Support for Care Homes

Healthwatch Warwickshire is talking to Care Home Managers to find out how residents are being supported during the pandemic. We are also asking what extra support your care home might need, both now and in the coming months.
lady being cared for

Are you, or do you know a care home manager?

Healthwatch Warwickshire is undertaking a project to offer support to Care Homes during this difficult time. We would like to find, and share, examples of best practice. How are residents being supported; how have loved ones been able to keep in touch with residents? What extra support will care homes need to get through the next few months and beyond? 

We would like to call you to talk through how things are and what would help you to support your residents at this difficult time. If you would like a Healthwatch Representative to call you, please contact us:

or call 01926 422823

Here is what you have told us is working well ... 

We’re using our visiting rooms to celebrate Christmas every day in December, so family members can share a safe Christmas dinner with their loved one. Christmas is about family whether that’s the 25th or the 14th, so we’ve invited all relatives to have Christmas with their loved one in a way that keeps everyone safe. Christmas meals have already been held by several families across the group and we’re getting incredibly positive feedback from residents and family members.
— WCS Care
We are hoping that we will be able to have face to face visits again. We hope that flow testing i.e. ongoing testing will happen and will be helpful
We’ve been dancing. Staff instigated regular dancing in the homes which raised everyone’s morale.
— WCS Care
We are putting a team together to lead on how we will have relatives visiting the home safely.
We held a residents and relatives meeting on Zoom which was really successful
— Cherry Trees, Alcester
The support from outside has been phenomenal. We had lots of letters from the local people saying they hoped we were okay. The residents wanted to give something back so they wrote messages on leaves and we put them on trees around the local community.
— Mockley Manor, Henley in Arden
We have had a classical singer in the garden, the neighbours joined in it was so good, the residents all loved it.
— Royal Leamington Spa
We have created a Facebook page updated normally every day, sometimes every other day to share what's happening in the home with families and extended families of residents. We've had some great feedback about this and how people feel connected. When family members call, they have something to chat about when they've seen the sort of activities residents have been enjoying doing.
— Greenways, Long Itchington.
We asked our local communities to help us create ‘busy boxes’ full of items to keep people entertained in lockdown and received games, books and other items as well as letters, cards and pictures from members of the community and school children. This has resulted in ongoing penpal friendships in some cases.
— WCS Care
The Activities Coordinator keeps a diary of calls to make, she skypes all over the world for residents. The diary helps her keep track of who might need extra support to stay in touch with people.
— Mockley Manor, Henley in Arden
We have a visitor pod and we have been using much more technology with residents, using IT to facilitate video calls with families and friends, accessing online yoga classes with our usual instructor, online music sessions and keeping families and volunteers involved by using Zoom. We have a very active Facebook page. We need to make sure that we give the residents the best Christmas especially if there is still limited visiting. The residents are making gift hampers for their relatives which include a USB with messages and photos. We are holding a series of zoom Christmas parties with families so that they feel connected. We have a number of great links with community groups and national organisations. We are accessing initiatives and offers of help where we can.
— Galanos House, Southam.
We are making our reminiscence room into a sealed room with a specially installed speaker system, with speakers in the ceiling, so people can talk and hear each other properly. It should work automatically. We want the room to be as comfortable as possible with nice furniture. We have put a lot of thought into this because we want it to be a nice experience for people.
— Bilton House, Rugby
We have bought a tabletop tablet which is a large tablet on wheels. We are going to buy another one. Today we used it for a special Church Service on Zoom for Remembrance Day. The Church Representatives, who usually come in and take services in the home, are now doing services for our residents to participate in online. The Baptist Church also hold an online service on a Sunday. Once they have finished the Sermon you can unmute, and everyone can participate in the talking and the singing. We are also going to get a copy of the Sermon and a DVD of the service so people can watch it anytime.
— Bilton House, Rugby
Residents have been making stuffed animals for local children and we donate food to the Fosse Foodbank.
— Mockley Manor, Henley in Arden
The staff are putting on a Panto this Christmas
— Royal Leamington Spa
We have a tabletop tablet which is like a large TV on wheels. We have been using it so that people can see their relatives easily, they use it to play droughts and dominoes, watch old black and white films on YouTube and play requested songs. It has sensory apps that are great for the visually impaired. We can play bonfire fireworks on it. You’d be surprised at how much of a good investment it is. It is on wheels so you can move it to anyone.
—  Albermarle, Leamington Spa.
We have built a pod in the garden, it’s more of a log cabin really and soon residents will be able to use it to have visitors. We are thinking of doing a Christmas Day ‘experience’ for each resident, so families can come and have Christmas lunch in the hut together, We are going to try and do it up like a grotto, with lights. “It’s been tough on residents so we hope this will help.
— Sycamores, Leamington Spa.
We have been supporting residents to make arts and crafts they can send to their relatives. Relatives and residents have really appreciated this.   
— Royal Leamington Spa Nursing.Home
We still have ‘resident of the day’ where we make sure they feel extra special, by doing things they like, such as their hair and nails and giving them a spa bath. We have two Activities Coordinators doing activities every morning and every afternoon. We have movie nights.
— Cherry Trees
We write weekly newsletters and have closed window visits. The Activities Coordinator goes round making Zoom calls. Every relative gets the chance to have a Zoom call, one lady does a crossword with her daughter every week. We could do with more technology, tablets for all the residents to contact their relatives. Landlines you can talk on but residents and relatives like seeing each other. When WhatsApp goes on a big screen, it would be lovely to see their relatives like that, especially with Christmas coming up. Christmas lights in the car park would be lovely, and Carol singers. We had 'kissing it better' and it went down well. People can wave when they go past care homes.
— Homewood, Leamington Spa. 
We normally have a carol service at Christmas, so it would be nice if someone could come and sing at the door. We like the Wednesday Wave. 
— Albermarle. Leamington Spa.
When I worked at Cedar Lodge our GPs used to come to the window and all clap, they came with kids, too - it was wonderful for our GP to be supportive.  The schools could come and clap outside, that would be lovely.
— Homewood, Leamington Spa. 
We went virtual with facetime, then we had garden visits, with the 2-metre rule, they went went well and we had window visits. We have got tablets for video calls, and are getting more. Some residents have their own phones they can use too. We also made use of what we already had, which was an intercom system, so visitors sat in the conservatory where they can see their relatives in the lounge and they can both chat through the intercom.
— Red House, Rugby
We have an activities coordinator in place, morning and afternoon. A carer has taken on this role who already knows our residents. We have done pottery, painting, card making, homemade decorations for Halloween and we are now working on Christmas decorations. Everything is wiped down, gloves are used and all materials put away afterwards, in line with infection control guidance. This has helped create a happy atmosphere with lots of social interaction within the home to help cope with the every day issues of Covid.
— Greenways
We have been trying to introduce more activities and encouraging talking with families via Whats App. At Christmas we hope to have a party, it will have to be for residents only, but we’ll get the karaoke machine going
— Granville House, Rugby
The Activities Coordinator wants to adapt a room into a library so is sorting equipment and bookcases. Staff have done singalongs and dances with our residents. While we couldn’t have the hairdresser here we have been washing and setting the residents hair, it has been fun.
— Bilton House, Rugby
We played hook a duck with fishing nets in a pool, it was fun and went down well.
— Mockley Manor, Henley in Arden


Kineton Manor Nursing Home has written a blog about their experiences:

When life gives you lemons …

Creative resources you might want to try

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