Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

St Rognvald’s House (Kirkwall)

Off Old Scapa Road, Kirkwall, KW15 1BB. Telephone: 01856872106. Fax: 01856876853. Email: Shirley Harcus (unit lead) or Inga Wood (Admin).


The home has 40 permanent residents and 4 short break care beds. The home is divided into 2 separate Suite’s:

  • St Mary’s Suite provides care for residents who have been assessed as having a dementia type illness.
  • St Magnus Suite provides care for individuals who are elderly highly dependent/physically frail.

There are 6 bedroom wings, made up of 28 bedrooms with en-suite facilities and 16 bedrooms with a wash hand basin. Each room has a wardrobe, chest of drawers and a bedroom chair, along with matching curtains and duvet covers. Individuals are encouraged to make their rooms their own by bringing in personal affects, decorations, pictures, small items of furniture and photos. This enables the individual to feel at home and assist in the “settling in process”. To assist in identifying their own room bedroom doors can be personalised by adding pictures as well as their name.

Bedroom doors are lockable in order to promote the individual’s right to privacy and security of personal possessions. Lockable drawers are also available on request. Residents may bring in their own televisions, videos and music centres. Electrical equipment brought into the home will be subject to an electrical check prior to being authorised for use in the home. Senior staff will provide guidance on this issue.

There are small lounges on each of the wings, which have a range of easy chairs, a television, video and music centre. There is also a dining room just off the front entrance hall, this includes two small easy chairs if any residents wish to sit and enjoy the view. All residents may choose freely where they sit during the day, whether it is in one of the lounges or in their own room.

There is a communal bathroom and a separate toilet in each wing, all large enough to enable wheelchair access. In total there are four electrically operated baths with hoists to assist access, two manually operated baths and wheelchair accessible shower facilities. Electric baths may be used by residents to bathe themselves, thus ensuring privacy and independence. However, staff are required to assess the individual’s ability to carry out this task safely.

All visitors are asked to sign the visitors book to follow best practice and comply with the Fire Safety Policy for St Rognvald House should an outbreak of fire occur. Seated foyer area, door fitted with keypad, all visitors to St Rognvald House to check in with Admin within office hours for access to unit and press bell for assistance out with office hours and at weekends. Regular family members and visitors will be issued with access code for keypad.

Unit Leader’s office is located at front entrance where we uphold an open door policy and encourage family members and visitors to drop in and discuss any query or issue.

Philosophy of Care

St Rognvald House staff tries to create a happy and homely environment where individual rights, freedom of choice, privacy, dignity and independence are promoted, respected and maintained. Residents are encouraged to lead as independent and normal a lifestyle as their abilities allow. All residents are encouraged to participate in the planning of their care needs and the formation of their individual care plans to reflect their individual choices and preferences.

Before Moving In

St. Rognvald's House encourages all residents to bring with them personal possessions (any small, personal and sentimental items such as photographs, pictures and ornaments). It would be appreciated that all clothing be named to ensure safety of personal clothing. Small items of furniture may also be brought in, but space may be limited. Please discuss this with a Senior member of staff and we will do our best to accommodate you. If you bring in any personal items with you, may we suggest that you take out any necessary insurance cover. Bringing in soft furnishings is prohibited due to the risk of fire.

Taking up Residence

We strongly advise that the trial period expires prior to the resident selling or passing on property, in case it is felt that St Rognvald House is not the right placement. Individuals are free to leave the home at any time (either before or after the introductory period). Every assistance will be given in finding the right alternative accommodation.

Daily life at St Rognvald House

We try to make life in St Rognvald House as flexible as possible. Inevitably there are some basic routines, but these are guidelines for the staff and residents and we try to maintain a degree of flexibility in order to cater for the individual residents’ needs. The residents choose what time they wish to get up, when and where they eat breakfast, what they choose to wear for the day and when they retire in the evening, for example.

Breakfast is served daily between 08:00 and 11:00 and a choice of menu is printed and displayed on the dining room tables at breakfast time.

Lunch is from 12:00 and high tea is served between 16:00 and 18:00.

