We know that meaningful activities, whether physical, social or leisure, have a positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing.
Involving people in making decisions about what activities are most meaningful to them, ensures that they have the biggest impact. Everyone who works in adult social care has a responsibility to make this happen.
Amy Rushworth, North East District Wellness Coordinator at Anchor, shares how she ensures that people are involved in planning their own activities, and gives practical ideas to help others to do the same.
“Over the past few years, we’ve made a big change to our culture around activity provision at Anchor. Previously, staff often thought that it was the job of the activities coordinator to organise activities, and the success of activities was based on the number of people joining in. We’ve since changed this culture so that everyone plays a role in promoting meaningful activity, engagement and stimulation for residents.
“Staff at Anchor have completed training to help them understand that meaningful activity isn’t always about group activities – it can be small one-on-one everyday interactions, such as setting tables, cleaning dishes and watering plants. These daily tasks, that we often take for granted, can give individuals a sense of purpose so it’s important to encourage them.
“Taking a more personalised approach to activity planning has really benefited the people we support.
“This was recognised in Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection for Northbourne, which is one of the homes I support. Northbourne, along with seven other Anchor homes, are now rated Outstanding by the CQC.
“The inspector commented:
“The provider had innovative ways of protecting people from social isolation, and went the extra mile for people they supported and to find out about their past. The service had extremely effective ways of encouraging discussion and social stimulation, and had developed therapeutic approaches to support people with anxiety and frustration.”
“For example, when a new resident came to live at the home we talked to her about her life history. We found out that she had been a housewife and took pride in keeping a clean and tidy home – this was very important to her and something that she wanted to continue with.
“We spoke to the housekeeping staff and laundry assistant about how we could support this. The resident now supports with everyday housekeeping tasks, such as dusting, setting the lunch table and folding laundry, when she wishes. As a result, we’ve seen an improvement in her health and wellbeing – she’s more engaged with other people and has a healthier sleeping and eating pattern.
“When another resident was struggling with the transition from their home to residential care, we found out that they had a large family and enjoyed being around children, so we invited a local children’s group into Northbourne. After a few weeks, the individual appeared to be more settled in her new home and was really engaged in looking after the children when they visited.
“Another example was when we introduced more music around the care home, after talking to a resident who said that they loved listening to music.
“We trialled playing music in the main foyer. After a few days, we saw that one resident, who was quite withdrawn and spent a lot of time in their bedroom, spent more time in the foyer singing along to the music. This was a great way for them to develop friendships with other people, and we saw a big improvement to their health and wellbeing.
“We’ve come a long way in improving activity provision, and it’s all down to taking a more personalised approach. We recognise individuals as experts in their own lives, and we use life histories and reminiscence work to plan activities that are meaningful to them.”
Find out more
Skills for Care has launched a new self-assessment tool for adult social care employers, to assess current activity provision and identify areas for improvement. Access the free tool at www.skillsforcare.org.uk/activity