As has been the same for everyone, December has been very different from past years.
Usually, December in Elmfield is a busy but joyful time with lots of outings, events and visitors.
However due to Surrey being in tier 4 and lockdown was imposed, some of our usual plans had to be cancelled.
We were fortunate for the Bisley Almac band to come to the home and they did a 45- minute carol service under our gazebo in the garden. The sound was beautiful and even with the doors closed, we could clearly hear the carols being played on the instruments. We had John whistling, Les and Jill were singing to their hearts content and Patricia, Jean and Jan were also singing along and waving their arms. We were very grateful that the brass band took the time to come to us, particularly when the weather was less than kind.
Sadly, the Bisley Church choir had to cancel their garden carol service as we were put into lockdown days before which prevented mixing of households for the choir members. However, we were very grateful for the chocolates and Christmas card Pauleene from the Church sent us. Her regular phone calls and kind words have been appreciated throughout the pandemic.
We have had lots of film afternoons with popcorn and other snacks and we have watched lots of Christmas movies to get us in the festive mood. Brenda often chose romantic Christmas movies to watch. We bought a new smart television and the picture quality was much more enhanced than previously and has been much appreciated by our residents.
We streamed a production of ‘A Christmas carol’ from The Old Vic theatre in London. There were some very famous faces in the cast. This was a wonderful production and was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. Thank- you Jade H for your technological skills in setting this up for us! There were some familiar songs which some residents sang- along to.
Making full use of our new television, we have been streaming live entertainment shows on a Tuesday and Thursday afternoon by the wonderful Geoff Jukes. He really is an amazing artist with a huge variety of music genres and artists that he impersonates. We have had everything from popular golden oldies, cockney slang, Elvis, Frank Sinatra, party songs and Christmas carols too. Geoff is great for interacting with the different care homes and has a great talent for singing songs that our residents can’t resist tapping their feet, singing along to and we even had Vera, Phyllis and John wanting to dance. The power of music is amazing!
We have had pizza take away delivered for our residents on some of our movie days as an additional treat. It is nice to have ‘lazy days’ sometimes.
We have been doing some festive arts and crafts and coloring. We had lots of Christmas classic sing- along’s with instruments.
We streamed some lovely carol services from Guildford Cathedral and St Paul’s cathedral.
One of our staff, Samite who is from Nepalese origin, very kindly cooked residents and staff a banquet of traditional Nepalese food. We had potato curry, chicken dumplings, chow Mein, samosas and rice. The food was absolutely delicious and Samita’s efforts were very much appreciated.
We also had a German themed day with traditional Bockwursts, stew and potato cakes. Again, this meal received wonderful feedback from our residents with requests for it to be added to our main menu. Well done Dawn and Joanna.
Before our lockdown, we thankfully had Nicky our hairdresser, and Rikki, our chiropodist into the home to do hair and podiatry care.
Christmas decorations were limited this year in comparison to previous years, with less decorations in communal areas and high- touch areas due to COVID-19 19 risks. However, we had a real Christmas tree in the porch area, residents had decorations and Christmas cards within their own rooms. We also had our outdoor display of lights and light-up reindeer, sleigh, presents and bears which the residents loved to see when the dark evenings arrived.
Christmas Day was certainly unusual compared to previous years where we have had relatives and friends coming and going throughout the day.
Phyllis had a surprise visit from Santa through her bedroom window which was a lovely surprise.
Dawn and Niccii were in the kitchen. Residents had croissants for breakfast and they enjoyed a wonderful three- course meal consisting of prawn cocktail, soup or vol-au- vents for starters, Roasted Turkey crown with all the trimmings and Christmas cake and brandy sauce or sherry trifle for dessert.
Baileys coffees/ hot chocolates, after- eight mints and cheese and biscuits were also shared throughout the day.
Presents were given out mid- afternoon and our residents received some lovely thoughtful gifts.
New Years Eve we had a virtual party with Geoff Jukes. Dannii and Naz had little celebrations with Les and Pam whilst working the night shift.
Let’s hope that 2021 is much better than 2020 for all of us.
Sadly, our scheduled vaccinations didn’t manifest, but we are keeping our fingers crossed that residents and staff receive the vaccination very soon. We had been looking forward to that extra protection and hope it will happy soon. It is a glimmer of hope in somewhat dark times.
We have had the construction of a visiting pod in the quiet area. This is the only area suitable that met the Government guidance and has a separate entrance for relatives and residents as well as the floor to ceiling screen required. Our visiting pod was constructed very quickly by our trusted carpenters and we are hoping to utilize this area in the very near future. visits will be pre- booked as previous porch visits were, and will be at specific times when we have housekeeping staff to deep clean the pod in-between visits.
We have signed up for the twice weekly shows each Tuesday and Thursday with Geoff Jukes. This has proven very successful so far.
We will be re-vamping our activities agenda in the New Year.
Staff and Resident Changes
Sadly, we lost our oldest resident, Jean Winfield, on Christmas Eve. Jean celebrated her 100th birthday in early February when we had the Mayoress of Woking attend her birthday party. Jean had been with us for nine years since 2011 and we have many fond memories of her. Jean will be missed and was very much part of our Elmfield family. Jean had visits from her family leading up to her passing and Niccii spend the night with her when she passed to ensure that she was not alone. RIP Jean.
We have recruited Fanny Hanson to our night staff team who will start her employment with us early Janaury.
Several other interviews have been scheduled for Janaury.
Helen Baker turned 85 years old on 15th December but unfortunately spent her birthday in St Peters hospital.
Patricia Willis celebrated her 88th birthday on 18th December. She had a window visit from her daughter and spoke to various friends and family members. We had a tea party which was enjoyed by everyone and Dawn made a chocolate birthday cake for the self- confessed chocoholic Patricia.
Mid- December we moved into tier 4 with another dreaded lockdown. This put an end to our porch visits and we made the decision to build our visiting pod. Updated ‘Responsible visiting codes’ will be issued in the New Year.
Medication reviews are due to commence in January with a pharmacist called Sophie Bromley from Chobham & West End surgery.
Sadly, Mike Briggs, the paramedic practitioner from Chobham and West End who has been coming to Elmfield for the past couple of years, has left his job role and moved to pastures anew from Christmas Eve. Mike has been an invaluable asset and we are sad to see our excellent relationship come to an end as he was fantastic with our residents. We wish Mike good luck in his new ventures but he will be missed at Elmfield.
Employee of the Month
Employee of the month for December is awarded to Natalie Goodchild. She worked a combination of day shifts but also the occasional night shift when needed to ensure adequate staffing levels. Natalie consistently works additional shifts and is always willing to swap shifts and work extras to ensure the smooth running of the home. Natalie’s flexibility is much appreciated. Natalie often demonstrates excellent team skills and regularly supports her peers.