Reading Rooms at ‘My Home Life’ conference

The Verbal Arts Centre’s award-winning Reading Rooms project has been to the fore at an Ulster University (UU) conference focusing on Improving Quality of Life in Nursing & Residential Homes.

Picture for blog story Reading Rooms at ‘My Home Life’ conference

The conference held at the Magee campus, focused on four key themes: facilitating a positive transition for residents and relatives, maintaining dignity and identity, sharing decision making and creating and maintaining community links.

The event provided an overview of a range of practice development initiatives that have been introduced in nursing and residential homes as part of a Knowledge Transfer Scheme funded by the HSC Public Health Agency.

The project, conducted by UU’s Person-Centred Practice Research Centre, is also funded by independent health & care providers (IHCP), Age NI and Ulster Garden Villages Ltd in association with My Home Life and City University London.

My Home Life (MHL), is a UK-wide initiative that promotes quality of life and delivers positive change in care homes for older people.

The Verbal Arts Centre’s Reading Rooms project has been working in partnership with My Home Life in three care homes - Seven Oaks with residents with dementia, and Deanfield, both based in the city – as well as Harold McCauley in Omagh.

The Reading Rooms uses a relationship centred model of engagement and provides a safe space for participants to have voice, choice and control, sharing experiences with others and provoking conversations.

Sinead Devine, Reading Rooms Project Manager, explained: “Volunteers and staff have been delivering Reading Rooms, building relationships with the residents, staff and families which will then focus on using the Reading Rooms as a consultative tool to engage staff, residents and relatives further in shared decision making and to continue keep open the pathways for dialogue between all.

“Staff from the homes presented to the conference their findings on the first stage of the project, which is Reading Rooms for Pleasure, and their aspirations for Reading Rooms going forward.

“Congratulations to Toni Strawbridge, Care Home Manager from Sevenoaks, who presented on Reading Rooms and Shared Decision Making at the ‘My Home Life’ conference, and to all the Care Home Managers who presented with so much passion on their themes. You have inspired us all.”

The Reading Rooms Bus was parked in the beautiful surroundings of Magee for students, staff and conference attendees to enjoy a Reading Room for themselves during the event.


Further information is available from the Verbal Arts Centre, Stable Lane and Mall Wall, Bishop Street Within, Derry~Londonderry. Tel: 02871 266946.

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