Switzer bus is revving up

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ALL ABOARD: Nurse manager Jenny Kitchen (left) and Lyn MacDonald (reception), with the bus Lyn and husband Mark commissioned as a symbol of Switzer Residential Care's Eden Alternative journey.
ALL ABOARD: Nurse manager Jenny Kitchen (left) and Lyn MacDonald (reception), with the bus Lyn and husband Mark commissioned as a symbol of Switzer Residential Care's Eden Alternative journey.

There's a little way to go yet, but Kaitaia rest home Switzer Residential Care is well on the way to becoming fully compliant with the Eden Alternative.

Eden is a philosophy that broadly involves giving residents a home that feels as much like a 'real' home as possible.

That means involving them in the day to day running of the home, even if it's just watering pot plants, setting tables or feeding a cat - a hand in making it genuinely homely, as opposed to an institution.

The home has been assessed by two representatives of Eden in Oz and NZ, one from Australia and one from Auckland, who spent a full day looking over the home, talking to management, staff and residents, satisfying themselves that everyone had adopted five of the 10 founding principles.

The process was officially launched at Switzer last year, but only began in earnest in January, general manager Jackie Simkins said. She was tickled pink that the home had passed with flying colours.

"I'm really proud of the staff and residents," she said. "The assessors really took their time and looked at everything. They had lunch with the residents and talked to them, and they met (trustee) Eric Shackleton, just to make sure that the board was supporting it too."

The rest of this year would be spent consolidating what had been achieved so far, and Mrs Simkins was hoping that the remaining five principles would be in place mid-way through next year.

"This is something we can do, and are working very hard to do, to make a real difference in the lives of the residents," she added.

"And we were not alone. Our volunteers have been most helpful in the implementation of the five principles that we have achieved thus far. In fact that achievement would not have been possible without them.

"Brian Atkins, our volunteer co-ordinator, and many of the volunteers were at Switzer on the day of our Eden community visit, some with the animals they bring to visit the residents, some in the gardens and some helping around the home in different areas.

"It is a really great achievement for us all, and one of which a lot of people can and should be proud."

- Northland Age

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