BEN – Motor and Allied Trades Benevolent Fund

BEN is the UK’s dedicated charity for those who work, or have worked, in the automotive and related industries, as well as their dependents. BEN exists to provide care, support and advice to those in our industries who need our help in times of hardship or distress. We provide a wide range of support. This could mean helping with the cost of specialist disabled equipment, giving emotional support through an illness or funding a respite break. This is all done through our nationwide welfare service. We also have four residential centres around the country, offering a wide range of services from nursing to end of life care. In addition, BEN owns and runs the UK’s first workplace day care centre, based in Coventry. Each of our centres provides high quality care so that we can continue to look after older people in our communities.

24 March 2016
Voluntary Sector, Care, Charity

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

BEN’s Dementia Mission Statement is: ‘To support people living with dementia to lead a fulfilled life through:

Valuing the uniqueness and feelings of each individual, and supporting their independence and relationships.Creating a safe, comfortable, home from home where fun and laughter go hand in handDedicated staff teams with a deep understanding of dementia.’

From this you can see that BEN’s residents are at the heart of our care. We get to know their individual wants, needs and preferences as best we can and give them choice and control over their day-to-day activities and their care. Also, through knowing our residents we are able to provide meaningful activities for each of them, improving their quality of life.

We recognise the importance of supporting our residents to maintain their social relationships, and provide opportunities for them to engage with the local community, while making our centres a ‘home from home’ where they feel comfortable, included and valued. We also have open visiting hours, providing more opportunities for family and friends to visit.

Furthermore, we are committed to improving our staff’s understanding of dementia. We provide dementia awareness training at all of our centres and across the organisation.

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

Although we provide extensive dementia awareness training to our staff, we find they do not always embrace the opportunity to put this learning into practice. It is alright to provide the knowledge, but we want to change our staff’s understanding and perception of dementia. More importantly, we want them to adapt their skills and see the person living with dementia before they see the task.

Secondly, it is sometimes difficult to provide truly person-centred care, giving our residents full choice and control, within the limitations of our current resources and environment.

Finally, it is sometimes difficult for relatives and friends of people living with dementia to adapt their behaviours and attitudes in order to better support their friend/loved one.

We will continue our work to overcome these challenges and continue to educate our staff, so that they can better provide excellent care for people with dementia.

2. Actions

  • Improving our care environments so that they are better suited for people with dementia

    All of our centres are working towards being truly dementia-friendly environments. We are constantly working to improve signage in the centres to help residents manoeuvre around the home more independently.

    At one of our centres – Lynwood, based in Sunninghill (Ascot), we are currently having a new care village built to replace the current care home, which is no longer fit for purpose. The Lynwood Village is being purpose built for people with dementia, and will provide bespoke, stage-specific care for our residents with dementia. In our planning for the build we worked with Gemma Jones, a leading dementia consultant, to ensure the selection of appropriate décor, colour schemes, and layout to make this environment dementia-friendly. Residents on all floors will have access to enclosed gardens/outside space, a restaurant, hairdressers, a shop and physiotherapy. Our aim is to build a community where everyone understands dementia and our residents can experience activities of everyday life while staying with us.

    At another of our centres, Birch Hill (based in Northumberland) we have just finished a project named ‘Secret Garden’. We turned the concrete courtyard in the centre of the home in to a fun, safe and secure garden for our residents with dementia, so they can enjoy the outdoors and the garden whenever they like.


    2015 - Fourth Quarter Update

    Since our last update we have moved in to our new care centre in Sunninghill - Lynwood. We successfully moved all 80 residents from the old building in to our new purpose-built dementia friendly home and we are finally beginning to settle. 

    We were most worried about re-locating our residents with dementia as we thought the move would be disorientating for them. However, they are the residents who settled best! We have had many positive outcomes with our residents who have dementia due to now having an environment that supports their independence.

    The care centre is split into houses of no more than 15 residents, giving each area a homely feel. This also allows for staging of residents according to what point in their dementia they are - and allows activities to be provided at the right cognitive level and right ability level for residents in each house. 

