Care Homes Conversations

Healthwatch Warwickshire have been talking to Care Home Managers to find out how residents are being supported during the pandemic. We have also been 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 undertook a project to offer support to Care Homes during the winter of 202/2021. We wanted to find, and share, examples of best practice. We asked how residents were being supported, and what was being done to keep loved ones ones in touch with residents, We asked if they needed any extra support to get through the next few months, what they were worried about, and whether they had enough PPE. 

If you would like a Healthwatch Representative to call you, please contact us:

or call 01926 422823

You can also leave your feedback with us (anonymously if you wish) by answering our short questionnaire: 

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

Generally things have worked well. There has been more one to one interaction with residents and staff have been much more involved in activities within the home. Now each resident has chosen a named visitor (usually a family member). Visiting is allowed, but must be pre-booked.
— Arden House, Leamington Spa
We have online teams meetings every two weeks with all Service Heads and family members, to keep them updated and for any questions or concerns to be raised. Typically, 30 families regularly join in. It's working well. The meetings have a fairly loose agenda and family members direct the meetings, with a record kept of proceedings.
— Anya Court, Rugby
We use the APP - RELSAPP, provided by Hallmark Care Homes who own the care home. This has been brilliant and people were able to share photos etc. Facetime is also used. Technology really helped people keep in touch.
— Anya Court, Rugby
At the end of the first lockdown Avery ( parent group) encouraged relatives to meet residents and take them out which was extremely well received. Avery provided detailed protocols as to how this should be done.
— Acorn Lodge Care Home
A choir sang for residents. Children have written letters to residents. Rugby School have taken residents out. Staff have taken residents to Marks and Spencer at Elliot’s Field shopping Park and a local pub when they were open. Staff ensure they know residents individual needs.
— Rugby Care Centre
Zoom recordings of activities completed within the care home are uploaded to our facebook page.
— Rugby Care Centre
We played the Atherstone Ball Game yesterday. We are doing activities in the lounge, residents have been helping to make pizza's, getting involved with flower arranging and making Valentine's cards. We are trying to keep them pampered and engaged. We share photos of residents celebrations and what is going on in the home on our Facebook page.
— Stratford and Atherstone Bentley
Our visitors pod was installed last year, it works by families booking their pod slot, which is usually 30 minutes , but can be up to 2 hours. On arrival, family members are laterally tested and if all ok the visit goes ahead. The pod is outside - like a garden room and is accessed via a sheltered walkway from the home. Families access via a separate door. Cleaners go in afterwards. It's a lovely bright area, all heated and very well used every day. Only families in county can use this at the moment due to travel restrictions.
— Thurlaston Meadows
We are keeping relatives informed about what we are doing by sending regular emails to family members, particularly those out of county and we also hold zoom meetings. They took a bit of getting used to for residents, seeing their family members, but now they are working well and very popular. We also have a monthly newsletter.
— Thurlaston Meadows
With all the residents and staff now vaccinated – our motto is “onwards and upwards” and we don’t stop to prevent this becoming a reality.
— Harpers Field
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
All of the Manager's we have spoken to have said there has been a lot of extra work over the last year and that at times it has been really tough. The local community and relatives have shown their thanks in many different ways. These thoughtful gestures have all been greatly appreciated and have helped staff to feel motivated and positive. 
— Healthwatch Warwickshire
Lots of care home Managers have told us that the support from Warwickshire County Council and Public Health Warwickshire has been excellent.
— Healthwatch Warwickshire


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

When life gives you lemons …

Creative resources you might want to try

Orchestra of the Swan are creating new music video's for people living with Dementia. Each session is structured to encourage conversation with family or carers and each video comes with a downloadable song sheet and guidance notes.

If you are using any resources you would like to share on this website please email

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