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Sheila talks about her 5 month respite stay at Bridgemead

  1. Why did you stay at Bridgemead?

“Last year I had a very nasty fall and ended up in Southmead Hospital having a 5 hour operation on my neck: the surgeon had to take a bone from my hip to replace some of the vertebrae in my neck. My son, who lives in Paris, looked around several nursing homes to find somewhere for me to stay while I recovered. He said one was very luxurious, but when he went to Bridgemead he talked to Pam and was very impressed, and thought Bridgemead would suit me as I would be really happy there. I stayed there for five months from end of December to May 2017.”


  1. What did you like about Bridgemead?

“I had a lovely room overlooking the river – there was always something to look at. There was a bath, although I would have preferred a shower. The staff were really good, especially Nicola who had been there for 18 years. On the whole the staff were very good. Sometimes some of the night staff were bank staff but the Sisters were in charge. The Sisters definitely made sure I took all my pills!”

“The atmosphere was very friendly and pleasant. I sat on the end of a table for four in the dining room and got to know the other people. The food was really good.”

“I really enjoyed having the family room next door to me, to use with my visitors. We had our own tea and coffee and could look out over the river or go outside onto the balcony. In fact I had my 80th birthday party there with a lovely cake with a paint brush and music on it!”

“I also loved going to the roof garden. I put on my coat and took my walker and went up there to dead-head the pansies – they made a lovely display! I also liked to sit in the conservatory and to go to the garden at the bottom. I really enjoyed going down to the river right at the bottom, there was a sense of being somewhere very different there.”

“I liked the attitude of the people at Bridgemead. If there was something they could do to help you they would. There was a lady who always came to the dining room in her bare feet. I asked Pam about it and she said she always did this at home and Bridgemead is her home. I remember I wanted to go out on my own for a walk, so I went out. Pam came out to see me and arranged for some-one to go with me. Eventually my physio said I could go on my own. She still comes here now and I am learning to salsa with her – lots of side and backward steps!”

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Emma McDermott, SRA Architects, talks about Bridgemead’s New Wing

  1. Why do we need a new wing?

Your original requirement was to protect the building from flooding, to relocate those residents and services from the lower ground level and upgrade the existing home to provide a dementia friendly environment. We knew that this would not be a simple scheme; in fact, we looked at about ten different options. Flooding is a major technical constraint on the existing building. We wanted to meet all the requirements in the original brief, and create a very good scheme that you would be proud of.


  1. How did you design the new wing?

Instead of just extending the existing two wings, and adding more accommodation, we needed to understand why the home works so well as it is and not interfere with that success. With the trustees we visited several other care homes to identify what designs work to create a homely, bright environment, and what is less successful.


  1. What did you learn from your research?

We realized that long corridors are not only tiring for staff but also can be confusing for people living with dementia. The new wing enables the dining room (the hub of the home) to be easily accessed by everyone; and we also provided a circular route all around the home on two levels.

We discovered that the quality of light is very important to people living with dementia. South facing rooms create shadows which can be scary to people with dementia. The new extension will be brighter, with a big roof light, it will be washed in a light from the north as this casts fewer shadows: the perfect light for painters in fact! We are also able increase the amount of ventilation so it does not become stuffy.


    4. How many rooms are in the new wing?

The new extension has 12 rooms altogether, all en-suite, so all the residents who are now on the lower ground floor can be re-located. Their rooms will look out on to the new garden, and the family rooms will have a balcony with a river view, so everyone can enjoy it.


  1. Why is it so expensive?

Unfortunately, all building work is expensive! We have designed the most cost effective solution for a site which has many challenges and constraints. The cost of the project includes moving the plant room (including the boilers), carrying out complicated ground works, building the extension and providing the flood defences. As a result, the home will be protected from flooding and upgraded.


  1. What will it look like?

Bridgemead is already a contemporary award-winning building. We did not want to design an extension that simply tried to copy the existing building – it would have detracted from the original design and looked like an add-on. So instead we have designed a contemporary extension which is sympathetic to the original iconic building. We are pleased with it as are B&NES’ urban designers – we hope you like it too.


