Ideas for the Whole Home

We were so impressed with the quality of entries we received from our Everybody’s Talking competition that instead of just finding three winners, we’ve also awarded five runners-up prizes for other care homes that impressed us with their innovative and thoughtful responses to introducing a whole-home approach.

From knitting circles involving not only all the staff, but family members too, to the fun sounding ‘Sherry Friday’ and tasting sessions with a head chef; there are a whole host of ways you can gently and easily get all the care home staff contributing to the lives and wellbeing of residents. Different things work for different care homes, but there are plenty of clever ideas below that should give you some inspiration.

Well done to all the runners up, and those that entered. We have seen first-hand the impact that a whole-home approach can have, especially in the way it can support the activities team to provide full days of conversation, activity and engagement for all residents. You are all an inspiration.

Runner Up: Most Inspiring Example of a Whole-Home Approach

Tynwald Residential Home, Kent

“One afternoon after lunch, a compliment about a cardigan led to a conversation about knitting between three residents and myself. The ladies started reminiscing about the baby clothes, socks and sweaters they had to knit for their families. I asked the group what they thought of having a regular meeting to talk, knit and crochet together – they liked the idea.

It went so well, that it has become a continuous activity which involves residents, staff, and relatives. People donate wool and needles which are kept in a bright pink box in the lounge, with a notice on it asking for help to knit squares. Fidgety fingers are kept busy, stiff and arthritic joints are gently exercised, and as we knit, the memory of different stitches returns, and many conversations start up. Residents have been teaching the carers, team leaders, and me, and they are thrilled to have a purposeful activity.”

(Thanks to Fiona Cabache)

Runner Up: Most Creative Example of a Whole-Home Approach

Abbeycrest Care Home, Reading

“We were looking for an activity that would include everyone in the home, not only residents, but visitors and staff too, and we came up with the idea of a social occasion with a twist. Not coffee and cake – but sherry and nibbles!

Each week on a Friday morning, residents, relatives and staff meet for ‘Sherry Friday’ in the Abbeycrest lounge. This is a very popular activity with everyone, as it gives our residents a chance to socialise with not only each other, but members of staff who they often only see briefly during the week. It started with a bottle of sherry and a chat and now we have progressed to a drinks trolley with a vast variety of choice requested by our residents. The chef and members of the kitchen staff serve the drinks and the manager hands out snacks and nibbles.

Sometimes it feels that the home comes to a standstill on a Friday – even the hairdresser and chiropodist stop for a glass of something and a chat. This activity really does bring the home together once a week, not only for a drop of sherry but also a chance for residents, relatives and staff to come together for a chat and maybe also to learn a little bit about one another.”

(Thanks to Jane Thomas)

Left to Right: Autumn House Residential Home, Tynwald Residential Home, Lavender Hills Care Home, Abbeycrest Care Home Left to Right: Autumn House Residential Home, Tynwald Residential Home, Lavender Hills Care Home, Abbeycrest Care Home

Runner Up: Most Meaningful Example of a Whole-Home Approach

Autumn House Residential Home, Isle of Wight

“Autumn House takes a whole-home approach to activities by involving all staff as much as possible. Our head chef holds a monthly taste session where he provides a selection of different foods for the residents to try. One of our carers loves to sing and holds a monthly singing group for those who wish to join in. She takes the time to learn the lyrics to old favourites that the residents know. Then fortnightly we have a ‘knit and natter’ session, held by one of our senior staff members as she has good knitting skills.

The laundry assistant also involves a resident with their daily tasks, such as folding clothes and towels, and the housekeeper gets a little bit of help with their daily cleaning schedule too, from wiping down the tables to sweeping the floor.

I believe that this approach has really strengthened the care team and the relationship they hold with our residents. Our management team always take time out from their busy schedule to involve themselves too, getting up singing and dancing and providing all resources needed to make our activities possible.”

(Thanks to Jenn Hill)

Runner Up: Most Meaningful Example of a Whole-Home Approach

Lavender Hills Care Home, Ramsbottom

“Activities are seen as an integral part of care by everyone here, from higher management to domestic staff. There is a real home environment at Lavender Hills and everybody is more than happy to ‘muck in’.

Recently, for example, our deputy manager, Neil, swapped his suit and tie for a white coat and hairnet, and cooked a full Chinese banquet for our residents. And we have senior care staff like Denise, who is always singing and laughing with the residents and Hayley, who is very crafty and keeps the residents busy with arts and craft projects when I am not there.

The kitchen staff assist with baking sessions and get residents to bake their own dishes. Our domestic staff always take the time to chat with the residents and get to know their likes, dislikes and interests. They often come to me with suggestions or let me know when they have chatted to a resident who is feeling particularly lonely, and have even brought in picture books and games for the residents. All of our care staff take a person-centred approach to our residents and go above and beyond to make their lives fulfilling.”

(Thanks to Charlotte Oliver)