These times are guidelines and meal times are flexible to meet individual needs. Staff will provide tea and coffee at mid-morning and mid-afternoon but refreshments are available at any time, day or night.

All residents are provided with the choice of at least two different options at meal times. Should they wish to choose something not on the daily menus, the kitchen staff will do their best to accommodate this.


A laundry service is provided which caters for bed-linen, towels and personal laundry. Personal laundry may be done by the residents’ families if this is their preference. The laundry department will ensure that all laundry is well maintained and undertake running repairs as required. To ensure that personal laundry is returned to its rightful owner, we advise that all clothes are labelled.

St Rognvald House cannot take responsibility for items damaged whilst being laundered. All clothing must be machine washable therefore we do not advise bringing in woollen wear and or delicate fabrics. Key workers can assist to purchase items of clothing for residents if instructed to do so by the individuals or their families.

Books and Newspapers

St Rognvald House offer a small mobile library of the home’s own books some donated by the local library. Large print books and talking books are also available for residents who have sensory impairment. Newspapers can be ordered from local newsagents. If necessary, an account will be set up between the newsagent and the individual resident.

Spiritual Needs

Various denominations take it in turn to provide this service and all are welcome. All residents are asked whether they wish to attend the service each Sunday and be brought to the relevant area to take part.

A church service is held in the main dining room each Sunday afternoon, below is list of Churches participating and when, everyone invited to attend:

  • Salvation Army on the 1st Sunday of the month at 15:00.
  • Cathedral on the 2nd Sunday of every month at 14:30.
  • East Kirk is on the 3rd Sunday of each month at 14:30.
  • Baptist Church is on the 4th Sunday of each month at 14:30.
  • Congregational Church is on the 5th Sunday of the month at 14:30

Alcohol and Smoking

Residents are able to keep alcohol in the home, except where drinking is not advised for medical reasons – in these circumstances this will be fully discussed and agreed with you. However, should a resident have a tendency to overindulge, causing distress to other residents or staff, then St Rognvald House reserves the right to refuse the resident permission to consume alcohol on the premises. Smoking is usually supervised by a member of staff in one designated smoking area.


St Rognvald House has an open visiting policy whereby all families and friends are welcome to visit at any time. Visitors are requested to sign the visitors' book at the front entrance. This is to ensure that we know who is in the building in the event of a fire. In the event of Fire Alarms being activated all visitors to make their way as quickly as possible to front entrance where senior on duty will advise on outcome.


A mobile pay telephone is available for resident use. Private lines may also be installed into bedrooms, providing all costs are met by the resident or their family.


Residents are encouraged to keep their own money. However, the home does have a small safe where we can keep up to £100 per resident and where valuable items, such as jewellery, can be stored for safe keeping.


The home pays for a communal television license, but those wishing to have their own television in their private room are responsible for a further nominal fee which is payable annually. Residents over 75 years of age are exempt from this charge.

Going on Holiday or Taking a Trip

Residents are free to come and go as they wish, be it for part of a day, a weekend or a holiday. All we ask is that the senior staff at St Rognvald House are informed. St Rognvald House staff will assist where necessary in making arrangements.

We would appreciate it if we were informed of your holiday arrangements well in advance so that we can arrange to have the appropriate supply of medication available for the holiday date, if applicable.

Leisure Activities

We try to provide a variety of leisure activities and outings to support residents to keep alert, active and in contact with the community. Where the residents have interests, hobbies and contacts outside the home, we try to help them maintain these links with their community and groups.


Local SWRI groups visit St Rognvald House several times a year and provide various forms of entertainment. Musicians do visit and provide musical evenings periodically. Residents can also go to concerts in town and surrounding areas. St Rognvald House offers a full range of activities and are promoting meaningful activities that are of special interest to residents. We encourage and help with all kinds of handicrafts.

St Rognvald House has its own small Berlingo bus which allows two service users and carer trips out. Dial-a-Bus can be used by residents wishing to fund their own trips out, provided the resident is a member.

Meaningful Activity

What people describe as a meaningful activity can differ depending on their own life experiences, expectations, values and circumstances. At St Rognvald's House, we believe that activity:

  • Is central to giving meaning to life and can enrich and enhance people’s lives.
  • Is not to kill time but to make time to live.
  • Does not keep a person occupied but instead keeps them refreshed.
  • Does not to offer an escape from life but instead finds a discovery of life.

