Hillsides, the purpose built residential home for persons living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, has celebrated its first anniversary with a reception in the home’s garden to commemorate the occasion.

Hillsides currently provides care and accommodation for 52 residents diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Dementia and who require specialist care. Additionally, Hillsides also includes a respite ward, which offers short-term support and professional care for families who may need these services for their loved ones.

The home’s ethos is to provide its residents with a secure and homely environment, offering compassionate care and support at all times, be it physical or emotional. Hillsides is staffed by carers and nurses from MedDoc, which maintains a working relationship with the Elderly Residential Services (ERS).

Hillsides boasts spacious bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms and expansive communal areas for residents to gather. It also offers a wide range of excellent amenities, enhancements and safety features specifically designed for persons living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. The designs throughout the building are tailored to minimise the risk of injuries and falls, including soft flooring, handrails and specially adapted doorframes to avoid hand injuries. Low-profiled beds also assist those residents with impaired mobility. As is the case at Mount Alveria, the John Mackintosh Home and the BellaVista Day Centre, Hillsides is fully fitted with ‘Dementia Friendly’ furniture and colour coded areas across the building, to assist with the residents’ orientation.

Residents also have access to General Practitioners, three of whom are assigned solely to provide services to ERS and, in addition, a Consultant Geriatrician. By carrying out clinics ‘in-house,’ elderly residents do not have to endure the stress of having to attend medical appointments at the Primary Care Centre or St Bernard’s Hospital unless it is absolutely necessary. Physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech & language therapy are also available and delivered at Hillsides.

The Snoezelen Room offers residents an area to aid relaxation and reduce anxiety without the need for medication. A spacious and well-kempt garden also provides an area where they can relax and enjoy spending time with their visiting loved ones, carers and colleagues. The ‘Gibraltar Alzheimer’s and Dementia Society’ has a facility within the campus where they offer support and advice to relatives and liaison with staff to address any issues which may have been bought to their attention and which may need to be addressed.

Mrs Susan Vallejo, ERS Manager, said that they had been able to create an environment at Hillsides which residents call their home. She said: “We provide individually-centred care, with an emphasis on individualised plans tailored to meet specific needs. Not only have we managed to provide the latest dementia care for our residents, but we have also managed to keep abreast of new developments and advances in the field, always looking to progress and improve on the services we already deliver. I feel immensely proud of the work my staff, together with MedDoc, our contractors, have carried out since Hillsides was inaugurated last year. I would like to sincerely thank my Staff, our colleagues at the Gibraltar Health Authority, the Care Agency and MedDoc, who have all contributed towards our first year being such a great success.

Dr Ricard Gandia, Consultant Psychiatrist and Managing Director of MedDoc Healthcare added: “Both the Hillsides Residential Home and the BellaVista Day Centre provide evidence to show that when passion, dedication and knowledge meet with honesty, transparency and effort, it generates a team spirit that leads to the best combination to work for our community. I would like to take this opportunity to show my gratitude and to thank all the staff for the excellent professionalism that have demonstrated over the past year, which reflects directly on the level of care given to our residents. I would also like to thank HM Government of Gibraltar for providing these superb facilities

Minister for Health, Care and Justice, the Honourable Neil F. Costa MP, said: “Our aim, from the outset, has always been to ensure that we deliver a first class residential home for a much-cherished sector of our community; a place to call home where residents can receive warm and compassionate care. The admirable dedication and professionalism demonstrated by staff across the ERS, the GHA, the Care Agency and our colleagues at MedDoc has made this possible. Today we celebrate the first year since we inaugurated the home. I take this opportunity to wholeheartedly thank, and congratulate all those who have been involved in ensuring the first year has been such a great success. I must thank and single out Mrs Susan Vallejo, my Elderly Residential Services Manager, who has devoted so much time and effort into the project. She has led her ERS team in an exemplary manner, working together with Dr Gandia, his fantastic team at MedDoc, and our dedicated professionals from the Care Agency and the GHA, who have all contributed in one way or another towards the great success that is Hillsides. I would also like to send my best wishes to the residents and their loved ones and look forward to celebrating many more years of quality care to our elderly in this wonderful home.