Coronavirus: How Shropshire care providers are lifting the spirits of residents and staff during lockdown
Care home residents have been given a much-needed boost during the coronavirus lockdown. Life is very different at the moment within care settings and people are missing their visits from family and friends and some of the activities that they used to do. Whilst these measures are strictly necessary, they have meant residents’ needs have changed and their carers have had to respond accordingly.
Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adult social care, public health and climate change, said:-
“We know that lack of contact with loved ones can have a detrimental impact on a person’s wellbeing. A lot of care home residents and other vulnerable adults have been used to regular visits, so lockdown has been difficult. The job has changed significantly for carers – as the only person some residents/clients will be seeing, our carers have been to great lengths to lift their spirits. I’m very proud of the thoughtful and inventive ways they’ve gone about this.”
Here are some of the things being done to spread the positivity.
Cheswardine Hall, Market Drayton
Staff and residents of Cheswardine Hall have collaborated to create a daisy emblem in recognition of the life-changing work carers do. As an extension to the rainbow logo widely-used to recognise key workers, Cheswardine wanted something unique to them, something to call their own and set about designing.
Dominic Poole, general manager said:
“We have had a really busy lockdown period, residents, staff and relatives all playing a part in this changing world we now see ourselves in. Spirits have been kept high, we ‘locked-down’ before the Government made the decision themselves, and it would appear a prudent move as we have thus far been COVID-19 free, so testament to the team and the support we have had from our relatives. Our team now proudly display their daisies, and should MP Matt Hancock read his emails he will also have sight of this initiative!”
At Roseville House in Wem the team have been holding weekly themed party nights celebrating staying in including a karaoke, Makaton choir session and a good old-fashioned barbeque in the garden.
Jake Allen, Registered Manager, said:
“The six people we support at Roseville have coped extremely well with not only the current restrictions in place but also the hot weather – something which on its own is problematic. The outhouse has been transformed into a bar, a shop, a market stall and a barbers in attempts to make things as ‘normal’ as possible.”
For Affinity Homecare, who provide domiciliary care in peoples own homes, lockdown has been a time of unprecedented demand on the service. New clients have come into the service and some existing clients have had additional needs, taking the service to full capacity.
Melissa Morgan, Registered manager, said:
“We’re working very hard to ensure we are following the guidelines to ensure staff, clients and their families are safe. We are very proud of our team for pulling out all stops, from rescuing a client stranded at the supermarket to arranging food parcel delivery for those who can’t get out to shop. We also had to arrange distribution of adequate PPE and been in more regular contact with clients’ families to make them aware of what’s going on. For their hard work, I am currently putting together a little thank you bag for each member of the team – this includes an angel keyring, a tealight candle, a packet of sweets (for energy), tea bag or coffee or squash, a slice of their favourite cake and some hand cream.”
The Wheatlands Care Home, Much Wenlock
With the help of year eight pupils from Bridgnorth Endowed school, residents of the Wheatland, run by Barchester Healthcare, have been treated to artwork inspired by the Shropshire countryside.
The youngsters, who are currently studying from home during the lockdown, produced pictures around the theme of ‘bringing the outside in’, for an eye-catching display in the care home’s garden.
Claire Brewer, Wheatlands general manager, said
“The community links have helped uplift the spirits of residents, who have been coping well throughout the difficult pandemic period. As our residents are now unable to go out or have visitors to stay safe, this has really cheered them up and made them smile. Thank you so much to all the Bridgnorth Endowed students for their extremely talented artwork, which has taken pride of place in our sensory garden.”
At Goodwood Homecare they expressed kindness with cake, sending each and every client a cupcake to cheer them up during Mental Health Awareness Week. Carers have also been sharing their technological know-how by helping clients with video calls to relatives.
Julie Claassen, registered manager said:
“Everyone really loved the cakes – a small act of kindness to lift spirits. Our clients appreciated the gesture, so we’ve decided to do the same for our brilliant carers too.”
At CLCA nursing, Clinical Manager Paul has had his mother and mother-in-law kept busy by making mask extenders for staff and clients. Lovingly homemade, the extenders take the pressure of the backs of the ears when wearing a PPE mask.
Andy Connell, Marketing Manager, said:
“When hearing of the pain people get when wearing masks for a long period of time, Paul’s family made and donated the lovely extenders to help keep us comfortable. We received a visit from Stefan from the Freemasons of Shropshire who kindly donated visors to CLCA to help our staff and clients.”
Four Rivers Nursing Homes, Ludlow
Four Rivers have welcomed the use of tablets to facilitate face to face call between residents and their families. This has been a positive experience. Many families were experiencing this technology for the first time, and it has given them confidence and skills in something that previously they would have dismissed as being beyond their capabilities.
Christine Thomas, Nursing Home Manager, said:
“It has been great to see the joy when residents and their loved ones continue to have these connections. We have even used Skype and Facetime to share birthday celebrations and opening of cards and presents. Prior to coronavirus the only option for families who live far away or outside the UK was a voice call, but now they have the option to use Skype or Facetime to be able to see their loved ones. This has resulted in calls to loved ones in USA, Singapore and Australia. We are in the process of using other technology such as larger screen devices to enhance this facility even further.”
Over the last two weeks Four Rivers have also facilitated socially-distanced visiting in the garden with a loved one, when the weather allows.
“We recently had a 95th birthday and the carers decorated an outside seating area with banners and bunting. This was turned out to be a joyful occasion instead of what could have been a ‘lockdown’ birthday without his beloved wife. It was heartwarming to witness the delighted reaction of both parties.”
Carers from Woodcote Hall in Newport entertained residents by staging a lively Abba singalong.