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Photos: A recent tea dance for Summerlands residents. A great time was had by all.!


but some, like the installation of sophisticated door closers, improved bathroom lighting and upgrades for all the individual TVs, are more obvious. In November last year, Summerlands was one of the fi rst care homes to be assessed under the new regulations managed by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the independent regulator of health and social care in England. The Commission found that Summerlands was meeting all the essential standards of quality and safety under review.


Summerlands has been a care home for some 25 years now and, although its facilities have been radically upgraded since it fi rst opened its doors, it retains the feeling of the large, comfortable family home it once was. Talking to Tina Coomber, Care Manager at Summerlands, that impression is a pretty accurate refl ection of how she and her staff look after the residents. “It’s a family thing,” she told me, “for staff and residents alike. We all feel that we belong to the Summerlands family. So we care for each other. Although we don’t offer full nursing care, we get tremendous support from the District Nurses and we try our utmost to allow our residents to stay here for as long as possible. In fact, I’d say that over 90% of our people stay here for all their days.”


The house is surrounded by extensive gardens and there is a very large patio area, both protected by well-maintained, mature hedges ensuring privacy and shelter. Nearly all of the 30 ensuite, fully furnished bedrooms look out onto the gardens and the residents can ‘individualise’ them with their own possessions or even a piece of furniture. There is an attractive dining area and a large, communal lounge where residents can socialise with each other and entertain friends and where, combined with the patio, an astonishing variety of activities take place. These range from regular events like seated aerobics, tea dances, sing-alongs and skittles, to a formal entertainments programme including a Caribbean Summer Party, the Royal Wedding Day and the Christmas Panto (complete with its own pantomime horse!) Of course, all this seemingly hectic activity is spread out over time and none of it is compulsory. The residents are completely free to make their own choices and to join in or keep themselves to themselves, as they wish.


Deborah talks passionately about Summerlands; although they’ve come a long way, she has a clear vision of where they’re going. As an example


“Freedom of the individual is greatly prized.”


of the company’s ambition, there are exciting plans to give residents some of the benefi ts of today’s modern communications technology. With a highly motivated, qualifi ed and caring staff, Summerlands Residential Care Home is a vibrant community at peace with itself. ■


SUMMERLANDS RESIDENTIAL CARE Summerhill Lane, Haywards Heath West Sussex RH16 1RW 01444 459836 | www.summerlandscarehome.co.uk


SUSSEX LIVING 85October 2011


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