    We have also observed continence levels improving in our new setting due to toilet doors being brighter yellow, easier to locate. Residents also have ensuite shower rooms, with toilets that are visible from the bed and sensor light that activates when resident moves in their room - Residents thus find it easier to locate toilet during the night and are more able to do so independently.

    Also, signage throughout the whole centre is clear, with pictures and words and can be used by residents to navigate around our vast building.

    All residents have access to outdoor space with secure gardens which they can access independently without care staff worrying that they will get lost or come to harm. Residents on the 1st floor also have access to roof gardens which are secure and sensory - bright coloured, edible plants that smell nice.

    Furthermore, residents no longer have to go in search of staff who may be doing paperwork in the office. Carers stations are open-plan and integral to the main communal area so residents can find them at all times. 

    Another of our care centres Birch Hill will be changing their signage in line with that at Lynwood to assist with resident orientation around their centre. They have also worked to improve access to activities of daily living at Birch Hill and installed a washing line outside so the residents can hang up their washing should they wish to be kept busy and involved with day-to-day tasks. 

    2014 - Fourth Quarter Update

    Unfortunately, our move in to our new dementia specialist care village at Lynwood has been delayed, but we still hope to move early 2015. In the meantime we have done our best to make our current building as dementia-friendly as possible without strutural changes.

    Our other care centres that house people with dementia are also very dementia-friendly by now, with appropriate signage and way-finding cues in place.

    BEN is committed to making changes as and when a problem is highlighted by a specific resident, for example, we changed the carpet in one of units as the previous blue carpet was encouraging a resident to think the room was flooding (he had lived through terrible floods in Windsor and this was not a good experience for him to relive).

    2014 - Second Quarter Update

    Our new development at Lynwood is still planning to open in October - it is amazing to see the building go up so quickly around us! Now that all the staff are aware of their new roles, we are hoping to have the employees in each dementia house 'fit out' the house to make it more homely and 'liveable' - this will be done by adding those homely touches, such as photographs on the mantelpieces and whirligigs in the gardens.

    We have continued to improve our current care centre so that it's environment is more dementia-friendly. We have decked the halls with reminiscence images in our dementia unit, which the residents love looking at. Each resident has now filled their memory boxes and some of the residents do use these to identify their own room. Signage has all been changed so that toilet signs are both pictorial and worded. Orientation boards and clocks have also been added to all units to help with time orientation. The aim is that a large face clock will be visible to a resident, wherever they are within the centre.

    At our other centres work continues to make the care environments more suitable for people with dementia. At Town Thorns (just outside Rugby), they have recently done up the old shed in the secure garden and have made it in to a "coffee shop/bar" for the summer months, giving the residents somewhere safe and fun to sit outdoors.

    2014 - First Quarter Update

    Our new development at Lynwood is well underway and we are still hoping to open in October 2014. A number of planning meetings are being held by the Project Team to ensure that the internal environment of our new Care Centre is Dementia Friendly. For example, considered use of colour contrast will ensure our new build is understandable to our residents with dementia, as will other design features, including careful selection of artwork to facilitate reminisicence and act as orientation cues.

    In the meantime, before we open the new centre in October, Lynwood has received a grant from the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead to specifically improve our care environment for people with dementia. We are thus making changes to our existing care centre to improve it for our residents living with dementia, which has included buying memory boxes for each resident to fill with meaningful objects/pictures to them, and all new picture and word signage for toilets and communal rooms.

    At our other centres we are continously making changes to resident's physical environments to make them more 'dementia friendly'. At Town Thorns, in Rugby, we recently had volunteers in to paint the bathroom on our secure dementia unit, so that it looks like a beach scene, with a lighthouse and sand. Residents were involved in the painting and like having a bath more, since the conversion of the once dreary, windowless bathroom in to a less scary, happy seasideesque room.

