Quartet movie magic is the perfect training tool for Wrexham carers

A bittersweet film about ageing opera singers provided a training day with a difference for over 100 care practitioners.

The group from the Pendine Park care organisation decamped to the Odeon cinema at the Eagles Meadow shopping centre, in Wrexham, to watch the critically acclaimed movie, Quartet.

Appropriately, the film is set in a retirement home and the problems and pleasures encountered by the musical residents were used as part of Pendine Park’s training programme.

Quartet was directed by Oscar winning screen great Dustin Hoffman and features a stellar cast including Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins and Billy Connolly.

The private screening was the idea of Pendine Park Director Gill Kreft and was organised by their teaching care centre, Smartcare,  and Odeon Manager Andy Elvis.

Mr Elvis said: “Quartet is set in a retirement home and I am sure some of the situations depicted within the film form an ideal training package for care practitioners.

“I’m delighted to have been able to work with Pendine Park in putting the training day together and arranging the private screening of Quartet. It also gave me the opportunity to explain how we can accommodate people with disabilities in making cinema available to everyone.”

Mr Kreft added: “Quartet is set in Beecham House, a fictional retirement home. It’s a wonderful film and Dustin Hoffman and the cast have done a remarkable job in capturing the emotions of life in a care home community.

“The film highlights many of the issues we face in providing the best possible care for our residents.

“At Pendine we talk about the six senses of care, achievement, belonging, continuity, purpose, significance and security, these are wonderfully portrayed in the film and I would recommend that all care organisations should use the film as a training and development resource.

“Being able to treat our staff and Smartcare trainers to enjoy watching a fantastic film such as Quartet helps us to get our message of just how important enrichment is to our residents and clients.”

He added: “I’m a firm believer that art, and music, makes us feel special, makes us feel human.

“We are involved in a long-standing collaboration with the Hallé orchestra and we are also Welsh National Opera Gold Community Champions.

“Within Pendine Park we are trying to make those little things important so that every moment counts.

“We are striving to provide the very best and in our discussions after the film ended it was clear staff who watched understood why characters reacted to certain situations and why they responded in a particular way.

“One thing I certainly took from the film is that the younger characters and the older ones all spoke the same language about their different musical tastes, their age was irrelevant.

“It has been a very worthwhile training day and something we will certainly consider again in the future. Andy Elvis and his team at the Odeon Cinema have been wonderful hosts.”

Danuscza Jensen, who has 21 years’ experience as a care practitioner, is team leader at Pendine Park’s Bondlondeb care home, a centre of excellence for dementia care.

She said: “Watching the film was a great training tool – it certainly made me think.

“There were situations in the film that had me wondering how I would deal with something similar. It also highlighted the importance of personal choices and how it is vital everyone we care for has to have a future life and a sense of belonging.

“Coming to the cinema for a private screening was certainly a great idea and a tremendous way to train staff. There were lessons to be learnt that I will certainly remember for a very long time.”

Jeanette Whiteley, a care practitioner with Pendine Park’s domiciliary care company, Independent Living, also felt it was a great training exercise.

She said: “It definitely made me think about how we care for our clients. There were situations within the film that were very real and had me wondering whether I would have handled them the same way.

“I think I understand more now the importance of having that sense of belonging and needing to feel secure. I certainly took a lot from the film.”

Housekeeper Carol Bowen added  “I really enjoyed Quartet and took a lot from it.

“It made me think how even little conversations with residents are really important and how vital it is to provide a homely environment for our residents to enjoy.”

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