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How to achieve a Whole Home Approach to Activity
My new year started in the north-west of England. I visited 8 care homes with a colleague to carry out unannounced audits of their activity provision. I always welcome the chance to observe care settings at work as I learn something every time. In every setting, we saw wonderful examples of compassionate care. Staff across the board were caring and trying hard to increase the activity provision for their residents. Some had recently had some specific training in activity provision but the majority hadn't.
We were struck by how limited their knowledge was around purposeful or meaningful engagement. They had not been taught how to link Life Story information to what was offered to each resident either. When the opportunity arose to get involved we did and the carers we spoke to were extremely grateful for our demonstrations of how to get the best from a pack of reminiscence cards or what to do with a parachute game NAPA has always promoted the Whole Home Approach which advocates for every member of staff to engage with residents at every opportunity. When it works it generates amazing lifestyles for the residents. Getting it to work though needs a few key ingredients.
A passionate confident manager with a clear vision and the ability to communicate it. A clinical leader - nurse or senior carer - who understands that well-being comes from both good clinical care and great quality of life. An activity specialist who can support the team through leading by example, providing resources and connecting with the community. A care team who are trained and supported to enable residents to live life the way they choose and not in the way that fits the system. An approach to risk that is supportive and carefully thought through to see the benefits of an activity as well as the hazards. A person centred approach that starts with individual needs and builds on those record keeping that captures feelings and outcomes.
We were fortunate to see a couple of homes that were well on their way to the Whole Home Approach. The residents in these homes were not institutionalised but were living communally. They appeared content but stimulated, alert but calm. The staff were flexible in their approach, smiles were in evidence and the sense of team was palpable. Most significantly the managers were in evidence, full of praise for their teams and genuinely proud of what their residents were achieving.
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