    2013 - Fourth Quarter Update

    New member

  • Improve and enhance communication and relationships between our care centres and residents’ family and friends

    We try to support our residents’ families as much as possible, keeping them informed on key aspects of their loved one’s care, and through having open visiting times and an ‘open door’ policy in the office, we hope to encourage them to visit and seek help and advice whenever necessary.

    However, we feel that we don’t currently do enough to support the families of our residents, and want to improve communication between them and the centres. We also want to help families come to terms with their relative’s dementia, and share our understanding of dementia with them.

    BEN has recently set up a Dementia Working Party, with members from all of its centres, to improve key aspects of our care for people with dementia. One aim of the working party is to create an information brochure for residents’ families, sharing our knowledge and understanding of dementia with them, and explaining some of our physical environment changes to them (e.g. use of bright yellow for all toilet doors). We hope this brochure will help families understand what their relative is going through and answer some of their questions, from day one.

    In the new ‘Lynwood Care Village’ we also plan to start running an ‘Alzheimer’s café’, which residents and their families and friends can attend to get more information about dementia and share their experiences with other families going through the same things as them.


    2015 - Fourth Quarter Update

    Our brochure to assist carers of people with dementia to better understand dementia and associated behaviours, difficulties and emotions has been printed and is now in circulation. The brochure also outlines coping strategies for carers, how to get the most out of their visits and provides them with appropriate answers to the difficult questions e.g. what do I say when they ask to go home? The brochure has been well received, helping family carers to get the information they need to support them emotionally and help them know how to cope and support their relative with dementia. 

    At Lynwood we have also opened the Ascot and Bracknell Area Alzheimer's cafe held on the second Wednesday of every month. The cafe is open to all people who are interested in dementia, have dementia or care for someone with dementia from our local area and is a free event. At each cafe there is a social element - meeting people in the same boat as you, as well as an educational element with a guest speaker/professional addressing a different theme each month. The cafe has been very successful since it has opened in September and has encouraged people to go to their GP and get a proper diagnosis. The cafe has worked to reduce stigma associated with dementia in the local area. 

    At Birch Hill, our care centre in Northumberland, they continue to host a support group for families of their residents. 

    2014 - Fourth Quarter Update

    BEN is still developing their Dementia Awareness brochure for families and friends. All the content has been agreed - adressing all common concerns relatives and friends of people with dementia may have when they move in to a care centre. However, the artwork and production of the brochure is still pending. BEN hopes this brochure will be made available in 2015 when Lynwood move in to their new care centre.

    Members of staff from Lynwood are regularly attending the local Alzheimer's Cafe to learn how the cafe runs and prepare for their Alzheimer's Cafe opening in April 2015. Families and friends of our residents with dementia, as well as, the residents and other people from our community, will be invited to attend the cafe to share their experiences and learn about dementia.

    2014 - Third Quarter Update

    BEN's Dementia Working Party, which has representatives from all of BEN's 5 Care Centres, has now finalised the content for their 'Dementia Awareness' brochure. The content is now with BEN's marketing team so that they can develop a draft and we hope to be able to distribute this brochure by October 2014.

    One of our Care Centres - Birch Hill in Northumberland, is in the process of setting up a support group for resident's families and friends. All the residents at this centre have dementia.

    At Town Thorns, our care centre just outside Rugby, families and friends of people with dementia have been invited to attend 'Dementia Friends Information Sessions' at the centre to gain a better understanding and awareness of what their loved ones with dementia are going through.

    2014 - Second Quarter Update

    BEN's Dementia Working Party have met several times and are just finalising the content of our 'dementia awareness' brochure for families and friends of our residents who have dementia. We wanted to address all the key issues/questions families ask care professionals - such as "why do they ask for their mother who is dead?"

