Kindness is the most important attribute.
We recently advertised a new post for an Activities Coordinator. One of our residents, Bella Watkins was asked if she would like to sit on the interview panel, she was delighted to be asked and agreed straight away!
The evening prior to the interview, Bella asked staff to help her choose her ‘power clothes’ for the interview and spoke with the staff informing them exactly what she was looking for in a candidate. Kindness was the most important attribute she told us.
Bella was up at 7am on the day of the interviews, she instructed the staff on the style she wanted her hair. An additional member of care staff assisted Bella getting dressed whilst another attended to her make-up and choice of scent. After the ‘team’ had worked on Bella she was ready, confident and prepared!
When the interview started Bella asked the candidates about their intentions for activities in the home, she told them what she liked to do during the day and her expectations of them. ‘We don’t just want War music and Bingo” she said.
The successful candidate told us afterwards that it was great to be given the opportunity to ask at interview what activities the residents would like to take part in. She looked forward to working with Bella to plan and facilitate activities.
This experience enabled Bella to be a part of the decision process within her home and enable her to have a voice. Bella commented, “I’ve always been a good judge of character” She certainly is!
Thank you to Nathan Corfield, Spring Gardens Residential Home.
We are proud to offer a home that strengthens the cultural identity of residents, relatives and staff. We found that simply greeting someone or understanding an expression of discomfort in Welsh can make a huge difference to the resident’s care.
We offer Welsh activities, entertainment, conversation and literature for the residents on themes of: food, history, legends, clothes, holidays, eisteddfods and more. In the sessions residents have varied reactions with different levels of engagement: some will enjoy the Welsh conversation and participate in the whole session whilst others may only respond on hearing the Welsh hymns for example. We adapt the session to the needs of the residents, sometimes spending a short time one to one with residents who choose not to join the group session.
Welsh language development training for staff has been well received, this weekly training gives staff the confidence to try out new skills and support each other. One resident who lives with Dementia and has Welsh as a first language helps staff who are learning Welsh.
Welsh sessions are used for reminiscence and importantly to gather stories that inform us of the people we care for. One resident who prefers to stay in his room most days will attend the Welsh sessions and share his experiences of choirs and his younger years. Whilst living with short term memory loss he continues to recall events from his past with clarity. He also enjoyed a trip to a local Eisteddfod in Maesteg with other residents, where he enthusiastically recalled the days when he entered the Eisteddfod as a child. This was all made possible by respecting cultural needs and encouraging the sharing of stories in Welsh.
Diana Purnell is the registered manager of Foxtroy House in South Wales
We have been looking at different ways that we can improve our care home and our relationships with our residents – we are always asking ourselves: ‘how can we put more effort into the residents and their lives?’ There are always the same old struggles but what can we do and what new ideas can we come up with?
With our activity co-ordinator Leanne, one thing we have done is to personalise each room with pictures on each resident’s door and cork boards in each room, tailored to them. We have a board on each resident’s door with their name and a picture they choose – either of themselves or something that means something to them. So for example, if they like gardening, we might put a picture of a flower on their door.
Inside the room, we have a cork board. When a resident first comes to the home we sit down with them and find out more about them – what they like and what’s important to them. We put this information on their board, so that anyone who comes to their room knows what this might be – it might just be how they like their tea or something about their life, which visitors and staff can connect to. Continue Reading
Over the years we’ve had a relationship with different groups of young people in our care home but we had lost contact with them, so we decided to start to build the links up again. It wasn’t completely straightforward – when we first started to try to find groups to link with some of them said that they had other things going on and weren’t able to commit to visits, even not very often. But we’ve kept trying and now have a good relationship with our local Girl Guides and Scouts, and different age groups from schools, who all visit the home regularly.
One thing that’s worked really well has been coordinating with the school about what the children are working on and building in the care home visit opportunity. For example, our Activities Coordinator went in to visit the primary school children beforehand and read the group a story designed to help children understand people with dementia. Then they had a group activity drawing pictures of their grannies and grandads for a display in the front of the care home, which was waiting for them when they arrived. Continue Reading
A manager shares plans for a really special event commemorating residents’ memories and the war experiences of them and and their families – with a theme of forgiveness.
It all started when our local MP realised that the children in our area didn’t really know that much about the history of the area and wanted to encourage them to do a school project. Our care home is actually built on former munitions factory land and of course lots of our residents have first-hand experience of what the war was like!
We decided that we wanted to do something a little bit different what you might expect from a war commemoration so we started thinking about a theme of forgiveness. After a quick Google search for ‘forgiveness’, we found out about The Forgiveness Project. They have already developed a pack for schools which they gave us to use so a lot of the work was done for us! Continue Reading
Gillian is the manager of a small residential care home with 20 residents in Edinburgh.
My story to share is about something we call ‘Funday Friday’. One day a month, one of my team gets to walk in my shoes and be in charge of the care home for the day.
You might be responding the way my deputy did when I first told her – she thought it was the most ludicrous idea she’d ever heard. But we have a great team, very close knit and lots of them have worked in our care home for years, and they really deserve something to make them feel special. So eventually, I won her round!
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