Apple Mews care home in Armagh, managed by Amore Care, has received university accreditation from both the University of Ulster and Queen’s University Belfast for the training of nurses.
It means that some university students will spend time at Apple Mews as part of their training in caring for older people with learning disabilities. This training helps lead to them becoming fully qualified nurses, registered by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the UK regulator for the nursing and midwifery profession
Queen’s University Belfast said up to 18 of its student nurses alone could receive training at Apple Mews each year.
Apple Mews was chosen as a training site after a lecturer at the university visited the area and spoke to managers about the nursing care offered there.
Staff at Apple Mews also receive training in how to fill in ‘progress reports’ on trainee nurses which contribute to their final qualification before nurses take up jobs in Northern Ireland or around the world.
Apple Mews provides care for up to 30 adults with learning disabilities, autism and complex physical disabilities. As well as nursing care, it runs a wide range of programmes to support independence and life skills. Residents have access to daily activities including arts, music, education, sensory and outdoor activities.
Gavin O’Hare-Connolly, operations director at Amore Care, said: “I am immensely proud of the team at Apple Mews, especially Rosemary Dilworth whose leadership has helped turn our service into a ‘centre of excellence’ model. Those who work with older people in care homes often go without recognition of the important job they do.
“Involving students in our daily care practices provides residents and staff with greater access to best practice guidance, enriches students’ experience and enables us to develop links with future employees through the student placement programme.”
Rosemary Dilworth, general manager of specialist services at Apple Mews, said: “Feedback from students has been so positive and we are providing an employment route for specialist practice nurses from Queen’s University’s Learning Disability branch.”
The home shares its joint accreditation with Bohill Specialist Bungalows in Coleraine, Co Londonderry. The Bohilll site will be used to provide learning disability training and specialist Acquired Brain Injury training placements also.
The universities’ recognition comes after Apple Mews’ Dawn Rhodie won Independent Health Care Providers’ (IHCP) Nurse of the Year award. The awards celebrate good quality care provided for Northern Ireland’s older and vulnerable adults. Rosemary Dilworth was a finalist in the IHCP’s Manager of the Year awards last month.
Northern Ireland has the fastest growing elderly population in the UK. Currently, over a quarter of a million men and women are of a pensionable age, which is nearly one in six of the population.