Derry care home praised for inclusive approach

The Commissioner for Older People has praised a Derry care home as he spoke of the importance of frequent personal contact with loved ones following two years of visitor restrictions.

Eddie Lynch was speaking as he joined residents and staff at Oakleaves Care Centre on Racecourse Road as they celebrated its first anniversary.
The 42-bed facility, which provides speciality care to those living with dementia, reopened last year following a seven-figure investment.

Demand for specialist support is growing in the Derry region and Oakleaves Care Centre said they understand first-hand the challenges faced by families when a loved one needs to move to nursing care.

Oakleaves’ open-door policy encourages family and friends to participate in all aspects of the resident’s life. That was impacted by Covid-19 restrictions, but the understanding of residents’ families, staff said, was ‘very evident and appreciated’.

Resident of Oakleaves enjoying the day with visitors. Picture by John Stafford / PressEye

Eddie Lynch, the Commissioner for Older People for NI, commented: “I’d like to congratulate the management and all the staff on reaching this important milestone during what has been an exceptionally challenging time. The past two years have been extremely difficult for everyone in a care home setting. I heard first-hand from residents, families and staff across Northern Ireland just how tough the restrictions around visiting in care homes had been.

“The importance of having frequent, personal contact with family and the impact this has on the health and wellbeing of older people, is well documented. Having regular visits taking place once again and the open-door policy that Oakleaves operates, encourages family participation and allows residents to enjoy that much needed face-to-face contact which is so important.”

Residents at Oakleaves have a full-time activity programme, which includes reminiscence therapy, indoor games, arts and crafts, music sessions, religious ceremonies for all denominations and reflexology.

Jenny Lynch, Home Manager at Oakleaves said: “We liaise with families of our residents for feedback on our services regularly and it’s always motivating and rewarding to know that they are pleased and can see their loved ones are happy and comfortable. Our philosophies of ‘residents come first’ and ‘your care, your way’ promotes a holistic approach to care for those with dementia and their wider family. We pride ourselves on consultation and engagement with the person and their loved ones from day one. We look forward to serving and contributing to the community for many more years to come.”

A resident of Oakleaves with family and friends. Picture by John Stafford / PressEye

Vincent Ryan, Assistant Director Primary and Community Care at the Western Trust said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Oakleaves Care Centre over the past year and wish them continued success for the future.”

Hazel Haworth, Dementia NI’s Empowerment Lead for South & West NI, said: “We would like to say a huge thank you to Oakleaves for their recent generosity in raising vital funds to help support our work. We wish them every success in taking their approach to care, which involves consulting families on the care their loved ones will receive, forward.”

For more information on Oakleaves Care Centre visit

A resident of Oakleaves with family and friends. Picture by John Stafford / PressEye
Resident of Oakleaves and visitor. Picture by John Stafford / PressEye
Chris Walsh, Jenny Lynch, Siobhan McMullan and Nuala Green of Larchwood Care NI. Picture by John Stafford / PressEye