February has been a much busier month but in a positive way.
Our residents recovered from the terrible COVID-19 19 outbreak we had and were able to finish isolation and re-engage with their friends in the communal areas.
We had a Digni-tea afternoon where we had afternoon tea and discussed what dignity means to us.; both residents and staff. Keyworkers will also do the Dignity cards which Niccii obtained from the National Dignity Council with top ten reminders for everyone associated with Elmfield. One of our values is to treat others with dignity and respect and it is important to focus on this.
We also celebrated Chinese New Year on 12th February which is the Year of the Ox. A meal of sweet and sour chicken, Chinese curry, egg fried rice, spring rolls and prawn crackers. We had our Chinese lanterns and our Golden Lucky Cat, decorative chop-sticks and Fortune cookies to added to the theme.
Valentines Day was celebrated with some red and white decorative displays. We had hanging love hearts, bunting, balloons and other heart shaped decorations around the home to share the love. Joanna baked a heart- shaped cake and we had and buffet tea prepared by Tasha.
Residents shared their personal love stories and reminisced about their wedding days, lost sweethearts and the ones who got away!
Sadly, not everyone had happy partnerships, so we also discussed the love we have for dear friends, family members and each other. Heart shaped bags of chocolate went down a treat as expected as everyone loves chocolates!
Shrove Tuesday is one of our most popular days of the year at Elmfield.
Dawn and Joanna worked very hard and made approx. 30 fresh pancakes to satisfy the needs of the residents and also the staff. I don’t think each one was tossed into the air though!
Pancake toppings included strawberries and cream, syrup, honey, bananas and good old lemon and sugar!
Pancakes were so popular that they are now added to our breakfast menu!
We really are spoilt at Elmfield House when it comes to food.
February is LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) awareness month. Until relatively recently, many people who consider themselves LGBT faced in society and even within their own families.
A small group of residents who wished to be educated, watched a very effective You-tube video sharing facts, statistics, information and a basic background to the LGBT movement and what they stand for. This was presented in a very simple yet effective format.
We decorated the dining room in rainbow bunting and had a tea party.
Niccii gave out badges and we discussed famous and influential people who have identified as LGBT and we all talked about their contribution to society. We also talked about being equal, non- judgmental and treated everyone with respect.
This really registered with some staff and there were private messages of gratitude for talking about this sensitive topic and raising awareness. In 2021, there really shouldn’t be any oppression, yet sadly there still is.
We have been using the power plate regularly to help build up the physical stamina of residents, we have had music therapy and spent one-on-one time with residents which seemed more needed than structured activities as such.
We have lots to look forward to in March…..
From 6th March, we will be having our first pod visits which will re-commence following the end of our 28- day period from our last positive COVID-19 case.
Our pod allows visitors to ring the doorbell and have their temperature checks and answer the COVID-19 questions.
They will then be instructed to go round the side of the home to the fire exit past the laundry room where they will enter the fire exit.
The resident will enter the other side of the pod next to the shower room and a floor to ceiling screen which separates the visitor from the resident. A top of the range intercom system enables effective communication.
Pod visits will be pre- booked to allow necessary deep- cleaning between visits, and will allow all family members to see loved ones in a COVID-19- friendly way.
From 8th March, the Government state that indoor visiting can commence with one constant visitor per resident. This means that the visitor must be the same person consistently.
We are currently awaiting Government guidance to ensure our procedure and risk assessments as well as ‘Responsible visiting code’ are reflecting the guidance to ensure compliance.
We can’t wait to welcome visitors back into Elmfield! It honestly has not been the same and we sincerely hope that this is the start of the process to get back to “normality”, whatever that will be.
The introduction of in- house visiting will hopefully boost our resident’s emotional well- being and aid their holistic recovery.
The 1st March was St David’s Day and one of our local villagers Wynne Price, very kindly loaned us his personal Welsh cook book.
We were spoilt for choice by the range of traditional recipes in the cook book, we chose Welsh Chicken and the recommended Faggots with traditional Welsh cakes and scones.
Mothering Sunday is fast- approaching on 14th March.
We will have a special lunch and I am sure many residents will receive gifts from their family members.
