54 steps doesn’t sound like much, does it? But to James Lynch it might as well have been 54,000.
Internationally renowned artist
When he was discharged from hospital to the Trust's Charterhouse nursing care home, it was immediately apparent to Registered Nurse, Kate Lingdren that something was wrong.
James explained to Kate that he lived in a flat on the fifth floor of an old building which had no lift.
An internationally renowned artist, James was desperate to return to his flat to select his artwork for an exhibition at the Victoria Gallery in Bath.
He presumed that this wasn’t possible as he was now in a nursing care home.
Kate thought otherwise. When someone arrives at one of the Trust’s nursing care homes the first thing that is completed is the ‘about that person’ section on the front of the Trust’s care plans.
Kate said: “There’s a very good reason for this: without knowing what someone’s background is, where they worked, where they lived, what their passions are – how can you care for them?”
Seeing James’ whole persona change when he spoke about art and how determined he was, Kate knew he had the ‘will’.
Now Kate set about finding the ’way‘ to get James up those 54 steps.
Over the next few weeks, James worked tirelessly with Charterhouse’s physio team and together they set a date for James to return to his flat.
When the big day arrived James climbed each and every step with Kate by his side.
Kate said: “In going to James’ flat and seeing his artwork, I learned why he’d painted certain things, where he’s lived, where he’s travelled and also that he represented himself in most of his paintings. I felt very privileged.”
Then Kate had another idea: why not hold an exhibition of James’ work at The Chocolate Quarter?
And with the help of Artist in Residence, Joe Tymkow, an exhibition of James’ selected works is now being held at The Chocolate Quarter throughout July.
Beginning his career at Camberwell School of Art and Goldsmith’s College London, James has exhibited his work around the world at galleries including the Royal Scottish Academy, the Royal West of England Academy, the New English Art Club and the Alexandra Irigoyan Gallery in Madrid.
James' work has been exhibited in many solo exhibitions, including at the Rooksmoor Gallery in Bath, the Angel Gallery in Lavenham and the Annexe Provinciale de la Culture, Larache, Morocco.
Nearly all the subjects which are being exhibited at The Chocolate Quarter show the artist seated in the narrow busy streets of the medina of the coastal town of Larache, where he acquired a house which he used to go to during the holidays from teaching.
The dusty charm of Larache is captured in his expressive paintings which combines the fusion of crumbling Islamic and Spanish tenements and the narrow thronged alley ways.
After previewing his work at The Chocolate Quarter, James’ paintings will also be shown later this year at the Victoria Gallery in Bath.
“You can see it in his eyes”
Kate and her team have really noticed a difference in James throughout the planning for his exhibition: “The exhibition has him so enthused about the future. You can see it in his eyes that he’s much more alert. He’s holding his head higher and his communication has markedly improved.”
As she explained, for her, nursing has always been about more than just the medical side of it. “I’m very passionate about seeing people for who they are and not their disability. James does need help because of his Parkinson’s, but now everyone has seen what he’s capable of.”
“The St Monica Trust is the only place I’ve worked as a nurse where I’ve been supported and encouraged to do this sort of thing. We’re making a real difference to James’ well-being and hopefully we can do the same for all our residents.”
Charterhouse nursing care home
Located within the St Monica Trust’s newest retirement community, Charterhouse, is a 93-bed care home offering dementia care, nursing care, respite care, rehabilitation and end-of-life care.
The large private suites are all en-suite and offer air conditioning, Wi-Fi, full height windows and the facility for in-room dining.
The design of each suite has been carefully thought out to make everyday life easier with motion sensors, which turn on low-level lighting in the en-suite for night time bathroom visits, and the mattresses are finely tuned for a perfect fit to ensure a good night’s sleep.