When the team at Rowan House needed to upgrade their call bell system, they applied to Eastern & Central Community Trust (ECCT) for funding to help make it happen.
Rowan House is a unique residential service based in Taradale, provided by Presbyterian Support East Coast (PSEC). Designed for people aged between 16 and 65 living with a physical disability, and with complex needs requiring a high level of medical care, it enables 22 residents to live in a quality flatting situation in a cluster of buildings, including three houses and two cottages.
The buildings are accessible and designed to meet the mobility needs of the residents. The residents call themselves “flatters” and each has their own room, with a shared social and dining space – much like any flat.
It has a skilled staff available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing support to the flatters, and enabling them to complete the tasks of everyday life, and build a future. The multi-disciplinary support team includes an onsite registered nurse and access to the DHB’s specialist services, including district nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, and a visiting podiatrist.
The aim of Rowan House is to create and foster an atmosphere that encourages adult choice, responsibility and self-determination. Staff encouraging flatters to live independently and do as much as they can for themselves. These living spaces are the flatters’ homes, and the staff work in partnership with the flatters to help support their extraordinary lives.
One of the key systems needed at Rowan House was an upgraded call bell system. Instead of having just one bell for all situations, flatters needed a way to let staff know when an emergency response was needed.
With funding from ECCT, they were able to upgrade the call bell system to one that has a two-level process with a simple pendant call button for more general assistance, and an emergency button for when urgent medical situations arise. The system was installed beside each of the beds, in the shower room and toilet facilities in the main house. When pressed, the system sends an alert to pagers carried by staff, and they can react accordingly. The upgrade helps both flatters and staff, by increasing health and safety, giving flatters peace of mind, and ensuring the right level of support can be provided.
The underlying philosophy that Rowan House operates under, of empowerment and partnership with its flatters, means that it has a growing waiting list, and a low turnover of rooms.
“The demand for this type of accommodation is huge – we could build another Rowan House tomorrow, with the right site and funding. At the moment there are at least 30 young people across Hawke’s Bay living in aged care rest homes because there’s no alternative place for them to live,” says Enliven Disability Services Manager Andrew Wordsworth.
“We firmly believe that all disabled people should be able to pursue their dreams, and gain meaningful employment that aligns with their dreams and choices.”