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Keeping spirits high during COVID19 – Part 2

Thursday 28th May 2020

Keeping spirits high during COVID19 – Part 2

Welcome to the second part of our round up of innovative ideas from care homes during COVID19. We’ve been truly overwhelmed with the number of responses, with each and every one showing the lengths those working within health and social care are going to keep residents active, busy and happy at this tricky time.

Our latest post features care homes from across the UK, with ideas ranging from big and small to simple and slightly more complex. Read more below and get inspired.

Making use of gyms for rehab

At Askham Village Community in Doddington, the team are using a new approach to rehab which has proven to be so beneficial that it could continue after the pandemic. With five homes on one site, the innovative idea has seen rehab residents move into the gym area. This has mitigated the risk of cross infection, while more naturally introducing rehab into a part of resident’s daily lives.

The rehab and care teams are now working closer together, with immense learning from all sides. Better still, staff are able to see the progress residents are making much more clearly, contributing to a more holistic rehab environment.

Games and puzzles on screen

Askham have also received an OMI mobile projector, which can be moved around to project onto walls and over-bed tables. Residents can play a number of games and activities, such as functional puzzles and reminiscence. The projector was in the pipeline prior to the pandemic, however thanks to fundraising efforts it’s been brought forward to support residents at a time when they can’t do many of their usual activities.

Messaging apps and news feeds

Carrying on the technology theme and Askham have also set up and rolled out a private messaging app called Yapster. The app is similar to WhatsApp but is fully GDPR compliant so staff contact information remains hidden.

Staff can instantly send messages within their teams or direct to colleagues, with a news feed allowing successes to be celebrated and policy information to be conveyed. The app has also helped cut through social media misinformation, with a feed sharing facts and official advice around COVID19. Overall, it’s allowed for communication to be clear and frequent, at a time where it’s more important than ever.

Cardboard tank for VE Day

At Upfield Care Home in Horley, residents celebrated VE Day with a project to build a tank! The tank was made out of cardboard which required days of searching, planning and constructing. Once complete, the tank was placed on the drive outside the care home which grabbed the attention of impressed passers-by.

Specialising in care for adults with autism and learning disabilities, the Cavendish Care Home participate in many local community events and last year won an award at Horley Carnival.

Prader-Willi Superheroes

To help spread positivity during a difficult time, Voyage Care have launched a campaign to celebrate everyone’s efforts in adapting to lockdown life. They’ve received stories from a number of their homes, with fun and innovative ideas keeping residents in good spirits.

At Redbank House, the team and residents have been thinking outside the box to come up with the ‘Prader-Willi Superheroes in Lockdown’ movie trailer. Residents at Redbank usually perform plays for family members, but due to current restrictions, creating a movie trailer is the next best thing. The new drama project sees a family of four fight off their enemy, Prader-Willi syndrome, with the help of their own superpowers!

Watch the trailer here.

COVID19 character challenge

Elsewhere at Voyage Care, Operations Manager, Michelle set her services a special COVID-19 challenge. The task involved residents and staff creating a character but with some challenging criteria — names had to begin with C, characters needed to be physically made from household items, and they also needed have a role in the service, such as listening to concerns or keeping people safe.

A winner and runners up were picked, including COVID-Cat, COVID-Caterpillar and Countess Clover of Cloverdale!

 

Helping foodbanks, providing hampers and more

Longmore Road are another Voyage Care home adjusting to a new way of life, but thanks to the generosity of staff and residents, they’re also helping those in need. With many usual activities such as day trips and visits to the park not possible, staff have been thinking of new ways that residents can stay active and productive.

Mandy usually enjoys journeys in the car, but now she’s found a new way to help others while still getting out and about and maintaining social distancing. Mandy and members of the team collected tinned goods and other items after they heard a local foodbank was running short of supplies — Mandy was thrilled to be part of the delivery team.

The ladies at Longmore Road have also helped to make up hampers for staff at their local hospital. Linda Neilson, manager at Longmore Road, said: “All the ladies like to be part of the community and do things to help. One of our support staff has a sister who works on the end of life ward and as you can imagine they are having a tough time.

