How to protect care home’s residents identity: the importance of personal belongings

Each person’s identity is made up of thousands of apparently small
events, relationships and preferences – The way we dress, our odd little
habits, the music we like and the books we read or how we make a cup of
tea.

A common fear associated with moving into a care home is
that of losing one’s identity and self-hood. While the national minimum
standards set out the importance of treating everyone as an individual,
there is an inescapable contradiction in the need (and there is a real
need) to have “national standards” for the care of individuals. Setting
standards implies a conformity that is at odds with the promise that
each resident will be able to retain that unique and complex mix of
“me-ness” which makes us who we are.

Activities like reading the
newspaper every morning or watching your favourite TV show after tea
time can make a remarkable difference for care home residents. In
addition to this, one of the most obvious and deliberate expressions of
individuality is in the clothes we wear.

Clothing does much more
than just keep us warm and cover us. It is often an extension of
ourselves, an expression of our personality or mood. Clothes often have
strong personal – and sometimes intimate – emotional significance. This
is why looking after residents’ clothing, washing, ironing and folding –
and not losing items – is of far greater importance than it might
appear.

To help keep belongings safe there are a variety of
options to take into consideration, with the advice being that each and
every individual should have all of their belongings tagged up. The
easiest way to do this would be through name tags,
such as that from the Care Home Label Company, an effective measure
that can be implemented in order to track precious possessions for
residents and members of staff.

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Published by Residential Forum

The Residential Forum is to promote the achievement of high standards of care and support for children and adults living in residential care and nursing homes, supported housing, residential schools and colleges, hospices and hostels. It contributes to improving the quality of service to the public. Members of the Forum are people of standing and experience drawn from the public, private and voluntary sectors, as well as some who can speak for service users and carers.

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