An Anglesey nursing home celebrating its 25th anniversary has been hailed as an important employer on the island.
The praise came during a special party to mark the silver anniversary of the Glan Rhos home on the outskirts of Brynsiencyn, near Llanfair PG.
The home was founded in November 1989 by the late Eirlys Ombler, who gave up her job as the Director of Nursing in Anglesey, and her Yorkshire-born husband, Don, a builder, who passed away two years ago.
The home is still very much a family affair as it is run by their daughters, Kim, the manager, and her sister, Helen, who takes care of the admin, while their brother, Dave, who followed in his father’s footsteps into the building trade looks after the fabric of the building.
What was originally the family farm looking across the Menai Strait towards spectacular views of Snowdonia has been extended several times and is now home to 52 residents, many of them with serious and complex nursing needs.
The home also specialises in palliative and respite care and – with a workforce of 68 people – Glan Rhos is now one of the biggest employers in the area.
Kim is also a leading figure in Care Forum Wales, the organisation that represents around 500 independent social care providers and is dedicated to driving up standards in the sector.
She said: “We’re all like a family really. Everybody knows each other and the people who come have been recommended by relatives who’ve had people here before so it’s word of mouth.
“Things have changed a lot though since the home was started. There’s a difference in the patients coming in to what they were 25 years ago.
“We do a lot of terminal care or palliative care and it’s something we’re well known for.
“I lost both my parents to cancer and it was something my mum instilled in me. She liked palliative care as well so it’s something that I enjoy doing
“I believe passionately that everybody needs and has the right to dignity, respect and care at the end of their days.
“There is also great need for respite care in the area and we’re the only home in the area that does provide this service.”
There was a special presentation to care assistant Wendy Mullen, from Llanfair PG, who has been working at Glan Rhos for 25 years.
Wendy said: “I do like it here and the management are fantastic. We all get on and we have respect for the patients and make them comfortable and everything and make sure that they’re well cared for. It is dignity and respect. They’re our priority.”
Among those enjoying the festivities was resident Brian Rowlands, 73, a retired factory setter from Brynsiencyn, who moved to Glan Rhos four months ago.
He said: “It’s an exceptionally good place – I can only praise them very highly. It’s exceptionally good. The staff are very special, very kind and the food is also very good.”
Mary Wimbury, the Senior Policy Advisor at Care Forum Wales, also joined in the festivities.
She said: “It’s a lovely event bringing in people from the local community to celebrate 25 years of a valuable community asset.
“More and more we’re seeing people living longer but towards the end of their lives needing to spend their time with a great deal of nursing support and this is what Glan Rhos provides in a great atmosphere – it’s a really homely, friendly and supportive place.
“Glan Rhos is a real family enterprise and you can see their enthusiasm for what they do and their pride in the quality of what they provide absolutely shines through.
“From our point of view, Glan Rhos is a brilliant example of a local, family-run home, exactly what Wales does very well what we need to keep caring for people. They are a shining example to the rest of Wales.”
It was a sentiment echoed by Mario Kreft, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, who attended with his wife, Gill.
He added: “We’re very pleased to be here because Glan Rhos actually epitomises a most valuable community resource and Care Forum Wales is trying to do all it can to support quality establishments that provide these very important community services to those with complex needs
“One thing people forget is the economic importance of homes like this. They employ 68 people who then go and spend their money in the local community keeping other people in jobs as well.
“Place like Glan Rhos are also community resources that enable people to remain economically active in the community.
“I’ve met a number of people today visiting their relatives who are still holding down jobs and so forth and if they had to support their relatives on a 24/7 basis, that would not always be possible.
“We have to look at this in the round and social care in Wales in general and Glan Rhos in particular are hugely important economically to the communities they serve.”