Historic Buildings and Sites – Lincoln Grange

Privatisation and another new name: Lincoln Grange 1992 – 2007

Rosemary Jones joined Lincoln Grange in April 1992, six months after the privatisation of The Beeches. The home was divided into ‘house groups’ (as the wards were now called). She arrived as part of the second stage of development which saw the establishment of two further groups, bringing the total number of residents to 56, divided into three house groups of ‘elderly frail with physical needs’ and three of the ‘mentally frail’.

The photo shows the opening of Lincoln Grange in 1992. Click to enlarge.

There was a completely new philosophy of care:

“Staff no longer wore uniforms and the old Nightingale wards were converted into individual bedrooms, each with its own front door and number. We no longer had ‘patients’ but ‘residents’ who were encouraged to make choices and decisions for themselves. This might cover how they wished their rooms to be decorated, the clothes they wanted to wear or the activities in which they chose to participate. For a lot of residents and staff this was a big step away from the institutionalised care of the past to a holistic form of care in which residents, their relatives and staff would all be involved”.

Each resident had his or her own ‘key worker’ responsible for all that resident’s needs – whether liaising with kitchen staff about food likes and dislikes or asking relatives to bring in toiletries or advising the charge nurse of any medical requirements. As well as a ‘key worker’ each resident had a ‘named nurse’ who was responsible for meeting the resident’s physical needs and it would be his or her job to liaise with the G.P., physiotherapist, dentist etc.

No house group included more than 12 residents and each had its own kitchen-dining and sitting room area. The system was designed to be homely and welcoming to residents and relatives alike and intended to be the focus for care and social activities. Staff were expected to facilitate social activities for each house group and relatives were always invited to join in. This would take the form of Christmas and Easter parties, a Bonfire Night party, fish and chip suppers, barbeques and picnics – even visits to the local pub and to the town centre.

Lincoln Grange had a very active League of Friends inherited from The Beeches and ‘The Friends’ worked very hard fundraising, visiting the residents socially and always willing to provide ‘wheelchair pushers’ on days out.

“We had a large Day Room known as the ‘Acorn Club’. Here were held morning activities such as crafts including flower arranging and model plaster work etc. The physiotherapist, who visited two mornings a week, took her sessions in the Acorn Club and these would often involve music and singing as well as a welcome cup of tea and a chat at the end of a session. A local chaplain held a weekly service in the ‘Acorn Club’ and the nearby Roman Catholic Church had two St. Vincent de Paul visitors who came each week. Local schools were also encouraged to visit so residents were kept in touch with their local community despite being ‘in care’. Every effort was made to prevent them feeling isolated or forgotten”.

In recent years the ‘physically frail’ residents began to be transferred to flats at Chilcott Gardens and Lincoln Grange was left with 27 ‘mentally frail’ residents. When the lease from the Shropshire Health Authority expires it is planned to move the remaining residents and staff to a new home. The Lincoln Grange / Beeches Hospital / Madeley Union Workhouse site will revert to the Health Authority and its future is still (June 2007) uncertain, although more assured now the building is listed.