Finally, spring is upon us and the village green is in bloom with beautiful daffodils. The clocks have changed and the longer hours of daylight has boosted everyone’s spirits.
Our potted plants are coming alive and we have had some daffodils bloom as well as other colorful flowers in Jan’s garden.
Our herb garden has been replanted and the garden is starting to look colorful again.
March has been a busy but productive month.
We had a Welsh inspired themed day on 1st March where we honored St David’s Day. Joanna cooked Welsh chicken and faggots from a traditional Welsh cookbook loaned to us from one of the Villagers. Traditional Welsh cakes and scones were also made.
The 8th March was a very special day at Elmfield, as we welcomed back indoor visitors. This really has been a tremendous benefit to most of our resident’s mental health and well- being.
There has been plenty of laughter, smiles but also tears. For some of our residents there has been a notable improvement in their mood. As much as we love and care about our residents, we cannot replace family.
Visitors have had to read risk assessments, visiting codes of conduct and complete Lateral Flow Tests before seeing their loved ones, but this is a small sacrifice in order to be reunited. We have been also utilising the visiting pod for additional visitors who are not the nominated indoor visitor. It has been wonderful to see relatives again, we have missed you!
On 14th March, we celebrated Mother’s Day. Dawn prepared a lovely leg of lamb roast dinner and our residents were spoilt with cards and gifts from loved ones.
Residents reflected on their experiences of being a Mum, and the highs and lows that entails. There were funny stories and memories shared.
On 17th March, we had another themed day to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. We had a visit from a leprechaun, aka local villager Phil Hall, who baked us three loaves of homemade Irish soda bread. We had traditional Irish stew, chicken and leek pie and colcannon. Some residents enjoyed a glass of Guinness which is very good for iron levels!
Our final themed day was Indian on 22nd March to celebrate Indian New Year. We had mild curry as our residents do not enjoy spicy food but there are plenty of milder options.
On 23rd March, it was a year of lockdown in the UK and was National Remembrance Day. Niccii organised a Reflection afternoon which was quite emotional for many residents.
Dawn made a range of homemade cakes and we had prosecco to celebrate surviving the pandemic.
We shared the ups and downs of the past year. Common struggles from residents and staff alike, was being unable to see family and friends.
We talked about how we had adapted our ways of living in response to the pandemic with social distancing, wearing of PPE, visiting restrictions, outdoor and virtual entertainment, Covid testing regimes.
We shared our highs: the pen pal system, the use of technology to keep in touch with loved ones, introduction of themed days, garden shows, the brass band playing Christmas carols in the garden, the street party for VE Day and other memories.
Residents and staff also shared their thoughts and feelings when we had our Covid outbreak discussing their fears at not seeing loved ones again, how the high death tolls and statistics caused anxiety and low mood. The changes to their physical and mental health. Others said that they only had mild symptoms of which they were very grateful for.
Residents expressed gratitude to Niccii and all the staff for their selfless sacrifices throughout the last year and thanked staff for keeping them safe.
We reflected on residents whom we have tragically lost in the last twelve months and shared photographs and memories of each individual. All residents, past and present are never forgotten.
We also created a wish jar and everyone recorded their wishes for the future. Again, common themes were good health, a return to normality, being able to see loved ones again, to be able to go back to ‘normal’ and integrate in the community again, to have a busy home full of activities and visitors and to be able to go shopping again!
The afternoon ended with the distribution of certificates and medals to each resident for their patience, support and bravery during the past twelve months. Everyone is a hero, particularly those who survived Covid!
Dannii who used to be employed as a carer, has returned to Elmfield to volunteer on her days off from teaching. This is very generous of Dannii to dedicate her time off to boosting the morale of our residents. Dannii has been doing sing- alongs and karaoke on the tv. She has encouraged reminiscing and promoted arts and crafts.
We have also been doing some Easter themed arts and crafts in preparation for Easter.
