The care sector is packed to bursting with dedicated, passionate, and hardworking healthcare assistants who go above and beyond to do an amazing job every single day. However, care home happy news is simply not shared often – or widely – enough.
Here are just a few great news stories which celebrate how local care homes are successfully improving the lives of the older people they work with. I’m sure you will agree that each one is truly inspiring.
Talking parrots make resident’s day
Lucky resident, Eileen, got to realise her lifelong dream of holding a talking parrot, thanks to her care home group’s ‘Wishing Line’ initiative. Kim Dean, the home manager, said: “It was wonderful to see Eileen and her friends enjoying their time with the parrots. We launched the wishing line as we wanted to give our residents the opportunity to do something they love and thought they’d never get the chance to do. It has been really fantastic learning about all of our residents’ interests, life stories and wishes”. Following the visit, Eileen commented: “I have always loved birds, especially parrots, so when we started the wishing line, I said that I have always wanted to hold a parrot that talks. It was such a wonderful experience that I will always remember. When Heidi the parrot said “hello”, it absolutely made my day. The parrots were very chatty, especially Heidi, and I was very surprised at how well she could speak.”
The Big Draw Festival
Care home residents across the UK have been picking up their paintbrushes, pastels and pencils and getting involved in the Big Draw Festival. Launched in 2000, the month-long event promotes drawing as a tool for learning and invention and has encouraged over four million people to get arty since its inception. Resident Dee, 95, who painted Van Gogh’s Starry Night, said: “I have always enjoyed painting. It’s soothing and creative. As a child, my parents would often let me sit and draw for hours. No matter your age, you must try and try again – you’ll be surprised at what you can do”. In another home, residents and team members created their own giant tree, which was made from cardboard, leaves, feathers and pipe cleaners, and featured pencil sketches and paintings of wildlife animals, which the residents made themselves.
Champagne and vintage bus tour makes for care home happy news
Heath care assistants at this care home treated residents to a vintage bus tour complete with a glass of bubbly. Service users and staff alike enjoyed singing along to ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’ amongst other show tunes as they were chauffer driven around local sights on a vintage vehicle from 1949. Care homeowner, Jane Roberts, said: “It is fabulous to see that all of the residents and staff involved in the bus tour had such an amazing time… we always encourage activities that encourage reminiscence, as well as getting out and about in the community”.
Snakes and ladders board game designed to reduce falls
Finally, talented Quality Improvement Lead, Vanessa Gail, has designed a new board game for residents across her care home group to support the regular falls prevention training she carries out across all her care homes. The aim of the game is to travel across the board, using magnetic counters, to a safe finish. Some squares send the player forward based on actions which prevent a slip, trip, or fall, or they are sent backwards for negative actions or taking short cuts in care. Example instructions are: ‘You used your call bell to request assistance to walk safely’ and ‘You tripped over a box that was left in the corridor’. The board game helps to facilitate discussion about falls preventions and ways to maintain positive health and work practices. Vanessa commented: “I developed this game to complement our training. I’ve really enjoyed seeing it come to life and being played during the pilot. Feedback has been very positive, and many residents have found it an engaging activity. I look forward to seeing the impact it has in our homes”.
There is no denying that the inspirational ways that HCAs are engaging care home residents should be applauded. Healthcare assistants really are a special breed of people. Here at QS, we know how important it is to communicate and honour the great work that care home staff are doing which goes above and beyond the call of duty – and we know that the above stories only provide a small snapshot of what is happening behind the scenes every day.