We will not allow our residents quality of life to be negatively impacted because of Covid19. 

We know that as we are closed to visitors at this time, some of our residents will be feeling isolated. We are aware that the lack of visiting entertainment could lead to our residents feeling lonely and that boredom is an issue. 

However, we are doing everything we can to combat any loneliness they may be feeling by maintaining their usual routine as much as possible, and creating new ways of communicating with the outside world which they haven’t experienced before.

We wanted to outline what we’re currently putting in place in the wake of this situation, so you can rest assured we are doing our utmost to give our residents a safe; exciting, fun environment despite the outbreak of Covid19. 

Excercise 

One of our regular fitness sessions is held by Mr Dodd who visits the majority of our homes, and holds weekly sessions which our residents look forward too.  Because he is unable to physically teach in our homes at the moment, we are coming up with innovative ways for our residents to still do their regular sessions. 

Mr Dodd has taken the time to film videos for our residents so they can still interact with him on a regular basis. These will be accessible to residents across all of our homes. We will also be filming messages back to him so our residents can maintain the friendship and not feel disconnected from their usual routine. 

Our homes with Smart TV’s are finding excercise playlists for our residents. They’re having an active input on the type of excercise they want to do, such as our resident Doris who wanted to do some stretches and yoga.  Our wonderful carer Tracy at Laurel Lodge did the class with her on a one-to-one basis. 

Our managers, carers and activity coordinators are putting on in-house escercise sessions to maintain our residents levels of physical fitness. At Valentine House they’re doing games such as bowls and floor basketball which is not only good for keeping fit, but also a lot of fun. Westfield House have ordered a selection of outdoor games such as tennis and bowling so that our residents can still have the benefits of fresh air within the grounds of the home. 

Socialisation 

Our staff within our homes are putting so much effort into maintaining our residents relationships with the outside world, using various ingenious means, and we felt it was only proper we shout about what a wonderful job they’re doing. 

A number of our homes have decided to encourage our residents to write to one another and create relationships with people they’ve never met before. It means that when our homes do reopen our residents will have formed bonds and friendships which could last long after this situation ends. 

If this proves successful then we’ll be able to facilitate visits between our homes so they can get to know each other in person once this situation is resolved. 

Our wonderful partner charity Friend in Deed have been making arrangements for our homes to have as much contact with our Little Visitors as possible.

Our residents are receiving letters and drawings, as well as personalised message videos. We’re using our smart TV’s to video call with them so our residents still feel involved within their lives.  

We’ve had our first video call between resident Stan at Chiswick House, and his favourite little visitor Vinnie, and mum Emily. They’ve been friends for two years and it’s wonderful to see them so strong in the wake of the current situation. 

We have also recently began teaching our residents at The Beeches how to use the internet, and send and receive emails. We also showed them how to use the webcam on their new touchscreen computer, but staff will be on hand to assist if they should struggle getting online. This will allow them to have interaction with their friends and family anywhere in the world. 

Maintaining Routines 

We think it’s really important to maintain our usual routine wherever possible. The NHS lists making plans and sticking to a routine is a big part of maintaining your mental health when in isolation, and this is something we’re really focusing on across our homes. 

Under usual circumstances we’d have regular visits from hairdressers, entertainers and family and friends.  While those are on hold we are putting an effort into making sure the activities our residents expect still go ahead, with as little disruption as possible. 

At Chiswick House we hold a florist workshop monthly, which we thought would be unable to hold this month. But thankfully our activities coordinator Sharon managed to get hold of all the things we needed, and our residents were able to do their usual lesson. 

At Drummonds and Valentine House in Essex we regularly hold pottery classes with the wonderful Sean, we’ve made arrangements for him to hold these classes digitally so our residents can still follow his lead in their sessions, using a projector screen.

The sessions will take place at their usual time and will allow our residents to still get the workshop experience they look forward too, and means that our entertainers are able to still work even when they cant physically visit our residents. 

All of our homes have clubs which run on either a weekly or monthly basis, and based on the current situation a number of our residents are happy for the clubs to become more regular. We have a number of clubs from gardening, cookery and art all the way to knit and natter and poetry. These will be provided whenever possible by our staff, and on a more frequent schedule than before.  This will help to alleviate boredom and encourage our residents to engage socially with each other, while learning new skills. 

Sharing Information 

We believe that one of the most important things we can be in a situation like this is transparent. We have kept our residents and their families up-to-date with each of our policy changes which have been based purely on the Care Quality Commission and Public Health England’s advice, and government legislation. 

We have held residents meetings to ensure they understand the current situation, and why we have made the decisions we have. This is also a way for us to get feedback from our residents on how we’re dealing with the situation, as we always value the feedback which can help us improve in the future. 

It was in one of these meetings where our residents told us just how much they missed the Little Visitors, and one of the reasons we have made such a push towards getting as many of our collaborators involved digitally with our residents, even when they cant physically be present. 

We also have regularly updated guidelines within the homes for our residents, and staff are on hand to answer any questions. We feel the best way to support our residents is for them to fully understand the situation, so they can make suggestions about what would make this isolation period better for them. 

We are also going to design some wellbeing posters with useful tips for our residents, so nobody has to suffer boredom or anxiety unnecessarily. These will be made available to the homes on completion to be displayed, and will include useful tips to help keep your mind busy, limit anxiety and get a good nights sleep. 

Furthermore, we are currently in the process of designing an isolation questionnaire for our residents to feedback to us on how we’re dealing with the situation from their point of view. If there are any areas in which we can improve we want to know about them so we can address them accordingly. We are a company who are always willing to progress and we think it’s important our residents have their say. 

We have also ordered in new equipment for this isolation period such as tabletop and board games, DVD’s and projectors, music, books and webcams so family and friends can speak to our residents using the cameras on the in-home Ipad, Smart TV, or computer.  

We know this situation is difficult but we appreciate your support at this time, and ask that you respect our wish to limit visitors into our homes. It is to ensure the safety of our resident group. 

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@blackswancare