    Seven BEN employees attended 'How to host an Alzheimer's Cafe' training in April. At our Ascot care centre, Lynwood, we hope to open an Alzheimer's Cafe in 2015. In the meantime, 3 employees have been volunteering and learning the ropes at their local Alzheimer's Cafe. The Alzheimer's Cafe will be a social and educational cafe, where members of the public who are affected by dementia can come and share their experiences, meet people in the same situation and gain more information/education about dementia. Each Cafe has a different theme which is addressed by a speaker/visiting professsional. This is an exciting opportunity.

    2014 - First Quarter Update

    BEN's Dementia Working Party has met twice now to discuss the production of a 'Dementia Awareness' brochure for families and friends of our residents who have a dementia. The BEN marketing team has been involved and a draft of the brochure has now been constructed based on all the information the Dementia Working Party thought key to helping families understand what their loved ones are going through. The brochure will have sections on 'what is dementia?', 'memory changes in dementia', 'feelings and dementia', 'environmental adjustments for people with dementia', 'visiting strategies', 'FAQ's and useful resources. The Dementia Working party is meeting again in April 2014 to review the draft and finalise content, after which point the brochure can be put in to production and distributed.

    Three staff members from Lynwood Care Centre (Ascot) and three from Town Thorns (Rugby) are now enrolled on a 'How to host an Alzheimer's Cafe' training course in April. We are hoping to open two new Alzheimer's cafes in the near future, one at each of these sites. In preparation for attending this course, representatives from each of these centres have been attending local Alzheimer's Cafes to better understand how the cafes are run.

    2013 - Fourth Quarter Update

    New member

  • Support existing and developing new community links

    BEN recognises that it needs to do more to share our knowledge and understanding of dementia with our local communities. Although all our centres currently arrange regular outings for our residents within our local communities, we want to do more to educate our communities so that they can become more dementia friendly.

    We currently have a number of existing community links. For example, representatives from our Day Care Centre in Coventry recently attended a local Alzheimer’s Café to share their understanding of dementia and spread awareness of the centre. Also, our care centre in Rubgy – Town Thorns – has recently joined up with a local school to educate the students there about dementia. This programme had students from the school coming in to the centre as volunteers, spending the day with our residents, and enjoying activities. As part of this volunteer day, the students were provided with some background about BEN as an organisation, and were also given information about dementia, and how we care for our residents.

    Our other centres would like to engage with their local communities more and similar projects are already being planned as part of our commitment to the DAA. With the prospect of having an ‘Alzheimer’s café’ in the new Lynwood Village, community engagement will be increased, as people with dementia and their families, from outside of Lynwood, will be invited to attend the sessions.

    Furthermore, as the ‘automotive industry charity’, we have strong ties to the automotive industry and many of our sector organisations volunteer their staff to help us on various projects at all our centres throughout the year. We hope in the future, in return for the organisations’ services to us, we could provide these volunteers with basic ‘dementia awareness’ training, so that we are educating our sector to be more understanding of dementia.


    2015 - Fourth Quarter Update

    Unfortunately due to organisational change at present, including the move in to our new Head Office building and new care centre this May, we have put community engagement on hold until we are in a better position to support our communities.

    However, our Dementia Friends Champion continues to hold Dementia Friends Information Sessions in the local community, spreading awareness of dementia and reducing associated stigma.

    Lynwood has also opened the Ascot and Bracknell are Alzheimer's Cafe which has seen people with dementia and their carers from the local community come along to meet others in the same situation as them and learn more about dementia - gaining coping strategies and a deeper understanding of what their loved one is going through. 

    In our care centres, residents continue to go on outings in their local community. Recently at Lynwood a regular shopping trip to the local Marks & Spencers has been started and has been hugely successful with out residents. This outing allows residents with dementia continue to access their community, do their own clothes and food shopping and maintains their indepenence. However, it is also controlled e.g. staff are on hand to support them at tills when paying and when trying on clothes they wish to purchase, should they need assistance. 

