A committed care home worker is giving up her family festivities for a second year running to ensure residents who can’t enjoy a traditional turkey dinner don’t miss out on celebrating the day.
Deborah Ball, Activity Coordinator at Bupa’s Braid Hills care home in Edinburgh, is entitled to take Christmas day as a public holiday, but instead chooses to work so that residents who are unable to eat or drink do not feel isolated from the celebrations.
Nearly half of those living in the Young Physically Disabled unit at the home are nil by mouth (unable to orally consume food or liquid) and receive their nutrition via a PEG – a tube that allows nutrition, fluids or medication to be put directly into the stomach. However, being tube fed does not mean that the residents have lost their desire for food or drink and Christmas can therefore be a particularly distressing time.
As they are unable to enjoy a traditional dinner, Deborah instead hosts a separate Christmas-themed party for the eight residents, chock full of entertainment including music and festive film-showings.
Deborah said: “Just because many of the residents in the unit are nil by mouth, this doesn’t mean that they don’t have the same food cravings as we do, and being near and smelling food – especially Christmas dinner – can be very upsetting for them.
“This time of year can be very difficult for many people and the last thing we want is for these residents to feel left out because they aren’t able to share the festive feast with the others. Having the alternative party means that they can still enjoy the day.”
Pauline Ritchie, Administrator at Bupa’s Braid Hills care home, said: “In the weeks running up to Christmas, there is always much talk within the home of what dinner and drinks we will have on the day and a general festive atmosphere.
“Thanks to Deborah, these residents in Kingsknowe Unit had a fantastic time at her alternative Christmas party last year and we are looking forward to making their day special again this year.
“Deborah always goes above and beyond the call of duty and the fact that she is passing up her own day with her family to make sure that our residents enjoy theirs is incredibly admirable and we are all very thankful to her for her continuous commitment.”