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A MIDDLESBROUGH care home has marked the official opening of its new state-of-the-art dementia care block by planting a memorial to a Teesside war hero.

Owned by the Prestige Group, Parkville Care Centre has spent more than £300,000 installing its brand new Auguste Community dementia care facilities in previously unused space at its Walpole Street base.

It features 37 beds over two floors, and 26 new staff have been recruited to provide nursing care for people living with dementia and related conditions.

And the central Middlesbrough care centre invited along the family of Tom Dresser – winner of a Victoria Cross for bravery in World War I – to help celebrate as it opened its doors for the first time.

Tom’s son Tom Jr and his grandson Brian were among the 100-plus guests who attended the ribbon-cutting event, and joined Prestige Group chairman Raj Singh in planting an eight-foot oak tree and Victoria Cross-shaped plaque in Mr Dresser’s memory.

“We like to celebrate the very best of Teesside and pride ourselves in providing the very best care in the area,” said Paul Smith, the Prestige Group’s director of care developments. “So it was an honour to have Tom Dresser’s family along on our opening day.

“We have put together a facility for people living with dementia, their families and the community that we are proud of.”

Parkville’s Auguste Community is partly named after Auguste Deter, a German woman who was the first person to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1901.

“The name is about remembering Frau Deter as a person and placing an emphasis on the word community,” said Smith, who has been a qualified nurse for 37 years.

“We have built a shared space and prosthetic environment where those living with a dementia can enjoy a good, enhanced quality of life under expert care and supervision, not just live long years.”

Ultra-modern features include a Tovertafel ‘magic’ games table designed to stimulate patients, Snoezelen multi-sensory equipment and Sentes baths which recline, massage and stimulate with light and sound.

The interior is colour-coded, based around the primary colours of red, blue and yellow and mixtures of them, and is designed to reduce the risk of falls and confusion, as those living with dementia can struggle with depth perception, orientation and wayfinding.

Palliative caring is the focus on the first floor, with intentional use of integrated technology, and across all floors there are multiple lounge areas with large-screen TVs and music centres, plus specifically-designed dining and repose rooms.

The ground floor offers a bistro and two secure dementia-friendly gardens, plus a children’s play area.

The Auguste Community follows VIPS person-centred standards for people living with dementia, while its two new chefs follow Caroline Walker Trust dietary guidelines.

The new staff intake also includes seven nurses, 15 carers and two activity co-ordinators, and there is a link-up with two local schools and a partnership with the Oomph activities charity.

“We set out to achieve a triangle of convergence where patients, staff and family are all equally important,” Smith added.

“Not only are we providing top quality care, we want families to enjoy visiting and industry professionals to think dementia care is where it’s at.”

There are 860,000 people suffering with dementia in the UK, and that number is predicted to rise by 147% to two million by 2035, according to Alzheimer’s Society figures.

Smith added: “It’s vital that we provide the best leadership and the most inclusive, personalised care possible.”

The Prestige Group began in 1982 and now has a multi-million-pound turnover and more than 200 staff working in its four business sectors – care homes, housing development, construction and property development.

Parkville Care Centre is one of Prestige’s four care centres on Teesside.

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