    2014 - Third Quarter Update

    BEN as an organisation is doing its part to make the communities local to its centres more dementia aware. A BEN employee is now a trained 'Dementia Friends Champion' and has been holding information sessions to educate BEN employees at all levels about dementia. There was huge demand for these sessions, and so further sessions have been scheduled and opened up to the public and resident's families/friends. It is likely more sessions at BEN's various sites will be planned in the future, with the hope that all our local communities will become dementia friendly. This will allow our resident's to access the surrounding communities more easily.

    At our care centre outside Ascot, Lynwood, we have started a 'wish tree' on which we record special things residents would like to do. Our care and therapy team have then been organising these outings and helping the residents access the local community more. In the past these outings have included, taking a man who used to breed race horses to a local stable to visit with the horses, and in the future will include, taking a resident who loves gardens to see Kew Gardens - somewhere she has always hoped to visit.

    BEN is also making steps to educate our industries (automotive and related industries) about dementia. We are in the process of marketing our new stage-specific, purpose built dementia care centre, which we hope will open in October. As part of this we are creating presentations to help the industries understand why we need this new care centre and why it is being built stage-specific. This presentation also aims to help industry people understand the dementia-friendly design of the new building.

    2014 - First Quarter Update

    BEN as an organisation has been doing a lot of work recently to increase awareness of dementia amongst members of the communities local to our centres.

    At Lynwood's site in Ascot, as part of marketing the new care village development we are beginning to look in to the founding of a Local Dementia Action Alliance to get our local area (Sunninghill and Sunningdale) accredited as a dementia-friendly community. This idea came off the back of our care village being a dementia friendly community itself and BEN feels we can make a larger contribution by increasing the awareness of our wider community as well. The first step to meeting this goal has been for two senior staff at Lynwood to attend an Alzheimer's Society 'Dementia Champions' course. They are now able to run dementia information sessions, or ‘Dementia Friends’ sessions for the local public - aimed at increasing their awareness of dementia. The creation of more Dementia Friends is in line with the Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia, to increase public awareness of dementia across the UK.

    Further steps include changing the local physical environment - which will need involvement from other local businesses.

    2013 - Fourth Quarter Update

    New member

  • Get to know our residents better through the collection of life story information and the use of one-page profiles

    Another action of our dementia working party is to get all our centres collecting the life stories of our residents, so that staff can provide more meaningful activities for each individual resident. We hope that by being aware of our residents’ pasts, our staff will better value them as individuals. Life story information should also encourage our staff to communicate more with our residents who have dementia, as they will be more aware of topics that interest each resident. Information collected could also be used to run reminiscence activities with the residents and should make our care more person-centred.

    Two of our care centres already collect life story information from their residents, with input from family and friends. Our care centre in Southport – Alexandra House – is going to introduce life story work, using the format currently in use at the other centres. They are also going to create a ‘one-page profile’ with each of their residents who has dementia. This document will provide all the key information about that resident on one summary page, so that new staff, agency staff and visitors can find out the key information they need to know when caring for that resident. This, again, should improve person-centred care.


    2015 - Fourth Quarter Update

    The value of Life Story work and reminiscence has become ingrained in practice at BEN's care centres - now as part of admission we collect detailed information about a residents past, at some of our care centres making life story books for each resident, and using this information to inform care and to provide activities that are tailored to each individuals' interests. 

    2014 - Third Quarter Update

    BEN's centres are continuing to work with residents and their families to collect life story information and produce 'life story books'.

    All care staff have now received 'personalisation' training, helping them understand how they can tailor the care they provide to each individual resident. As a result of this training, one-page profiles have been created with/for all residents at all of our centres - highlighting the most important things about their care and about them.

    At Lynwood, in Ascot, residents in the dementia unit have now got memory boxes outside their doors, which they have personalised with meaningful photographs and objects to them. The residents use these boxes to help identify their own bedroom and the objects in the boxes can be great conversation starters.

    2014 - First Quarter Update

    All of BEN's centres are now collecting life story information from their residents and presenting this/using this information to improve the care of each individual in BEN. With the help of life story information we are able to tailor the care we provide to each resident's likes, dislikes and preferences.

