AVENUE HOUSE: Residential Care

Avenue House was comprehensively re-developed in 2003, and everywhere has been completely redecorated, with new carpets, curtains and lighting. The stately old Victorian building is joined to a modern three-storey extension, and is serviced by two lifts.

We have 30 single units, each with a built-in wardrobe with a mini lockable safe, and en-suite toilet and shower. Each has a digital TV point, a phone point with a line already connected, a minimum of 3 double electric sockets and a call bell. You are encouraged to furnish your room with your own furniture and belongings, but basic furniture can be provided if necessary. Your privacy is respected as staff will always knock and you may lock your door.

Other facilities include attractive communal rooms (dining room, two lounges, library with a large selection of books and a craft room), most having a ‘hearing loop’ system. We have three large assisted bathrooms, and room for you to see a visiting hairdresser, chiropodist, dentist or optician. A hairdresser visits Avenue House once a week, and a chiropodist every six weeks. Of course, you are not obliged to use these particular people; you are free to invite your own hairdresser or chiropodist into the home whenever you wish. Our secluded garden is maintained regularly by professional gardeners, and with its flowers, shrubs, mature trees and attractive pond with various fish it attracts many different birds and squirrels. Residents are encouraged to help keep the bird feeder topped up with food, and to help feed the fish on a regular basis. The garden also boasts a large pleasant patio area, where many residents enjoy sitting, reading, taking tea / coffee etc on the garden furniture in the summer.

Amenities include an informal weekly shop run by our group of volunteers where you can buy fresh fruit, biscuits, sweets and toiletries. Pre-ordered newspapers and magazines are delivered every day, except for Sunday. We are well regarded by doctors and district nurses, who are pleased to visit. Should you have a hospital appointment, we can arrange transport and an escort if required.

Many varied activities are on offer every week. We celebrate birthdays and other special dates with appropriate menus and activities. Regular outings are arranged to places like the countryside, the seaside, or into Bristol for a show at the Hippodrome. We are particularly proud of our inter-generational link up with a local Nursery – which has been a big success with our residents, who look forward to the children visiting every week. We publish a monthly Diary of Events, a quarterly newsletter, and an annual magazine, to which residents and tenants are encouraged to make contributions; for example by writing articles, stories, poems, drawing pictures etc. Your life in Avenue House can be as lively or, if you prefer, as quiet and contemplative as you like. Your wishes will always be respected.

Each Sunday a Quaker Meeting for Worship is held in the lounge, attended by some residents, tenants and visitors. We respect your own religious faith, if any, and will help you make arrangements to attend services or meetings in the home or elsewhere.

We provide all meals, which are served in our dining room overlooking the garden, or in your own room by request. Our cooks provide a varied menu and your own likes and dislikes are catered for. Vegetarian alternatives are prepared with the same flair and love of cooking, and we can also cater for other special diets. Breakfast time is flexible from 8 am to 10:30 am. Many residents gather for tea/coffee mid morning and mid afternoon, but this can also be taken in your own room if you so wish. Hot drinks and snacks are available at any time – please always feel free to ask.

Your laundry is washed and returned to your room. All clothes need to be labelled with your name, preferably before you come to live here – we can order labels for you if you like. We have a cleaner on duty everyday during the week and they will make arrangements with you about when your individual room will be cleaned.

We encourage you to lead as independent life as possible, following your own interests and preferences. You will be looked after by qualified, competent and friendly care assistants for 24 hours a day. Many of our loyal staff have been with us for years: we know they are truly valued by our residents.

When you come to live at Avenue House your personal health and care needs will be discussed with you and your Care Plan agreed. One of our care staff will become your keyworker. Any help you need will be given with respect and consideration for your privacy. Medication will be supervised if required, or it may be decided that you remain responsible for this yourself.

Before moving into Avenue House you will need to check whether your current doctor is able to continue to have you on his / her list. If they are not, we can help you register with another nearby GP.

As much extra help as possible will be given if you have a period of illness or incapacity. Care needs are re-assessed on a regular basis and we endeavour to look after people for as long as they wish. Care plans are reviewed regularly and you will be encouraged to be fully involved in this.

The key to quality of care at Friends Housing Bristol is our staff. We have an experienced and enthusiastic care team led by the Manager and Assistant Manager, and see staff training as an essential part of maintaining standards.

Our care team includes dedicated Senior Care Assistants and Care Assistants, and at night there are always two Care Assistants awake on duty. The remainder of the team is made up of Cooks, Domestic Assistants, Activity Coordinators, an Administrator and a Maintenance Worker.

Friends Housing Bristol aims to provide care at affordable fees whilst being entirely non-profit making. All of our Board Members are volunteers. Our current fees are shown on our Statement of Purpose.

We provide each resident with a formal Residential Care Agreement, setting out the rights and responsibilities of the resident and of Friends Housing Bristol. We can accept a limited number of Local Authority Funded residents, dependant on the size of the gap between our fees and the amount the Local Authority are willing to fund. Where the amount the Local Authority is willing to pay falls below our fees, Friends Housing Bristol seeks to receive a top-up from the resident and/or family members; but we have never asked a resident to leave our home if this has been unsuccessful.

Residents are responsible for the cost of appointments with a chiropodist, optician, dentist, or hairdresser, and also pay for their own newspapers, magazines, toiletries and phone bill. Friends Housing Bristol provides insurance for residents’ possessions up to an agreed limit.

Residents, their families, friends or advisors should be in control of their own money if at all possible.

It is important that our residents and staff should be safe and secure in Avenue House. All staff are fully checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service and wear identification badges. We greet all visitors at the front door and ask them to sign in and out of the Visitors Book as they enter or leave the building. The redevelopment of Avenue House included the fitting of many new windows which allow ventilation but don’t pose a security problem. Toughened glass and locks have been fitted to all the Victorian ground floor windows. At night, these are all locked, along with all external doors, which can also be alarmed.

Residents are very welcome to come and go as they wish but for security reasons they should tell a member of staff when they leave and when they plan to be back. All bedrooms have alarm call systems and personal alarm pendants are available for each resident to wear if they choose. These can be activated in all areas of Avenue House.

By law, and for everyones health and safety, we have a strict no-smoking policy.

Alcohol may be consumed in residents’ own rooms. From time to time alcoholic drinks will be offered parties / special occasions within the home.

Avenue House is not suitable for pets. If you have concerns about pets and are thinking about coming to live with us please talk to our Manager.

We can sometimes provide respite care for people for a few weeks, or some people who are considering moving into Avenue House may wish to live with us for a while to see if living in our community suits them. Anyone joining us as a permanent resident has a four-week trial period to decide whether this move is right for both parties.

If you have any concerns or wishes, big or small, please discuss them with our Manager: we value your views. There is a Suggestions Book in reception where residents and visitors can suggest anything that they feel could be used to improve Avenue House.

Avenue House has a monthly Residents Meeting, a six monthly Relatives Meeting, and a quarterly Board Meeting. Many Board Members visit Avenue House regularly, chatting and getting to know all of the residents.

A Board Member inspects the premises every month and talks to the Manager, staff and residents. We are audited regularly for things like Medication Procedures, Health and Safety Monitoring and Administration and Financial Processes. The Fire Service checks our buildings regularly and we PAT test all electrical items when they are first bought into the building and annually thereafter. The Care Quality Commission monitors us at least once a year. At the end of all of these inspections we are given written reports with recommendations where needed. Once a year our residents complete a survey where they are asked about their views on life in Avenue House.