‘Ask Jan’ – Activities Training

“Dear Jan,

Do you recommend that non-activity staff carry out activity training?

Thanks, Nuala”


Dear Nuala,

When I first started working in care over 18 years ago, most care homes didnt have specific activity staff. It was up to the team to run events as and when they had time, which was always very haphazard and often last minute. Training was often limited to a couple of questions as part of an NVQ.

Slowly over the years the activity coordinators role has been recognised as vital to help organise meaningful activities. This has meant that residents now receive tailored, person-centred care and are living fulfilling, interesting lives.

There are now many courses available to help activity coordinators work to their full potential.

To avoid a them and us culture in care it is vital – in my opinion – that all staff are offered training on activities.

This should start at induction and be followed up with regular in-house training. When a new staff member join the team, they should have basic training in activity provision. It is not all about organising structured activities, it is about using their job role to engage with the individual and not be task driven.

Ideally, the new staff member should have the opportunity to shadow activity staff, so they understand the importance of having a whole home approach. A carer who gives the resident choice of what to wear or how to do their hair, a housekeeper who lets the resident dust, laundry staff who ask for help folding napkins or sorting socks, a receptionist who has help sorting the mail. This is all activity provision. It is important that everyone understands how to use their skills to fully benefit the whole as a home.

Use staff and resident meetings as opportunity to discuss how things are going and how best to nurture the whole home approach. Regular questionaires can be useful as well.

The more staff are trained, the better the outcome. It would be great if someone from each department has some training in activity provision and is able to pass on their knowledge to their team.

Best of luck,


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