The Royal Star & Garter charity is launching The Veteran Friendly Framework (VFF) to improve the quality of life for Armed Forces veterans in care homes ahead of Remembrance Day.
The project seeks to offer compassionate care to veteran residents and their loved ones, supporting their emotional and social needs.
Care homes which are already benefitting from VFF include Solihull, Surbiton, and High Wycombe.
Charles Byrne, Royal British Legion Director General, said: “Most veterans are cared for in civilian homes that in some cases may not understand their social, emotional, or physical needs.
“The exciting potential of this project is to raise the standards of care received by all members of the Armed Forces community living in all care homes.”
Royal Star & Garter believe each veteran can benefit from a tailored approach which accommodates their specific needs and preferences.
The importance of considering and celebrating the residents’ experiences in military service is emphasised in their mission to improve mental wellbeing.
Project leader, and former nurse for 32 years, Kathryn Glass, said: “There are prevalent and important aspects to consider when planning care for a resident.
“Some veterans have trigger days in the calendar year where they won’t engage with anybody and those go into our care plans.
“For example, one resident placed their war medals in a particular order and a staff member disrupted that order when they changed rooms.
“It’s a simple thing but made such a difference as he became very grumpy and didn’t speak.”
Family members have spoken of the relief that they feel knowing their loved ones are receiving the care and attention they need.
This allows them to focus on their relationship, sharing stories and reliving memories, freeing them from caring responsibilities.
The son of a veteran resident in Surbiton, Derek, explained that his father had changed since moving there.
He said: “I used to dread the phone ringing as it was often carers telling me something had gone wrong.
“Now when I come here, there’s a big smile on his face and I’m learning more about his past.
“The military connections here spark off memories for him.”
Out of 15,000 care homes in England, only 20 offer specialist support for those in the Armed Forces and their partners.
VVF has approved ten of these homes, striving to support the practical, emotional, and social needs of veterans by providing training and resources to improve overall care.
All images courtesy of Royal Star & Garter