Thursday, November 12, 2009

I don't know much about art....

We've a very genteel nursing home on the patch. It's taken over an Edwardian era Vicarage and converted it to accommodate the residents in the rooms formerly devoted to staff and family, using the larger reception rooms for dining and lounging very much as you'd expect. It's a good one. You can tell because your never greeted by an unsavoury aroma when you cross the threshold-- regular visitors to such establishments will know exactly what I mean, there are always staff on hand to greet you, and always with a smile, and none of the residents is left to wander wraith like through the halls and stairwells.

It's also apparently run by people of quite unsound mind. They commissioned a local artist (also a patient of mine as it happens) to bedeck their common areas with what our family has always referred to as "Muriels". Vasty paintings of trellised vines and frolicking Putti interspersed with little snippets of inspirational text . All very tasteful, but neither Vicarly nor especially Homey, but not without it's own idiosyncratic charm. But this is far from the limit of their artistic pretensions.

Being an Edwardian era property the home has grounds which though obviously landscaped ab initio, had been let go a bit before the present occupiers took root. So they decided to do them up a bit and have a sculpture park. You know the sort, all concrete Lions and Dishevelled and Deshabillee Nymphs and Graces. Indeed the portals to the establishment are guarded by two resplendent sprawling "marbled" Lions of fierce and noble mien who look like they've been there since time immemorial.

Now I've not visited for a few months-- they're good enough that I seldom have to except to welcome new residents who have opted to join our list, or to review the med's of those of our patients who have been lucky enough to fetch up there-- yes Dr Field et al, some of us really do go out and review our patients med's you know (sorry just a bit of a snit about today's Radio 4 News coverage, if you've not heard it it really doesn't warrant repeating now-- forgive the intrusion). So today I was especially pleased to see they've installed a new sculpture pride of place in the centre of their lawn.

There, atop a noble plinth stands a life size "bronze" of a sheepdog. Fair enough I hear you say. Nothing wrong with a statue of dear old Shep surely? And you're quite right, except....

This dog has his forepaws planted foresquare on the rump of a rather startled looking sheep, his hind legs splayed wide in classic leap-frog pose as he vaults over his ovine charge, ears flapping away behind him.

After spotting this I chuckled all the way back to the surgery, and I only hope, when my time comes, they find me someplace just as quirky to spend my dotage.


Imogene said...

It is a bequest by a sheep-fancying former inmate. Sorry... resident. Obviously, no one reviewed his meds...

Nikita said...

As a RMN working in a care home, I would be concerned that no resident wandered the corridors and stairwells "wraith" like. This would mean that they were expected to sit in a chair all day to make the home look tidy. This is not real life - do you sit in a chair all day? I don't. When I was looking for a home for my mum, any home where residents were not wandering about was immediately struck of the list!

Anonymous said...

Wandering about is all very well until they 'wander' down the stairs and come into A+E as
Mechanical fall ?fracture ?facial views lac to suture, swelling ++
I'm not saying that staying mobile isn't a good thing but it does have its down sides, old people in their own homes often sit and watch the world go by. I think slowing down is part of the natural order of things.

Nikita said...

Slowing down is the natural order of things and some folk do spend their day watching the world go by from the comfort of an armchair.

Others want to wander around and why shouldn't they? All residents SHOULD have risk assessments in place.

Those who are risk of falls are accompanied by staff on their walks. Those who are not are free to wander whenever they wish.

I have yet to come across a resident who has fallen down the stairs - although I sure it does happen - as they prefer to use the lift.

You can be sure as dammit, that those folk who are expected to sit all day to make the home look tidy will become deconditioned and then will be at risk of falls. Also the constant reminders from staff of "Sit down or you'll fall" will strip them of their confidence, yet again increasing the falls risk.

Use it or lose it definitely applies to mobility.

ageing student said...

.....but I know what I like. Great post - are there any vacancies at this care home? I bet not!

Doctor Jest said...

Imogene-- I'm afraid I really don't know. I'll ask next time I visit.

Nikita-- welcome. Happily I think you've misunderstood what I was trying to say. The key words here were "wraith like". In too many homes I visit the residents are regarded far more as "inmates" still and left to roam corridors looking anxious and distressed like uneasy spitrits. At the home I'm posting about there's a constant bustle, but all the movements appear purposeful and the residents, by and large, engaged. Where they are more confused there is always a member of staff at their elbow to help direct them as needed. I quite agree a home full of "wallflowers" sat lining the lounge walls like sixthform boys at a prom is a thoroughly bad sign.

Anon-- you, like me have seen more than your fair share of such patients by the sound of things, but the best way to avoid such incidents *is* to mobilize our elder patients safely, as is done in this case.

A.S.-- indeed not, though they do keep a couple of rooms turning over as a respite facility. Like the best hotels these rooms too are at a premium though.