Paula was previously the registered manager at a home in Burnham, where her expertise had been swiftly recognised by promotion from carer to manager after only six months.
Having originally trained as a psychiatric nurse, Paula has been working in mental health care for 20 years, firstly with the NHS – including experience in hospital dementia units and as a community psychiatric nurse – then moving to the private sector in 2009.
Paula said: “I am really enjoying my new working environment. It’s busy and challenging – in a good way – and the team here are so professional, caring and enthusiastic. They really know how to ensure our lovely residents are supported to live their lives to the full.”
Her plans for new features at Avalon Nursing Home include a beauty area, with a salon for the ladies and a barber’s area – complete with traditional red and white barber’s pole – for the gents and a dementia garden incorporating a memorial garden so that we can remember those we have lost. She is hoping to engage with the community to try and enable this to happen and is planning this with the Activities Team.
“It would be great to introduce some other new features, such as a traditional mail-box where residents could post their own letters and possibly a telephone box because things like these help people with dementia to orientate themselves and bring items of familiarity to aid reminiscence,” added Paula.
She is also passionate about encouraging more music within the home due to its proven benefits to engage residents and improve their mood.
Outside work, Paula and her husband Rob – who have four children aged between nine and 16 – are keen musicians and used to be known to patrons of the Mount Somerset Hotel where Paula sang to Rob’s jazz and blues piano accompaniment on Sunday afternoons. She and her husband are also actively involved in the worship music and all-age services of their local church.