Bethesda / Living in Bethesda

Living in Bethesda - Some details


The facilities vary from Home to Home, but every effort is made to ensure a high standard in each of them.  Further information on the facilities in Brighton and Harpenden, including the number and sizes of the rooms, can be found by following the links to the Homes.  In all the Homes you will find that your room contains:

   a clean comfortable bed suitable for your needs
   bed linen
curtains or blinds
comfortable seating for two
drawers and enclosed hanging space for clothes
two accessible double electric sockets
a bedside table
en-suite facilities (toilet and basin)
carpets or other floor covering
lockable storage space for medication, money and valuables
keys to the room if that is your wish (unless a risk assessment in the care plan) 

Your own furniture Welcome

With the approval of the Home Manager you will be welcome (and encouraged) to bring with you some of your own furniture, furnishings, pictures and other personal items.  Some items may have to be refused if they are considered a fire risk (see the section headed “Safety of furniture and appliances”).

Aids to Mobility

In all the Homes aids such as wheelchairs, walking frames, and bathing equipment are available if needed.  The Homes are provided with hoists and other moving and handling equipment to assist in the transfer of residents according to assessed needs.  Homes are also equipped with a number of height adjustable profiling beds should the assessment indicate the need of these for any resident.  If a suitable bed is not available it is sometimes possible to obtain one for short-term loan from community services.  Pressure relieving equipment will be used in accordance with the individually assessed needs of the residents and additional equipment provided through the district nursing service if they agree.


All the Homes have a "resident's" phone for the use of residents, and arrangements can be made for you to use this facility in private. You are welcome to have a private telephone installed in your room at your own expense if you wish, or you may use your own mobile phone.

Transport for residents

A wheelchair accesible car is provided at both Brighton and Harpenden to take residents to and from chapel, and on outings to places of interest.

Safekeeping of Valuables 

A safe is provided in each Home where a limited amount of residents’ money and other valuables may be deposited.

Nurse call System

A nurse call system has been installed in each Home and is connected to each resident’s room. This enables residents to call a member of staff at any time.

Laundry Facilities

Facilities will be made available for you to wash, dry and iron your own clothes if you so wish, subject always to a risk assessment indicating that it would be safe for you to do so. Use of the Home’s laundry by residents may be restricted to certain days of the week or certain times of the day.  If you choose to carry out your own laundry, arrangements will be made for your clothes to be sorted and kept separate. 


In all Homes wholesome and nutritious food is considered to be very important. The food will be varied and available at such times as may reasonably be required.  Limited facilities will be provided for you to prepare your own food if you wish to do so.  All food preparation areas will be maintained to high standards of hygiene.

Grounds of the Homes

Both the Homes are situated in attractive grounds, and great care is taken to maintain the gardens so that the residents can enjoy their surroundings. In each Home at least part of the garden will be accessible to wheelchair users.

Daily life in the Homes

We will try to make the routines of daily living and activities as flexible as possible to meet your preferences.  The general structure of the Home's routine is early morning tea, breakfast, morning coffee, lunch, afternoon cup of tea, tea, and supper, but this can be varied within reason to suit individual preferences. 

Main meals are generally served in the dining room. Refreshments may be served in the lounge, or in the your own room if preferred.  You may choose whether to eat your meals in the dining room or your room.  You will be advised of the meal times on admission, although alternative arrangements can be made with the Home Manager if the regular times are not suitable.  A choice of meals will be offered, and your personal likes and dislikes accommodated.

You will be able to make your own bed, dust and clean your own room and do your personal laundry if you are well enough and that is your wish, but assistance will always be given if required.  

On admission, you will be asked when you prefer to bath, and your wishes will be taken accommodated whenever possible. Help with bathing will be given if required.

Social activities, Hobbies and Leisure Interests
As outlined in our vision of care, the Homes are provided for those people who wish for accommodation within a sober, godly atmosphere.  The life of the residents in a Bethesda Home centres very much round the daily Bible reading and prayer, chapel services relayed into the Home, and the prayer meetings and hymn singing evenings organised in the Home.
You are welcome to maintain your hobbies once you move into the Home if reasonably practical and it is suggested that this be discussed with the Home Manager at an early stage. The Home Support Groups regularly organise activities or events that may be enjoyed if desired, and you are encouraged to make suggestions as to what you would like to do.

Chapel Services 
One of the conditions of residence in a Bethesda Home is the continued attendance at a Gospel Standard chapel unless prevented by infirmity or illness.  Arrangements are made for residents to attend a local Gospel Standard chapel on the Lord’s Day and during the week, and transport is available for this purpose. The cars are equipped to carry one wheelchair resident and four or five other passengers.  For the benefit of those residents who are not well enough to attend, the services are relayed to the Home so that residents can meet together in the lounge for worship.  If residents are not well enough to come to the lounge they may listen to the relayed services in their own rooms.

Consultation and Participation
We are constantly endeavouring to improve the quality of care in the Bethesda Homes, and your views are important to us.  You, and your relatives or representative, and stakeholders (e.g. medical practitioners) will be consulted about the service and care that Bethesda provides.  You will always be consulted about any important changes in the operation of the Home.  We will only change things if, following consultation, the changes are considered to be to the benefit of existing and future residents.  Reasons will be supplied, either verbally or in writing, to explain why particular decisions have been made. Residents meetings are held monthly where you can express your wishes and needs. 

