With Engagement being the focus of the final day of Care Home Week 18, colleagues from the Scottish Care North East team, based in Aberdeen have taken the opportunity to describe some local examples of Care Home engagement. 

#carehomeweek

Dining Room

A Care Home in Aberdeen City had previously been using one large room for dining. At times this space became crowded and very noisy. Some residents obviously found this unpleasant, unsettling and some could become quite agitated which had an impact on their appetite.  Some residents were not very sensitive regarding those who needed more assistance and often hurtful and upsetting comments could be heard directed at the residents who needed more support.  It was also difficult at times for staff to focus on the resident they were assisting due to the noise levels and general chaotic atmosphere.

They took the decision to introduce a second smaller dining room for the more independent residents.  In the second dining room, the placed residents with similar social skills and abilities, and encouraged independence in various ways, such as providing toast racks, butter dishes, preserves on tables even going on to provide tea/coffee pots with milk jugs.  Residents are given side plates and butter knifes and encouraged to “help themselves”. They continued to work towards a “buffet” style breakfast providing choices of juice, cereal and fruit which residents can help themselves to. The plan was to provide a more convivial dining experience.

One resident would knock on her neighbour’s door to make sure that they both get to the dining room independently.  This gives her a task/purpose and allowed her to feel valued.  Another resident (registered blind) needed a lot of assistance, joined the small dining room and was able to eat by herself with the use of a plate guard and the 12’oclock plate system.  Her appetite improved, and it was noted she became less frustrated.  A resident who used to have all her meals in her bed room decided to use the smaller dining room and   this has enabled her to feel less isolated.

Staff noted that the residents in the independent small dining room formed a closer friendship and felt responsible for each other. If somebody did not arrive for meal time a resident would check if the person was ok.  A gentleman who has previously been unable to due to illness received a cheer when he re-entered the dining room.  Overall the mood in both dining rooms improved and the atmosphere became more relaxed and residents in the independent dining room would look out for each other.  This small change made for a much more positive dining room experience for everybody.

Theraponies

Torry Care Home Residents in the city of Aberdeen, enjoyed the visit from the Theraponies named Applejack and Flicker from Perth last during April 2018. The residents were delighted to interact with the Ponies who were quite soft and fluffy to touch.