Jane Verity, Hilary Lee, Master Practitioner Helen Delmonte and CEO Ann Coughlan

World First Spark of Life Centre of Excellence – Mercy Parklands (News)

News article

By Spark of Life Team ©dementiacareinternational.com

On Friday 14th February 2016, Mercy Parklands NZ  was named as the world first Spark of Life Centre of Excellence.

Waiatarua Mercy Parklands, an Ellerslie based aged-care facility, introduced Spark of Life over four years for its 97 residents, most of them requiring high care.Jane Verity, Hilary Lee, Master Practitioner Helen Delmonte and CEO Ann Coughlan

Mercy Parklands was named a Centre of Excellence after  extensive implementation followed by detailed documented evidence, highlighting the difference that the Spark of Life Philosophy has made to residents, their families and the carers. The organisation found that in addition to enriching the emotional care of its residents, they also enjoyed the additional benefits of significantly reduced incidents of challenging behaviours, as well as a reduction in falls.

Implementing Spark of Life also prompted a complete restructuring of one of Mercy Parklands’ wings, providing a more homely atmosphere for its 17 residents, all of whom live with pronounced aspects of dementia. The change has been achieved without turning the wing into a secure area or with any significant increases in medication or other forms of restraint.

The ceremony was a vibrant affair with the inner court yard specially decorated with rainbow colours. All the residents could participate in the day and follow it from their indoor seats and the outdoor area featured marquees covered in streamers, colourful poker dot balloons and garlands of small flags in all the colours of the rainbow. The official ceremony was a beautiful experience with so many people participating in the ceremony – all speaking from their hearts of what Spark of Life has meant to them.

Everyone was welcomed in Maori and English by the MC. This was followed with a torchbearer ceremony where a Spark of Life Candle was lit and the Spark of Life Torchbearers shared a specially written statement of commitment.

A daughter whose mum had just passed away 2 weeks prior but had lived at Mercy Parklands for 9 years then shared her experiences of the positive changes the Spark of Life had brought. A gentleman resident of Mercy Parklands and his wife were next and there was not an eye dry in the house as she shared her husbands thoughts on Spark of Life and what the meaningful activities in the Mens’ Club had meant to him.

Several people were then invited to share what Spark of Life had meant to them including Mercy Sister Sheryl James, from the Pastoral Care Team followed by another facilitator and torchbearer who all spoke from their hearts and souls of what they have been able to achieve.

Spark of Life Founder & CEO Jane Verity and Spark of Life President Hilary Lee also their feelings of pride before they presented a beautiful Spark of Life plaque to Ann Coughlan, Mercy Parklands CEO, and Master Practitioner Helen Delmonte. Ann said, ‘We’re honoured and delighted to receive this plaque, because we have seen how well Spark of Life fits with our Mercy core values. Our mission is to enhance human living, through Mercy’s compassion and skills. The Spark of Life approach has helped all our staff to do this better, in ways that our residents’ families have been quick to recognise and appreciate.”

Mercy Sister Patricia Rowe, a member of the Board of Mercy Healthcare in Auckland, gave an official thank you on behalf of Mercy Parklands and shared how the Spark of Life Philosophy has supported the Mercy Values. The official ceremony then concluded with a special resident choir singing a few songs including ‘You are my Sunshine’.

If you would like more information on how your facility can benefit from having your own Spark of Life Master Practitioner, click here to find out more about the Spark of Life International Master Course.