How Jewish Care’s Living Well team are promoting Well Being and Positive Outcomes through Meaningful Opportunities
Many of us ask ourselves, how do I make a difference today? For activity coordinators working in care homes, we know that this question is at the heart of what they do every day.
We know that excellent personalised care` together with access to a well-coordinated, varied programme of meaningful therapeutic and social activities is the best way to promote well being and achieve positive outcomes.
Jewish Care looked at how best to deliver this when they connected three separate care homes and a centre for people living with dementia in one site. When the The Betty and Asher Loftus Centre in 2016 the design would enable the 221 residents across the three homes to socialise with one another and take advantage of a joint programme of therapeutic and arts programmes, without barriers. 80% of the residents were living with dementia as a primary care need together with residents who have nursing needs and are relatively able to engage.
Service Manager Myriam Browne, explains how the Living Well team came into being. “We didn’t just want the new development to be around the bricks and mortar. We had a vision to create a vibrant care community, connected to the wider community. The challenge was how best to achieve this with limited resources in each of the homes and dementia day centre. It made sense to pool all the resources together to establish a multi-disciplinary Living Well Team of five activity coordinators.
“Rather than working in isolation, the coordinators work as part of a bigger team. The team members bring together a variety of skill sets and therapeutic backgrounds, including care, physiotherapy, puppetry, art and music. The benefits of sharing their joint knowledge and creativity is reflected into our programmes, benefiting clients with a wide-range of needs and interests.”
She continues, “The structure of the team also gives greater capacity to increase engagement and knowledge sharing throughout the organisation and beyond in partnership work with participatory arts specialists, organisations and the local community. The team regularly meet to share learning and expertise with the wider team of social coordinators across the organisation’s 11 care homes. They work in partnership with our innovative Creative Arts, Disability and Dementia team to initiate new participatory arts and music programmes across the homes and also join forces with the volunteers team, recruiting volunteers to support activities or identify specific needs. This has led to us successfully recruiting volunteer specialist befrienders as well as speech and language specialists.
Living Well Team Manager, Pawel Moczewlski, says, “We achieve more as a team and feel well supported. We can discuss, monitor and meet people’s changing needs and interests. A resident may begin playing bridge and baking and later be more stimulated by music or become animated when talking about sport or the East End. Sharing that kind of information within the team and listening to each other’s perspectives, help us to find solutions to promote positive outcomes for our residents.
“The diversity of our skills helps us to be more confident in reaching out to other dynamic and innovative organisations to build relationships and connections with the wider community. We welcome regular visits with groups from nurseries, primary and secondary schools. The sense of enhanced well-being for young and old is clear to see.”
Joseph Winton, age 99, who is a resident at the Centre, recently participated in a three month World War II reminiscence arts project with the local Primary School, he commented; “I was very happy to talk to the children. It’s the best pleasure to see them again and again. They’ve got to know me. I invariably join in with activities because you never know how much joy you’re going to find. Activities usually produce lots of excitement and pleasure, and when its finished, you’re looking forward to the next one.”
Pawel adds, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We are much stronger as a team and as our name suggests it’s not just about delivering activities, it’s really about how to promote living well.”