What happens in a typical day at Ivy House?

No two days are ever the same at Ivy House. There is no set routine as the house is set up to resemble family life as closely as possible. We understand that the condition of each person attending is different, as is their character and personality.

Anyone spending time at Ivy House has the opportunity to shape their experience and we offer many varied activities to suit each individual and their interests and hobbies.

What activities do you offer in your sessions?

Activities may involve the preparation and cooking of meals, helping in the garden or walking the local area. With an emphasis on fun, visitors can enjoy darts, pool, painting, dancing, woodwork or pottery and much more! A session could involve a lively game of scrabble or a sing-along around the piano, but the days are always client-led.

For a really good idea of what goes on, visit our Facebook page!

Alongside the organised activities, our staff or ‘companions’ as they are known’ engage our visitors in conversation and focus closely on redeveloping many of their lost skills. All this happens within the framework of a care plan specifically developed for the needs and desires of the individual.

Are you a residential home?

We are a daycare centre rather than residential. Clients come to us from care homes or from their own homes. We provide care and recreation for those who cannot be fully independent.

How does Ivy House differ from other day centres?

Ivy house delivers a unique product, which is widely different from what is available elsewhere. We pride ourselves on creating a home-from-home environment for all visitors and their families alike. Our carers are called ‘companions’. No-one wears a uniform, and everyone is seen as equal.

The house produces improvements in well-being and enhances the quality of life of the individual as well as his or her carer. In many cases, this means that home life can be continued for much longer than would otherwise be the case.

What qualifications do your staff have?

Founder of Ivy House, Jane Lowe is a qualified psychiatric nurse with an MA in Neurological Disorder and Behaviour Patterns and has more than 20 years’ experience working in the field of dementia care. She has built a great reputation across the UK as an expert in this field.

Our staff or ‘companions’ are handpicked by the senior leadership team. In the absence of any formal external certification in this field, Jane set up a framework for training our companions at Ivy House. To obtain “The Ivy House Certificate of Care’, staff must undergo three months of training and meet very strict performance criteria. They must be awarded the certificate before they can begin working unsupervised with clients. We take this part of the training process very seriously, and a great emphasis is put on the care element of the role.

Staff members are also encouraged to gain NVQs in Food & Hygiene and First Aid, and all our staff are fully DBS cleared.

What are your client to staff ratios?

Ivy House prides itself on maintaining a client to staff ratio of 5:1. We have found that increasing the time a carer spends with each client helps to drive significant improvements in cognitive behaviour and can delay the onset of the more severe symptoms of dementia.

What is cognitive therapy and why do people with dementia benefit?

In very simple terms there are two main functions in the brain. The first is the ‘executive’ function – this is the brain’s message sending function. The second is the ‘cognitive’ function – the action. If the cognitive function isn’t working properly, the executive function will not understand the message and therefore will not perform the action.

During our sessions at Ivy House, our therapy involves re-training the brain in skills that it has forgotten so that the cognitive can talk to the executive and a connection is re-established. This can be through making a cup of tea and then remembering to drink it or remembering where the toilet is and knowing how to use it. It could be putting glasses on to read the paper, or reminding each other of the day, the date and the month of the year. It could be re-learning to write, to spell, to knit – there is no end to the simple activities that can be put in place to build awareness and self-confidence.

Do you have individual care plans?

Yes. We see the person and not the dementia. We ensure that the tasks and activities we offer are at the right level for each of our clients – for early onset or more advanced stages – and that these tasks are fully supported. We develop a bespoke care plan which is reviewed ahead of each visit and after each departure, recording any weakness or vulnerability but also noting any key achievements we can share with family members.

Do you cater for early onset of dementia?

We offer two products at Ivy House; My Ivy for those in with advanced dementia, and Ivy Club which caters for those with early onset. Each one targets different stages of dementia and this is reflected in activities undertaken and the time allowed. Please contact us for more details.

How do I know if Ivy House is the right choice for us?

We understand that choosing the right care can be a tough decision. We encourage you to come and have a look around and let Ivy House speak for itself. If you like it you can book a free trial, which is typically four hours. A senior companion will be on hand to answer any questions and address any concerns you may have. You will also have the opportunity to meet with our specialist care team and discuss your particular needs.

How do you support carers and the families of those with dementia?

We recognise that carers and family members need support too. We understand how demanding a caring role can be and offer wrap around support that will allow you to take a break or even take a long overdue holiday. Our respite care covers morning and evening sessions as well as and overnight stays. We can pick up your daily routine where you left off without taking your loved ones away from their safe and familiar home environment.

Please call one of the team who can discuss your needs and let you know the costs for your particular type of care.

What are your hours and how long is each session?

We are open from 9.30am – 5pm from Monday to Saturday and 11am – 3pm on a Saturday every week. You can attend a full day, 9.30am – 5pm, or a shorter day of four hours – you pick the starting time which we call a ‘mid-session’. Both include refreshments and lunch.

How many sessions should I be doing each week?

This depends very much on the individual. We work with our clients and their families to arrive at absolutely the right level of care. We recommend starting with two four hour sessions and we can build from there. We find that quite quickly, people want to spend more time with us, and many attend five full days every week.

Can I do different timed sessions each week?

Yes, we can generally arrange care around your specific requirements

What is a Family Forum?

The well-being of those who attend our therapy sessions is of the utmost importance to us. After around 3 months, you and your family members are invited to a meeting at Ivy House where you will learn more about the progress your loved ones are making. You’ll be welcomed into Ivy House by our staff, and given the opportunity to review the current care plan, to ask questions, and to talk through any concerns you may have. There is no extra charge for these sessions.

What events do you run at Ivy House?

We love a social at Ivy House and run regular events for those with dementia and their families and carers. We host weekly ‘Sing and Swing’ group singing sessions, a monthly social supper club at the house, regular support groups and our latest venture is a ‘Dementia Café’ drop in at the local Costa Coffee providing support and signposting for families. For up to date details of our events calendar, visit our website events.

Do you provide respite care?

Yes. In these circumstances, we recommend full-time day care at Ivy House for the period of respite. In addition, we will help you to arrange care for the out of hours period (and over-night if necessary), from qualified and experienced professionals who can provide care in the comfort and familiarity of your loved one’s own home.

What are the advantages of the respite care you provide in comparison to traditional nursing homes?

Many care homes are unable to provide the quality of specialist daytime care offered at Ivy House. The type of respite care we provide can work out significantly cheaper than full-time residential alternatives.

We understand that periods of respite away from home can result in setbacks in well-being. Our approach ensures that the person with dementia remains in a safe and familiar environment and does not have to undergo disruptive changes.

Do you provide transport to and from Ivy House?

No, we don’t, but we use reliable private car company and can help you arrange transfers with them.

Ivy House seems a perfect choice. How to I sign up?

Fantastic news! You can call us on 01323 431 801, or contact us and request a welcome pack. Come and visit – we’d love to show you around.

How much are the sessions?

All our sessions are priced according to products and timings. Please call us and we can discuss fees for the services you require.

I am not sure we can afford the sessions, can you help?

You may be eligible for funding from East Sussex County Council. We can help you enquire.