  1. Have you enjoyed the design process?

Yours was a very challenging but really interesting brief. Although we have worked for all sorts of charities we had not designed a care home before – so we needed to do our research thoroughly and fully understand what you needed. It has been a year-long project to complete the design.  The Bridge Care trustees have been very thorough and a great client to work with. The neighbours have been very friendly as well, we were careful to make sure our design did not obstruct their views. Now we are keen to get the builders started.





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Day out at Dyrham Park

On 31st May four of our residents Danny York, James Elliott, Edward Horesh and Jean Kemmery went out on a trip to see the beautiful ancient deer park, seventeenth century house and garden at Dyrham Park. They were accompanied by four staff  – Denise Harris (Senior Carer), Veronica Ward (Carer), Kristyna Jancikova (Registered Nurse), and Michelle Jenner (Activities Co-ordinator).


Three residents chose to go around the house – Edward (with Kristyna), Danny (with Denise) and James (with Veronica). All the National Trust staff were very helpful and co-operative. All the residents visited the gardens and were very impressed.  Veronica took James around the gardens and the pond.  Denise took Danny around the gardens and the pond. Some areas are difficult for wheelchairs, such as the cobbled courtyard and some gravel in the gardens and steep slopes.  These difficulties were negotiated successfully by the well trained staff, who all have moving and handling training.

Tea at Dyrham Park café was a great success although Danny said that the scones were not as good as the ones his wife used to make!  Edward enjoyed his favourite Marshfield ice-cream and James liked the ice-cream too. Michelle says: “I love taking residents out on outings because they enjoy it so much.  It’s wonderful to see them in a different environment, they are more relaxed, sociable and jolly.”


Previous successful trips have included outings to  National Trust ‘Courts Gardens’, Prior Park Garden Centre, Chew Valley Lake, and ‘Salt & Malt’ café.

A visit to Bath City Farm for ‘Feathered Friends’ a sociable chicken keeping/cuddling project, for the over 60s and those living with dementia, and their carers is planned next.


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Happy 100th Birthday Miss Jean Tranah!

Jean, Wera Hobhouse and Marian McNeirJean and Deputy MayorgetPartJean's birthday     Jean's birthday cakegetPart-1Cake

Miss Jean Tranah’s 100th birthday was celebrated in style on Saturday 10th June at Bridgemead.

Guests included Wera Hobhouse, Bath’s new MP, Councillor Rob Appleyard, Deputy Mayor, and his fiancée Amanda Fraser, Marian McNeir, patron of Bridgemead, Geoff Weekes, Chair of the Trustees, Pam Bourton, Head of Care at Bridgemead, Rev John Farren and Rev Peter Taylor, former ministers of Hay Hill Baptist church, Rev Andrew Shergold, Philippine Independent Catholic Bishop in Europe, Gillian Murray, Miss Tranah’s niece from East Kent, and many friends, residents, and staff.

There was a service led by Rev Alan Ashworth, the chaplain of Bridgemead, and Mrs Norrey Taylor played the harp. Miss Tranah gave an inspiring speech saying she did not feel her age, that her faith had kept her going, how important it was to look forward and not back, and praised the staff of Bridgemead for being ‘ministering angels’ to her.

Over a delicious cream tea, the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Rob Appleyard, said, “To get to be a hundred years old with all the pressures, wars and political unrest of the world, but with such a good heart is marvellous. She has such faith and is an incredible person. Bridgemead is brilliant. I first came here a few years ago as Chair of the Council. There is a sense of grace and love here, and the food is amazing!”

Wera Hobhouse, after chatting to Miss Tranah, said:” This home shows what a care home should be like. It is happy and warm, people are well looked after and appreciate the care they receive. I cherish listening to someone of 100 years old who has so much wisdom and is so positive – it is extraordinary.”

Marian McNeir, patron of Bridgemead said “I loved Jean’s speech which reflected her very positive attitude to life and I am especially impressed by her continued interest in people – she said, ‘I lose myself in people’ – that is a great gift. What I admire so much about Bridgemead is that it is a real community where people are loved and cherished.”

