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April has been and gone in lockdown due to Corona virus. However, we have been blessed with some lovely sunshine and warm weather which has somewhat compensated for all the other sacrifices and challenges.
We have spent a lot of time out in the garden catching the rays of sunshine. We have played badminton, outdoor skittles, ball games whilst others just appeared to relax in the chairs making the most of the beautiful weather eating ice cream or choc ices.
We have had two BBQ’s to make the most of the warm weather and to do something different for the residents. The BBQ’s went down very well indeed and seemed to be thoroughly enjoyed by all.
We have had some short walks to the duck pond and down the road to get some fresh air and gentle exercise, whilst being compliant with social distancing guidelines. We were over- joyed to discover some ducklings in the pond! There is even a Koi fish in the pond who appears happy enough.
Every Wednesday we have been having a ‘nationality’ day. Activities and lunch time meals reflect the Country chosen.
So far, we have had a ‘Polish day’ and ‘South African Day’ in honor of our Polish staff, Joanna and Aga who did the cooking of Polish day, and in respect to Christy who is South African.
Dawna and Joanna served a variety of dishes, including a vegetarian option for each day and two desserts.
Feedback from residents was extremely positive! It has been nice to try meals that perhaps they have never consumed before. It also promotes discussions as well as similar themed activities. We will continue with this each Wednesday as something different.
We have been able to stream the Sunday Church service for those who take comfort in their weekly service. Hopefully, this has compensated for the absence of Alison and Pauleene’s visits as part of their role as Pastoral assistants. A new Vicar has been appointed for the summer and we will look forward to hopefully meeting them in due course.
We have been over-whelmed with the pen pal response and we have received ever so many cards, letters, pictures, drawings and even small gifts such as chocolate/ sweets.
We have one pen pal writing from Kent and another one from Preston!
Our residents love receiving the post and some of our pen pals have such interesting lives. It is a shame that some residents lack the motivation to reply. Staff have been supporting our residents with letter writing as part of their activity sessions. Some of the letters are extremely well- written and very informative.
Our residents have been trying to get to grips with technology and many have been video calling their loved ones. This has been very interesting at times and some residents were absolutely bewildered and amazed at what they can now do.
Others couldn’t believe their appearance was actually them. Some residents needed guidance with how to position/ hold the tablet correctly, and others were naturals!
Video calls are certainly the next best thing after face- to face visiting. It is important to keep in touch with relatives and friends to help promote well- being.
We celebrated Easter in mid- April and Easter 2020, at Elmfield felt very surreal this year. We did not have our annual Easter party due to lock down. We were unable to hatch the chicks like we have done in recent years.
We didn’t have as many decorations around the home like in previous years, due to shops being closed and larger supermarkets having limited stock and prioritising essential food items over decorations.
We had a leg of lamb on Easter Sunday which Tasha cooked and it went down a treat. Some residents had second helpings and requested the leftovers for their tea.
Everyone received an Easter egg on Easter Sunday.
We have changed the routine for the care staff so that from mid- morning, after the morning medication round is finished, one carer is off the floor to spend time with the residents doing activities, chatting and having one-on-one time with residents. They are also taking resident’s temperatures and ensuring that hands are sanitized every hour as well as checking motion sensors are on at all times.
The same occurs in the afternoon, from 2:30-4 pm where one carer is allocated off the floor to spend time with residents. This seems to have had a positive impact on the residents.
We have had lots of movies days, exercise classes, played games, done jigsaws, played quizzes, done some arts and crafts, watered the plants, wrote letters to our pen pals, done some exercises and read the Daily Sparkle which is a mini newspaper detailing what happened ‘on this day’ however many years ago. This is proving to be very interesting and informative. This is great for reminiscing and reflecting on the past.
Unfortunately, our usual services such as chiropodist or hairdresser. Sadly, we cannot let people into the home except our permanent staff. This is following Government advice.
We cannot have our usual entertainers into the home either.
Sadly, the village proposed VE Day celebrations have been put on hold due to lock down. This is terribly sad as a lot of time, planning and dedication had gone into making the plans for the celebrations.