If you wish to make any suggestions for improvements to the Home please speak to the Home Manager, or General Manager.  If you prefer, you can write to the Home Manager or to the General Manager (see page 4).  Some Homes may have a “suggestions box” or something similar. If so, you will be told about it when you come into the Home.

Fire Precautions and Emergency Procedures  
The Homes have up-to-date fire alarm systems and fire prevention equipment, which are regularly maintained and tested.  Fire risk assessments are made in each Home, and fire drills and practices arranged at regular intervals.  Staff receive appropriate training in fire prevention.  Procedures approved by the Bethesda Fund Committee are issued from time to time dealing with fire, evacuation and other emergencies.

Safety of Furniture and Appliances
The Home will not allow unsafe appliances to be used.  Furnishings and furniture brought into the home must comply with fire resistance requirements as laid down by the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988.  Furniture made before 1950 is exempt from these regulations.  The Home will refuse to allow furniture to be brought into the home if it is suspected that there may be a fire risk. Electrical appliances are subject to testing in order to ensure safety. Anything you bring into the Home must be maintained in a safe condition at your own expense.

Reading and Prayer 
Morning and evening reading and prayer is conducted in the Homes each day, and all staff and residents who are able are expected to attend.  If residents are not well enough to come to the dining room or lounge, they may listen to the readings in their rooms. Sometimes the reading and prayer is conducted by a male resident, on other occasions by ministers or male members of Gospel Standard Strict Baptist Churches. Occasional prayer meetings and hymn-singing evenings and afternoons are arranged by the Home Support Groups.

Contact with Relatives, Friends and Representatives 
You are encouraged to maintain contact with your family and friends and the local community as you wish. Visitors are welcome at all reasonable times except that visiting is not encouraged on the Lord’s Day because of chapel services and necessary rests in between.  You will have the right to meet your visitors in private, either in your own room, or in another room designated by the Home Manager.  Visitors will be provided with a drink and biscuits on arrival, and are welcome to use the residents’ kitchenette at harpenden.  With notice, meals may be taken with you, for which a small charge will be made.
If you wish visiting to be restricted, or if you choose not to see someone, your wishes will be recorded.

Fire regulations require all visitors to sign the visitors book on arrival and when leaving. If you leave the premises with your visitors you are asked to inform the staff on duty.

From time to time, on anniversaries or other special occasions, open days are arranged at the Homes, when all visitors are welcome.

Other Matters:

The Gospel Standard Strict Baptists believe that cremation of the body after death is contrary to scriptural practice and teaching. As part of your care planning, you will be asked to provide information on the arrangements for your burial as part of your "Advanced Care Plan".

Holidays and Absence
You will be encouraged to take holidays away from the home and to visit friends and relations whenever you wish. When you are absent from the home for more than three days, including any time spent in hospital, 20% of the fees up to the amount of your personal contribution are normally refunded, for a maximum of six weeks in any one year. (In the case of shared rooms, the refund will be 30%). You will also be encouraged to visit the local shops or go out for walks, but whenever you leave, the Home Manager or member of staff should be notified.

Although the homes may have a cat, bird or tropical fish, there are generally no facilities for residents to keep pets.

Smoking and Alcohol
Smoking is not permitted in any part of a Bethesda Home. If practical, a sheltered area for smoking will be provided outside. The moderate personal use of alcohol in your room is permitted (although not encouraged). Alcohol must be securely kept in your room, preferably in a locked cupboard. Use of alcohol in the public rooms of the home will be permitted only on special occasions at the discretion of the Home Manager. No illegal drugs or substances are permitted in the Home at any time.

Television, Radio, Tape Players, PCs and tablets and similar devices.

Television sets are not allowed in Bethesda Homes; this also includes accessing on-line services that require a TV licence.
The homes are not licensed to receive television broadcasts such as TV channels like BBC, ITV, Channel 4; Pay TV services like Sky, Virgin Media and BT; live TV streaming services like YouTube and Amazon Prime Video; and everything on BBC iPlayer.
Radios, tape players, PCs and tablets and similar devices may be used in your own room but not in the public rooms of the Home if they cause disturbance to others. They are not to be used when services are being relayed into the Home, nor at the time of the morning or evening readings and prayer. It is realised that on the Lord’s Day residents may use these means to listen to services from their home chapels but it is important that discretion is used so this doesn’t become a distraction.
In the case of disturbance to other residents, the Home Manager may ask you to use headphones.

Use of the Internet
Wireless access to the internet is available to residents for their personal use. Bethesda, however, would encourage them to carefully and prayerfully consider the way in which they use this and would wish to be reassured that its use is in accordance with the fear of the Lord.

Tips and Personal Gifts
It is Bethesda’s policy to discourage personal gifts to staff, other than small token presents. ‘Tipping’ is not allowed. However, in special cases such as weddings and staff leaving after long service, collections may be made by residents among themselves.

You are advised to give serious consideration to making a will before or immediately after admission to the Home. No one employed by Bethesda is allowed to act as an executor or executrix, or witness the signing of the will, except where such arrangements have been made prior to application for admission to a home. On admission, you will be asked to give details of next of kin, executor, and any other relevant information.

Power of Attorney
You are advised to make arrangements to put Financial and Health and Welfare Power of Attorney in place before or as soon as possible after coming into the Home. These will only become active when you say they do, but it is helpful to have these in place against the time that they are needed.