A care organisation has unveiled a major refurbishment at one if its homes as part of a £1 million improvement programme.
The work carried out by Pendine Park at the 44-bed Cae Bryn care home at their main site in Summerhill Road, in Wrexham, was praised by local AM Lesley Griffiths during a visit.
The upgrades include a new stand-alone kitchen and laundry complex which cost £500,000.
It was Wrexham’s first purpose-built nursing home when it was officially opened by the late Duke of Westminster in 1990 and it made history when it became the first UK care home to receive the BS5750 quality mark which it still holds.
According to Ms Griffiths, who is also the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, it was wonderful to see the continued investment being made by Pendine Park who now employ more than 700 people at their eight care homes in Wrexham and Caernarfon.
She said: “It’s clear, since Cae Bryn opened nearly 27 years ago, Pendine Park, under Mario and Gill Kreft’s continued guidance that no one has sat on their laurels.
“Pendine Park always embrace best practice and a programme of sustained development and improvement is in place and always being updated to ensure the best care possible is available to residents and their relatives.”
She added: “I really like the warm soothing colours that have been used to make Cae Bryn so homely and welcoming. All the work done seems to have been undertaken sympathetically and with the residents in mind.”
Pendine Park proprietor Mario Kreft MBE said: “Back in the 1990s people told me you couldn’t put systems into a care environment to improve the quality of life but we showed you could.
“We are proud of what we have achieved at Cae Bryn and we are making a big investment to continually improve our care home facilities.
“We are working to establish a number of new suites on a wing which will include part of Cae Bryn. There will be nothing like it in any care home in North East Wales.
“Each new suite will have a wet room designed for disabled residents and bigger living space aimed at residents who want that extra room. Basically it will mean residents will have their own living area within their own room, similar, if you like, to a hotel suite.”
He added: “What we are doing is part of an on-going programme of works that has never stopped since Cae Bryn was on the drawing board way back in 1989.
“The design of Cae Bryn was ahead of its time and has served us well. We have seen a programme of continued improvement. It really is a bit like painting the Forth Road Bridge, the work never stops.
“It’s about managing future expectations and providing residents and their families with what they want. We have spent £300,000 on refurbishing Cae Bryn.
“Once the new suites have been completed we will have invested well over £350,000 in addition to the £500,000 spent on the new kitchens and laundry as well as carrying out improvements to our two homes on the other side of Wrexham.
“It really is a huge investment. And we won’t be stopping there. We want to ensure we are in a position to offer the very best dementia care in the right environment.”
Artist-in-residence Sarah Edwards came up with Cae Bryn’s new interior design and says all the work was done specifically with the needs of people with dementia in mind.
“The work was informed by what we have done at our new centre of excellence, Bryn Seiont Newydd, in Caernarfon which was last year judged to be the best new care home in the UK in the prestigious Pinders award run by Stirling University.
She said: “For example, the themed art work on corridor walls is designed to act as a memory trigger and offer a talking point for residents. And each bedroom has a memory box just outside the door.
“The memory boxes contain items that relate to something special from the resident’s past. It may be a wedding cake topper, a poem or song lyrics, a photograph, anything really.
“We have refurbished not just what can be seen but also what can’t be seen such as the electrical wiring, radiators, flooring and installed an integrated music system.”
She added: “I really enjoy interior design and want to provide residents with a homely, welcoming and pleasurable place to live and welcome their families and relatives.
“I incorporated a colour scheme that was uplifting and welcoming. And I’m pleased with the response I have had from residents, their families and staff.”
Cae Bryn manager Jennie Cranshaw was really pleased and said: “The work has been challenging as we have to remember that, so far as our residents are concerned, this is their home and while we wanted to get the work done we needed to respect their needs and complete the work with as little disruption as possible.
“However, we are blessed with very supportive relatives and family members, some of whom visit on a daily basis. They have shown real understanding and have given us so much support. I think they can see and appreciate what we are trying to achieve.”