Instead we will decorate the home and have afternoon tea in- house instead. This won’t quite be the same but it is better than nothing and we feel that it is certainly important to remember the bravery of those involved in this historic event.
We are hoping the weather remains nice to continue with BBQ’s on a weekly basis.
We will continue with Wednesday’s themed lunches.
We are looking to hold a ‘pajama day’ where residents stay in the comfy night clothes for the day, watch movies and order take away pizza (like many of us probably spend the odd day doing!)
We are also looking to commence a weekly IT club where staff will teach residents in small groups, over a period of time, to develop skills in IT such as using YouTube, goggle maps to see where they used to live, creating and sending emails etc.
We will also be holding small group cookery sessions on a Friday morning. Residents will be asked their favorite recipes and we will attempt to recreate favored meals. Dawn can help residents with this and Joanna can cook. Friday’s are generally an easy meal to make as it is usually fish and chips.
Staff and resident changes
We have welcomed several staff to Elmfield House during April…..
First of all, Jess Burnett is back from maternity leave and already it feels like she has never been gone! Jess will be working weekends mostly.
We also welcome back Thaddeus Fanelli, he used to work at Elmfield before moving out of the area. He is now back with us working four day shifts a week.
We also welcome Holly Kaufman to our bank staff team. Holly has never done care work before but she is ready for a new challenge and is very eager to learn. Holly will cover day shifts as and when needed.
Isatou Gassama has also joined our bank staff team. Istaou is experienced in health and social care and is an asset to our team. She is a military wife and will work days/ nights around her husband’s work commitments.
Christy Mosito will transfer from day shifts to night shifts from 1st May. We will miss seeing her smile when she is gone but wish her the best of luck.
Finally, Kelly Woodhead, one of our bank staff has resigned. She is signed off sick for her notice period and has had on-going health concerns which she felt was unfair to the rest of the team.
On13th April, Jean Wood celebrated her 85th birthday. Her Daughter- in- law Shirley, came to the front door way and delivered Jean’s gifts. She spoke to friends on her mobile and enjoyed the attention she received within the home. We had a tea party and of course birthday cake. Jean seemed to enjoy her birthday even though it was different to what she had anticipated due to the lockdown situation.
It was Sarah’s birthday on the 26th and Chris’ on the 27th, so Niccii surprised them both at one of our BBQs with a birthday cake.
Quality assurance questionnaires have been posted to all relatives. These have been amended to focus on some of the areas we are assessed on by CQC at our inspections. Thank you to those who have already completed and returned the questionnaires, it really is used productively and we aim to identify our strengths and weaknesses as a result of these questionnaires.
Senior staff have been doing questionnaires with residents as well to gain their insights.
Staff also have a Quality assurance questionnaire to complete too.
The kitchen staff have also been doing food questionnaires with our residents to identify food preferences and dislikes. This information will be used to establish the new menu. However, we may have to delay the introduction of the new menu due to continued difficulties obtaining the items we require at times. There has been an improvement in accessibility of food products, but we are still unable to operate the full menu on occasion and have had to make substitutes when needed.
As part of the local community, Niccii has been overwhelmed with the multiple kind gestures towards Elmfield.
We have had three donations of plastic visors, we have been knitted button extenders to prevent friction on ears when wearing face masks, we have been offered washable masks, we have been given biscuits, cakes and other goodies from local villagers. We were donated boxes of crisps and snacks from the Anchor pub in Knaphill.
We have had such kind gestures from relatives with the loan of the tablet to enable us to make video calls, the loan of bags of DVDs to help keep our residents stimulated and daily words of kindness really do make the world of difference in challenging times.
Employee of the month
Employee of the month for April is awarded to Dannii Heal. She is a trainee teacher in Southampton yet travels to Elmfield for work on weekends. She has helped by bringing resources to help set up our IT club. Has cheered up our residents by having her class make cards. Dannii also agreed to work day shifts instead of night shifts for several weeks to support a colleague’s religious beliefs during Ramadan. Dannii is positive, creative, bubbly and shows a deep interest in meeting resident’s holistic needs.