    At Alexandra House, in Southport, our residents now have one-page profiles displayed in their rooms, giving everyone a snapshot about them, and how they liked to be cared for.

    At Town Thorns, in Rugby, we have used photos gathered from doing life story work with the residents on the dementia unit to create personalised place mats - helping residents find their space at the dining table, while sparking reminiscence and conversation over meals.

    At Lynwood, in Ascot, we have made outstanding progress in getting families involved in the creation of life story books for our residents with a dementia. Staff will be receiving 'Personalisation Training' as part of the next mandatory training cycle, and hopefully from this training will be better equipped to create one-page profiles for the residents here.

    2013 - Fourth Quarter Upate

    New member

  • Provision of Stage-specific meaningful activities for residents with dementia

    BEN care centres run a 4-stage behavioural model of dementia (Gemma Jones Behavioural Stages), which allows care to be tailored to a residents' abilities and cognitive level depending on where they are in their dementia. 

    Previously our care units were mixed with people with dementia of all stages which made provision of activities challenging for staff as some activities were cognitviely too difficult for some residents, while other activities were perceived too "babyish" by other residents. 

    By staging activities in our care centre we hope to improve engagement and participation in activities. One of our care centres - Birch Hill - is currently providing stage-specific activities, and have successfully developed an activities schedule which allows for different stage activities to occur simultaneously, ensuring all residents have the option of participating at any given time.

    Lynwood Care Centre now has the advantage of having staged care units, which makes it easier to organise a staged-activities programme. However, here we are still working on running all these activities simulatenously with the current level of activities staff. We are making changes to improve the provision of activities constantly, learning from what activities worked and which ones didn't. We are holding a monthly activities meeting with the aim of improving the variety of activities available to residents. We are also working with care staff to develop their confidence and abilities to provide activities on the units outwith the schedule - ensuring our care environments are flexible to residents 

    At Town Thorns, our care centre in Rugby, they have introduced a ‘Night Owl’ activities club providing residents with dementia who are disorientated in time and more alert at night, with stimulation during their waking hours.

  • Continue to improve quality of care, ensuring it is person-centred.

    At Lynwood we use Dementia Care Mapping to observe the lived experiences of our residents with dementia, highlighting things residents enjoy doing and things that they do not enjoy in order to improve provision of care to each person as an individual. After a resident has been mapped, staff discuss observations and create an action plan to improve care for each individual resident, with the aim of improving their well-being and satisfaction for care. Effectiveness of this auditing process is assessed by re-mapping on a 6-monthly basis to see if amount of time resident spends in positive mood and engagement has improved and thus quality of care has improved. Dementia Care Mapping also acts as a culture change procedure in care environments, facilitating well-being focused care instead of task-orientated care.

    At our care centre Birch Hill in Northumberland, they have introduced a new resident quality/satisfaction questionnaire with the same aim ad DCM - to gain feedback from residents of how happy they are with their care and how care can be improved. 

  • Audit Dementia Care Documents ensuring they meet DEEP guidelines for appropriate language

    At BEN we have several marketing materials that discuss our approach to dementia care. We aim to review all these documents in line with DEEP guidelines for appropriate language to ensure we are not using inappropriate language that may be fueling stigma associated with dementia. 

    Initial Scoping
  • Challenging Behaviour Training at all BEN Care Centres

    A requirement for care staff training on reducing incidents of challenging behaviour on dementia units has arisen and BEN has committed to providing all care staff with such training. This training will be aimed at recognising reasons for challenging behaviour, working to minimise these triggers and has the overall aim of reducing number of incidents of challenging behaviour and ultimately minimising use of antipsychotic medication of dementia units and resident distress. 

    Staff will be supported to identify possible triggers to challenging behaviour and strategies for minimising these behaviours will be brainstormed. Also, staff will be given overview of related legislation to support them to work within the law, and implement strategies to reduce these behaviours without depriving residents of their liberty or using any form of restraint - chemical or physical.