Our philosophy at Birchwood is simple: we provide a true home for the elderly and enable them to live as fulfilling lives as possible.
We don't have clients, we have residents. Our food is home cooked. Our fabulous building retains its air of being a family home. Visiting is unrestricted. And we laugh and celebrate together, as a family.
We are impressed with the care and gentleness shown to mother as her dementia is now advanced.
We provide the very best care for our residents. We devise a personalised care plan tailored to their individual needs and preferences, and agreed with them and their relatives when they join us. We review all care plans regularly to make sure we meet our residents' requirements as these adapt.
Although we are not a nursing home, our manager and senior care staff have extensive experience of working in nursing homes which helps inform the care we provide. This includes investing in specialist equipment to enable our staff to look after our residents in the way that is most comfortable for them.
We maintain excellent relationships with other health professionals and experts, including local doctors, district nurses and Hospice in the Weald. This external support generally enables us to keep our residents in Birchwood if their needs become more acute, so avoiding the distress caused by having to move them from the place they know as home.
People were involved in their day to day care… People’s care was personalised to reflect their wishes and what was important to them. Care plans and risk assessments were reviewed and updated when needs changed. The delivery of care was in line with people’s care plans.
Birchwood House dates back to 1841 and has a rich history, encompassing a Hollywood actor, a role in the two World Wars and being a Christian faith hospital.
Originally the home of local farmer William Stapley, Etherton Hill (as it was known) passed into the hands of the Barker family before being sold to Edwin Winton, a retired civil engineer. During WWI, his wife ran The Speldhurst War Dressing Association, with up to 69 women volunteers joining the sewing circle at Etherton to make dressings for the troops.
In 1919, Etherton was sold to a Swedish timber importer, but he and his daughter had to move out at the outbreak of WWII when it was requisitioned for a Light Infantry Regiment, a secret unit that later took part in the Normandy invasion. Actor David Niven was billeted at nearby Langton Green and was sometimes seen visiting his troops at Etherton.
By the end of the war, the house had fallen into terrible disrepair and the owners were advised to demolish it. Instead, they sold it for a nominal fee to Christian faith healer Dorothy Kerin, who was looking for a home for the nine war orphans she had adopted and a place where she could treat her patients. The village Red Cross hut was bought and converted into a chapel, and Etherton was renamed Chapel House during an official blessing in 1948. Patients were cared for at Chapel House until it was sold in 1958 (the Christian hospital having been successfully established at Burrswood in nearby Groombridge). It was turned back into a private home under the new name of White Lodge, until the estate was broken up in the 1970s, with the main house becoming Birchwood House Rest Home.
I feel I am very lucky to be here; they are all so kind and caring.