23 Aug

Royal British Legion Care home invests in wellbeing facilities for residents

By Laura Childs 23rd Aug, 2023 Care Provider Leisure Rehabilitation

Residents at a Royal British Legion care home in Kent are set to benefit from an exciting initiative designed to enhance their independence and improve their quality of life.

Maurice House, which is run by the Royal British Legion for veterans of the Armed Forces and their dependents and carers, has introduced specialist power-assisted exercise equipment from UK manufacturer, Innerva. The investment aims to keep residents physically and mentally stimulated, promoting their overall wellbeing.

Located near the coastal town of Broadstairs, Maurice House has 77 residents, who range in age from 64 to 102. Maurice House boasts a vibrant wellbeing programme that operates seven days a week, offering a wide range of activities from garden walks and yoga to creative pursuits such as flower arranging, trips out and singing groups. The residents also enjoy the company of children from the local nursery every week.

Manager at the Royal British Legion care home, Tracy Tremble, spearheaded the launch of the new exercise suite after discovering the Innerva equipment at a care conference. The innovative nature of the equipment means residents do not have to rely solely on their muscles to complete the exercises; instead, they can adjust the level of assistance according to their fitness and strength. The result is an accessible and safe exercise environment for residents of varying abilities.

Tracy, commented: “The overall focus of Maurice House is to prioritise the happiness and social wellbeing of our residents, as we recognise its immeasurable value.” Recognising the benefits of low-impact exercise for residents’ mobility and rehabilitation, especially for those recovering from strokes, the team was eager to provide an accessible and low-risk physical activity solution. RBL Resident occupational therapist, Donna Malone, and the care home’s wellbeing team aim to provide up to three exercise sessions per day for small groups. Initially supervised, the sessions will gradually become independent as residents become more mobile and comfortable with the equipment.

The team also plan to develop personalised exercise programmes for residents to suit their unique needs.

Funding for the power-assisted equipment was made possible through internal resources, including legacies and generous donations from individuals within the home and their families.

Innerva equipment has undergone rigorous academic testing against the five elements of healthy ageing: aerobic fitness, muscular strength, balance, flexibility and social wellbeing. The equipment is particularly well-suited for older adults, individuals with long-term conditions and those who may feel intimidated by traditional gym environments.

The Royal British Legion has six care homes across England, and this is the second RBL home and the third veteran’s care home in the UK to install to Innerva’s power-assisted equipment.

The positive experiences of Maurice House and the other care homes align with research conducted by the University of Stirling. Published in 2022, the researchers found that when supported, care home residents were willing to engage with exercise if it improved their health and wellbeing and enhanced opportunities for meaningful interactions with others. Following these findings, the researchers  have called for physical activity to be embedded into the culture of care homes across the UK.

David Heathcote, Head of Business Development at Innerva, said: “Physical activity has significant health and wellbeing benefits for people living in care homes, including those with dementia, so it's inspiring to see how Maurice House is using power-assisted equipment to make exercise easier and more accessible for residents as well as their staff to enhance their quality of life.”

Maurice House is considering extending the use of the Innerva equipment to relatives of residents to help foster a sense of inclusivity and engagement.