Management and staff at St Rognvald House realise that it is an essential part of daily living to include meaningful activities that will give service users a sense of purpose and achievement and are supported to take part, any information that family have on past interests that they are willing to divulge would be greatly appreciated.


We have various exotic birds which live outside in a purpose built aviary. There is also a pond in the garden with several fish. Families who have dogs are encouraged to bring them into the home to visit residents and we also arrange for Therapet to visit.

There are several fish tanks located throughout the home which house tropical fish and goldfish, it is very therapeutic for service users to sit and watch the fish swimming about.

Residents’ Meetings

St. Rognvald House schedules resident meetings twice a year, this was the resident’s decision and is reviewed regularly. These enable the residents to make comments and suggestions on anything that they may wish to discuss. We have recently introduced these meetings being chaired by an independent chairperson, in an informal manner to allow service users to freely discuss any subject.

Services Provided

All meals, accommodation, electricity and in-house laundering of clothes are included in the fee which you are charged.  Bed-linen and towels are provided as part of the service. Residents are free to have their own linen and towels. We would advise that all items be clearly marked with the resident’s name.

Other Services

The following additional services are available but incur a charge:

  • Hairdressing – full hair dressing service is available weekly.
  • Royal Voluntary Service staff attend around the unit with a trolley filled with a selection of items, toiletries, sweets, biscuits and soft drinks can be purchased.


Pension books may be retained by the residents. Alternatively they may be handed-in to the Council who will collect your pension, subtract your accommodation expenses and send the balance to the home where the monies will be entered into a personal pocket-money account.


St Rognvald House is covered by Employers’ liability insurance however it is the responsibility of each individual to ensure that their personal possessions are covered by their own insurance.


There are call bells in all rooms for you to use if you need help urgently, and staff carry pagers so that they can get to you quickly.

If you need help to move around, or to do certain things, we make sure that both you and the people helping you can do it safely. Staff are trained to move and transfer people in ways that are safe, including in the use of any equipment they need to do this.

In the event of a fire in the building, all staff knows what to do and how to make sure that all service users are safe. Fire drills are carried out regularly, the purpose of these being to assess the effectiveness of the Fire Procedures in place in the premises. Testing of Fire Alarms takes place weekly to ensure system is in good working order.

Medical Matters

The home has a medication system by which the chemist supplies a weekly dosage into individual containers. Residents able to do so are encouraged to keep their own dispensers and take their own medication. However, if, due to incapacity they are unable to do so, trained staff will administer the medication to the residents.

Wherever possible, residents are encouraged to keep their own doctor. The only exception to this is where they have moved outside their GP’s catchment area. In such an event, the residents will be able to choose the GP they wish to register with.

Medical attention may be sought by the individual residents by liaising with the Senior Staff, who may phone the doctor on their behalf if they are unable or unwilling to call their GP themselves. The senior member of staff on duty should be informed if a doctor has been called.

Appointments of dentists and opticians can be arranged upon request and, where possible the individual will attend the appointment out with the home. Families are encouraged to provide an escort to appointments however if this is not possible an escort will be provided. 

Hospital Stay

Should the resident require admission to hospital, St. Rognvald House will keep the resident’s place open. Throughout the stay in hospital, the home will keep in touch with the ward to monitor the resident’s condition.

Energy Awareness

In a bid to be more environmentally friendly we are trying to conserve energy where possible. One of the methods we are employing is to switch off lights, televisions and radios when they are not in use. This not only is good for the pocket but good for the environment.

Sensory Room

The sensory rooms or snoozelums has various pieces of equipment, bubble tube, fibre optic curtain and projector and wheel rotator designed to be both calming and stimulating depending on the service users needs. The attractive diffused light creates visual interest as it radiates out of the bubbles and the vibration of the tube provides tactile effects. People can place hands, feet and face against the tube or wrap their arms around it to feel the soothing vibrations. This facility gives choice and control to those we care for, empowering them to stimulate their senses.