“We made up one hamper with lots of different sorts of tea, coffee, squash, biscuits and cakes and another one with shower gels and other toiletries for the staff who stay overnight.”

They’ve also bought Bluetooth microphones to help sing their way through the pandemic! The service is home to the sound of continual karaoke sessions, with performances from both the residents and the staff! Instead of regular visits from their local singer, they are now also receiving YouTube performances of their favourite songs so they can keep singing.

Beach themed BBQs and discos

At Mentaur Group, care homes nationwide have been doing all they can to enable positive outcomes for residents whilst ensuring everybody is kept safe and healthy.

At Herons Lodge, a beach themed BBQ was organised to allow people to enjoy the good weather whilst participating in sensory activities such as playing with sand, water, and soap-bubbles. Off duty staff also came in for the BBQ showing their commitment and making a positive experience for everybody.

In Northampton, staff at The Berkeley have set up a weekly in-house disco to spread some positivity and good feeling through dancing and music. Residents look forward to the activity, which helps them really get through the week.

Playing games and an isolation party

Highpoint Care run two purpose built, state of the art care homes in the North West, both of which have been home to an array of actives and sessions to ensure residents and their loved ones maintain strong contact.

This includes posting regular picture updates through Facebook, continuing weekly activity blogs on their website and also arranging video calls between residents and families. The homes also utilises technology like the Nintendo Wii, with residents playing against each other and having some friendly competition. As well as receiving thank you cards and messages of support, local students have written in to check how everyone is getting on.

Most popular with residents was an isolation party which was hosted in the gardens of both of homes. A local entertainer put on a fantastic concert, with residents watching in the garden and others alongside carers from their bedroom windows.

Putting greens and garden pubs

At a Hft service in Bampton, support worker Dawn Chamberlain noticed that one of the people she supports, Glen, was experiencing low moods as a result of missing the groups and activities he usually attends on a weekly basis. She was keen to find a solution, so instead of visiting the golf course as normal, Dawn created a cardboard putting green for Glen in the garden. This has lifted Glen’s spirits by minimising disruption to his routine, and he’s benefited from spending time outdoors and doing some exercise.

In Kingsteignton, a support worker has used an imaginative idea to create a new space for people to enjoy. When lockdown first began, Brian Lopez noticed people were missing their weekly trip to the pub, which forms an important chance to get out into the community and socialise with one another. In response, he decided to transform the shed in the service’s garden into a ‘pub’, complete with pool table, where people can now enjoy a change of scenery and a chat with housemates over a drink and some refreshments.

Heartfelt messages

In Ellesmere Port, at Astbury Lodge, staff have placed hearts on the outside railings for passersby to leave messages for residents. The messages are collected every day and then shared with residents who always look forward to reading them.

 Ice creams, gifts and fitness classes

Finally, at Parkview Care Home, residents and staff enjoyed a visit from EMA Catering who provided ice-creams and refreshments during the recent hot weather. Food parcels have also kindly been delivered from TK Maxx in Bexleyheath, with other food and gift donations flooding in from the local community.

As well as that, Energie Fitness have generously offered all Avante Care & Support staff free access to their live fitness classes to help support staff with their fitness, nutrition and wellbeing during what is a particularly stressful time.

Claire Evans, Home Manager said: “Keeping our residents safe, healthy, engaged and entertained is our main focus but equally the wellbeing of my care team is vital to continue to be able to provide the care and support required through these unprecedented times.”

Share your ideas

That’s all for our latest round-up. A big thank you as always to all those inspiring health and care workers who are doing all they can to make sure no one feels isolated or down at this tricky time.

If you’d like to share the innovative ideas you’ve come up with to meet the challenges associated with COVID-19, please email necsu.marketing@nhs.net . We’ll be able to share them in future bulletins, as well as through Facebook and Twitter so other care homes can adopt ideas and ensure their residents remain active, happy and in good spirits.