledge he gained from his dementia studies degree to give residents as much choice, independence and dignity as possible.  He was inspired to study the condition in his late 60s after watching his mum, Ivy Brown, deal with memory problems towards the end of her life.

“I am thrilled to have won,” said Geoff.  “I didn’t have enough knowledge to properly support my mum when she was struggling with dementia and since then, I’ve been determined to learn as much as I can to make life for our residents at Barrowhill as good as it can be, and what they want it to be.”

Geoff has introduced initiatives at Barrowhill Hall such as offering a visual choice of food and drink for people who are not able to say what they would prefer, and giving them a range of outfits to point to so they have a choice of what to wear.

He has given people opportunities to socialise and make new friends by changing where chairs are placed in the lounge or helping people to join a group when they can’t move independently.

He’s also set up a consultation programme for residents and their families so they can share their views on issues such as the redevelopment of the garden.

“These might sound quite minor things but imagine if you were isolated on the other side of the room when everyone else is sat together in a group,” said Geoff.  “This can really impact on your quality of life.

“What I’ve learned is how to tune into the ways in which each person expresses their choices, as they can’t always tell you they’d like to move or they’d prefer a cup of coffee to tea.

“Us being able to recognise and respond to what people need reduces their anxiety levels and it also gives staff a great sense of satisfaction.”

Manager of Barrowhill Hall, Martin Rogerson, said: “We are extremely proud of Geoff and this award is well-deserved.  I’ve rarely seen such commitment to learning, especially at an age when most of us would be looking forward to retirement, and we are delighted to see how the residents are benefiting from his knowledge.”

Geoff was presented with his award at the ceremony at the Theatre of Performing Arts at Newcastle College by Councillor Alan White, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Health, Care and Wellbeing.

“The Dignity in Care awards are a wonderful celebration of those people who provide the highest level of care in our communities, always going the extra mile to help others,” he said.

“Once again, we received many outstanding nominations for individuals and organisations which made judging very difficult indeed.  I would like to thank all our winners, including Geoff, and all those highly commended for the high quality of support they provide.”

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