– Nutrition in nursing homes –

The number of elderly people in our population is increasing. Our job, as a society, is to respond to specific needs of the elderly and this can lead to permanent residency within a nursing facility. Nursing services provide all types of assistance, to replace or complement functions of home and family, including, organised food supply.

Within Maryland Healthcare there is a varied population of residents, which often reflects specific nutritional needs. It is important to remember that usually an admission into a nursing home, is necessary after a period of illness. Therefore it is vitally important that the nutritional support is available to aid in the recuperation of the resident.

By sourcing and providing as much local produce as possible, Maryland Healthcare helps to aid nutritional value and create a food service network which is more responsible. Maryland is located close to the heart of County Down with Comber potatoes, local soup vegetables and greens that are regarded as some of the best in the country. It is important for residents who have been brought up around the season’s harvesting times to have local produce available and served.

Maryland Healthcare provides traditional nursing care services with emphasis on locally sourced produce where possible.  There are three main meals of the day: breakfast, lunchtime dinner and teatime, with tea/coffee and snacks available in between and a supper before bedtime.

Our main meal of the day is the lunchtime dinner, which is hearty and consists of a main cooked meal and dessert.

– A word from Jessie McGreevy, Unit Manager at Maryland HealthCare –

“I fell into caring when I was 17 after taking time out after school to consider what to do with my life. This ‘accident’ definitely turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I started working as a care assistant in my local nursing home and realised very quickly that I loved looking after and being around the older generation. I applied to Queen’s University and to my surprise they accepted me. 

Since I qualified as an Adult Nurse, I have pushed hard to expand my knowledge and work my way up the ladder. I have completed various roles on a local and national level from Nurse, Deputy Manager, Regional Trainer, Home Manager and finally my current role as Unit Manager at Maryland HealthCare. Whilst working full time, I have also completed a further degree in Dementia Studies and published over 10 papers in national nursing journals such as the Nursing Times and Nursing Older People Journal. However, I think one of the things I am proudest of is helping to get proper dementia training into the undergraduate nurse’s programme at Queen’s (we won an award for this from the Alzheimer’s society).

I qualified 7 years ago now with a First Class Honours; those seven years have been a real rollercoaster but the main thing I have learnt is that the only area I want to work in is the nursing home sector. I love every minute of my job, even the stressful days. I have been a finalist for several international nursing awards, which is always a great accolade. However, as a nurse the main inspiration for my commitment to caring for the older generation is ensuring they live a dignified and fulfilled life, whether at home or in a nursing home setting. My main passion is dementia care and I have loved helping to design the environment in Maryland’s Rowan Unit but I decided to change my focus and try something new as the manger of the intermediate care unit and I love it.

I can’t describe the satisfaction and pride you get when a resident comes in unable to walk and very quiet and unsure of themselves, but a few weeks later they literally walk out the door with a smile on their face, ready to live their lives back in their own home. The best thing hearing people say that they have loved their time within my unit and they will never forget the staff or friends they have made… that is the only reward a nurse really wants!!”

– Mary McKeown –

Kilreagh born Mary McKeown is a young 98 years old and loves nothing more than talking about her life, family and how much she loves it here at Maryland.

Mary began working in a lawyer’s office writing wills, which she enjoyed for 20 years. Loyal to this type of work all of her working life, she found it very rewarding. Mary has always been independent but in her seventies, daily life was getting a little harder so she moved into a fold in Belfast and has been there for 25 years.

In recent months, Mary has been a much-loved resident in Maryland. The admission came about following a fall, where Mary unfortunately fell and fractured her shoulder. Mary says the only reason she fell was because she was rushing around, which we have come to realise is nothing new for her, as she loves to be busy.

Speaking about her time at Maryland, she said: “It is great to have the company of the staff and residents. I love the staff here as the entire team embodies happiness. Everyone here I see as friends of mine. I feel as if I am just at home. I couldn’t speak higher about everything here; when I go home I will remember my time in Maryland with one line… “The song has ended but the melody lingers on.”