Sanna has been Dementia Nurse Manager at the Surbiton Home since 2013. With her instinctive ability to connect with residents living with dementia, she is an inspiration to the team and a true friend to the residents. Here, Sanna describes how she feels about the role.
I have always loved being with and supporting elderly people. I trained as a practical nurse specialist in mental health in Finland before coming to the UK. I always felt that I looked after residents well but when I saw the advert for this Star & Garter role and read more about the innovative, feeling-based dementia care model, it made me really feel that this how dementia care should be.
I love my work because it isn’t work for me, it’s coming to see your family members every morning. Special moments brighten the day, such as when a resident sees you, gives a smile and comes forward to take your hand to kiss, just because we are friends and we care. I try to ensure that all the residents are looked after and supported with respect and their interests are taken into consideration.
It’s important to have a good relationship with the residents’ families and to understand how the Home can provide a new and positive chapter in a person’s life. We organise the reach-out café to give relatives the opportunity to share their experiences and feelings. It makes me happy to email the families with photos taken when their loved one has enjoyed an activity. I hope I make a difference by being there for residents and giving time to listen and understand what they need. I want to support residents to live well with dementia: to encourage them to do those daily tasks that they used to do at home and to be there for those people who served and went through the times that we wish will never happen again. It’s wonderful to have a Team who love being there for residents. I am honoured to look after someone’s loved one. To work at The Royal Star & Garter Homes is a privilege.