St Patrick’s Day is 17th March and a local villager is very kindly baking us some traditional Irish soda bread.
We will also have Irish stew and maybe even half a pint of Guinness. We will look for other Irish recipes.
We will also be celebrating Indian New Year on 22nd March. This will also feature themed Indian cuisine and look at the different ways that specific cultures celebrate New Year.
Staff and resident changes
Sadly, we lost two more residents this month. Patricia Humphries, passed away in hospital on 16th February. She had a stroke.
We also said our final goodbye to Phyllis Colclough on 18th February. She passed at Elmfield with her son, daughter, carer and friend Mel and Niccii with her.
Both residents were much loved and are deeply missed by their fellow residents and staff.
We have had no changes to our staffing team although we are recruiting in March so hope to see some friendly new faces in the spring.
We would have celebrated Roger Dodd’s birthday on 14th February, but sadly he was in hospital.
Upon his return, we will have a belated birthday party. Roger was not here, but he was in our thoughts here at Elmfield.
We will be welcoming back our hairdresser in March, as she is classified as part of our staffing team and is included in vaccinations and testing.
This will boost the morale of our residents as a little TLC enhances mood and well- being.
Rikki our chiropodist will also be back in March to attend to our resident’s podiatry needs. After not being able to come in during Janaury due to our outbreak, it will be much needed.
We have had confirmation that our three residents who were COVID-19 positive at the time of our group vaccinations, will be vaccinated week beginning 8th March.
The second vaccinations for residents and staff who have had their first ones, will be 25th March.
Thank- you to Andrea Abbott from the Vaccination team for arranging this. It really is appreciated and will provide additional safety for our residents.
Staff will be having their annual refresher training for Manual Handling early March.
As everyone is aware, at the end of February, the very difficult decision to close Elmfield by the end of March was made by the current owners for a variety of reasons; but primarily as a result of our empty beds.
We have never been in the situation previously where we have had multiple empty beds and no waiting list.
The main reason is due to the negative portrayal of COVID-19 in care homes.
This is somewhat understandable with unforgiving care home death toll, the Government pointed fingers at care homes, isolation periods, lack of financial and guidance support, visiting restrictions to name a few.
The decision to close Elmfield House was not taken lightly and caused great upset and distress to everyone involved:
The owners who have proudly owned Elmfield for many years and build up an excellent reputation within the local community and investing lots of time and money into the business.
The residents who call Elmfield their home and never though that they would have to move on.
This was a very daunting and distressing thought to move away from their friends and staff who become family.
Staff too were distraught, whether they have worked her many years or whom are new have become part of our Elmfield family.
The prospect of looking for new jobs in homes that are more corporate, much larger and appeared to have different values was very upsetting for many.
Relatives were understandably devastated at the thought of their loved ones needing to find new homes and with the fear and concern that they will not receive the same quality of care and attention to detail that they are used to at Elmfield.
The shared grief from within our wonderful community was overwhelming and testament to what an integral part of the community we really are.
Words cannot express the emotional turmoil experienced by everyone involved.
Miraculously, the power of Facebook, from a post Niccii made went viral and we found a buyer! We will keep you updated with progress as and when it develops. The home will remain open and it is thought that there will be few changes. There are lots of legalities involved in the sale of a care home and the solicitors are working hard behind the scenes. It could take several months for the transition to be finalised but there will be no impact to our residents.
Employee of the month
Employee of the month for February was awarded to Melanie Bristow for covering extra shifts during our COVID-19 outbreak and maintaining a positive attitude.
However, the main reason is that Mel went above and beyond her job description by coming into Elmfield some evenings on her days off to spend time with Phyllis in her final days.
Mel used to care for Phyllis at home prior to Phyllis needing a care home to meet her care needs.
Mel spent the night with Phyllis and her family on the night of her passing, providing emotional support.
This also enabled the night staff on duty to continue with meeting the enhanced needs of our other residents.
It is one of Niccii’s established values within the home, that for expected deaths it is important that residents aren’t alone and Mel has gone above and beyond to promote this.
Mel was extremely professional at a very emotive time. Well done Mel, this selfless gesture was much appreciated and shows your compassion and dedication.