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Planning Permission Granted for New Wing

The trustees of Bridgemead Care Home are delighted to announce that planning permission has been granted to enhance and carry out a major upgrade to their current building in St John’s Road, Bath. The new wing will extend services for vulnerable older people in a dementia-friendly setting. The building will also be protected from flooding. The trustees need to raise £4,400,000 to carry out the work.

Work is planned in three stages:
Stage 1. Flood Resilience £670,000

Stage 2. New South Wing £2,740,000
A new south wing will create an enclosed external courtyard and restructuring will provide 12 en-suite rooms which are dementia friendly, with new equipment such as bariatric hoists to help patients out of bed, and into a wheelchair.

Stage 3. Improvements £990,000

A riverside lounge and an upgrade of five residents’ rooms with en-suite facilities, and upgrades to the main reception area are planned.

Geoffrey Weekes, Chair of the trustees, says: “We have a lovely home with caring staff and have maintained our values which are driven by the same Christian principles on which Bridgemead was founded. Yet we have to be realistic and adapt to today’s challenges. We are delighted that planning permission for our imaginative but sympathetic extension, designed by SRA Architects, has been granted and are excited to start fundraising.”

As well as extending the Care Home it will be protected from further flooding. On Christmas Eve 2013, the River Avon was dangerously high and was only 5 inches or 130mm from flooding the ground floor of Bridgemead. The 32 older Bath residents would have to be evacuated. How could this be done, and where could the vulnerable residents go on Christmas Eve? Fortunately, levels receded and residents and families could enjoy Christmas in the comfortable homely environment of Bridgemead. However, every time there is heavy rain, the manager, Pam Bourton, says “I have an awful feeling and worry we might have to consider evacuation procedures again.”

This threat coupled with more complex care needs in our older population often with increasing levels of dementia have been the spur to prepare vital new building plans.
The plans also incorporate a community suite where services can be offered to older vulnerable members of the community who are not residents.

Plans have been granted approval on 5/6/2017.

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How to live to be 100

Miss Jean Tranah, who has lived at Bridgemead Care Home for the last ten years, and will be 100 on 10th June, reveals her secrets for those who aspire to centenarianism. Jean, who was born in Wimbledon, left school at 15, was a children’s nurse, then volunteered for the WRNS in World War II. After the War she worked in a children’s home, and then became a companion for 28 years to a lady who was an optician in New Bond Street.

1.Be positive and cheerful

“It’s what you make of situations that counts. I try to think of others and how they are feeling, and be happy and cheerful and not think of myself too much. I would have liked to have been married, but some people are called to a single life and can be a blessing to others and try to help.”

2.”Live one day at a time, one step at a time, and trust in the Lord. I have a deep faith and trust in the Lord, He’s seeing me through. I have lots to thank the Lord for – he has granted me many blessings. I had a fall and was in hospital. My friends prayed for me and their prayers were answered in a wonderful way. There was one vacancy here and I moved in to Bridgemead with these wonderful kind people. People say this is the best home and I agree. I call the staff ministering angels – they are very caring and look after me. It’s lovely to see the river and the greenery around.”

3.Eat well

“My favourite meal is chicken, cream potatoes, sprouts and carrots and strawberry pavlova for pudding. The food is good here.”

4.Keep moving

“ I don’t like to sit too long. I use a frame now as two sticks were not enough support, but I like to keep going. We do exercises with music and I enjoy skittles.”

5.Get involved

I have the great privilege of being asked every Thursday to help choose the hymns and give the Bible reading in “Quiet Time”. I used to be very shy as a girl, but this has helped me a lot.

After my lovely Japanese spaniel was put to sleep I wanted to help the RSPCA cats and dogs home, so I have been knitting blankets for the cats and dogs and they are sent up to Claverton. I’m now on my thirtieth blanket.”

6.Look forward

“I’ve had joys and disappointments – I have no children, my sister was killed in a car crash in America, I lost my lady I worked for, but I keep on going and don’t give in. It’s important to go forward and not keep looking back.”

7.Be interested

“I try to think of other people and be interested in them – I can lose myself in other people.”





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