We had a one- day heatwave which resulted in some residents sitting in the garden and enjoying the glorious sunshine.
We welcomed back our hairdresser Nicky, and chiropodist Rikki, in March. We treat both of them as staff and included them in our vaccination and Covid testing programs. This really boosted morale amongst our residents and left our staff a little envious as we have to wait for the salons to open on 12th April.
In April we have Easter to look forward to. The Religious meaning of Easter is often over- looked.
We also have our second Covid vaccinations booked for 8th April for the residents and staff who had their first one in January. This is great news in the fight against Covid and offers reassurance.
We have booked to hatch our chicks again this Spring which has brought great excitement within the home. Dates are to be confirmed, but sadly the Easter week was fully booked.
Government guidance has stated that from 12th April, we will be allowed a second indoor visitor per resident which is welcome news and another step towards ‘normality’.
We will celebrate St George’s Day on 23rd April.
Staff and resident changes
We welcomed two new faces to our lovely home in March. Both are short- term for respite care but it was wonderful to have them with us. John Noble came on 25th March for a few weeks respite. He is a local gentleman from Knaphill and he seems to have settled in well. He has a great sense of humor and is particularly enjoying the food and standard of care the staff provide.
We also had another local gentleman, John Salter, join us for a break following recent hospital admissions, to help him recuperate and have a rest. He has formed a good friendship with Patricia and they spend the afternoons playing dominoes and chatting.
In terms of staffing, we have several changes pending. We said goodbye to carer staff Natalie Goodchild, Cheyenne Alexander and Carolann Sutton, who have all moved onto pastures anew.
We have lots of new staff to join our team in the coming weeks: Chifundo Mpate is already proving a valuable asset to our team. We welcomed back Brittany Mitchell who has been with us on and off for approx. five years. Brittany is currently furloughed from her hairdressing job and has returned to our bank staff team to help out as and when needed.
New faces include Michelle Evans on our bank team. She is a familiar face as she is the land lady of the Hen & Chicks pub. Michelle is experienced in care and will be on hand to help out as and when needed for a few months until the pub kitchen re-opens in the summer.
We welcome Holly Randell, Holly Mitchel and Larissa Kamburoff to our day staff team. We welcome Rosie Hilderley to the senior team and Ashley Whiteley to our night team.
We will also be welcoming back Christy Mosito to our night team too following a short break.
It is exciting to have new staff members and everyone will bring fresh ideas and skills to our team.
We had a double birthday on 24h March.
Janet Harrison turned 77 years old and Yvonne Holmes celebrated her 92nd birthday.
It is fair to say that neither resident enjoyed sharing a birthday! Dawn baked them both a birthday cake each as requested.
Jan and Yvonne were both spoilt by their family and friends, as they deserved to be. We had birthday cake for a couple of days afterwards which was all good as everyone enjoys birthday cake! They both received some beautiful bouquets of flowers.
The sale of Elmfield House seems to be progressing well behind the scenes. There is a lot of legalities that the solicitors are dealing with and there is no known time frame at present.
Until then we will continue as normal and would like to thank everybody for their support and kindness, it truly has been overwhelming in recent weeks/months.
We have welcomed Jane Presswell and Diane Findlay back from furlough. Diane will continue working from home but we are grateful that she will be able to contribute to the home.
Employee of the month
Employee of the month for March has been awarded to Naz Khalesi, for their loyalty to the home. This will be Naz’s twelfth year employed at Elmfield House.
Naz is extremely hard working and often goes above and beyond her contracted hours.
Naz demonstrates commitment to Niccii and the residents and will work extra hours; days, nights and weekends to ensure that the needs of the residents are met.
Naz has great experience and many skills acquired in her time in care.
Throughout the pandemic and the whole of her employment, Naz has been exemplary in her attendance, compassion and dedication.
Naz is a valued member of our team and she was genuinely devastated at the prospect of losing her job last month. Naz really is a superstar and we are lucky to have her. Well done!