Posted: 20 August 2018
We know that social activities have lots of positive impacts on the health and well-being of people who access care and support, from keeping active to overcoming loneliness, improving depression and even reducing the rate of falls.
Lorna Weeden is an activity and lifestyle facilitator at Marbury House (part of Borough Care), a care home that offers rehabilitation support in Stockport. Her role plays a vital part of this service, and here she shares why she’s so passionate about it.
No two days are the same as an activities and lifestyle facilitator, and that’s just one of the things I love about my role. At the start of my shift I visit every resident, introduce myself to any new residents and let them know all about my role and what it means for them.
Next up I start the 'planned' activities which can include entertainers. animal therapy, ball games, armchair exercises, a trip out to the park or a chippy tea. The activity provision is wide and varied and entirely depends on the individuals being supported.
Every resident has an individualised activity plan and I’m very much focused on ensuring that their plan is created based on their interests, abilities and life experiences. I also need to make sure it meets their needs and supports their well-being. I love to see people smiling and enjoying the activities they’re taking part in.
I work in partnership with NHS staff such as community rehabilitation workers, occupational therapists, dieticians and physiotherapists to ensure that activities and interactions with residents support their emotional and physical well-being and overall rehabilitation. I also work closely with care, domestic and management teams within Borough Care and this holistic approach is highly effective in achieving person centred care outcomes or goals.
I love it when I hear other staff members talking about the benefits of the activities, and the recognition they provide when they see it working well, and one of the best parts - when staff join in with the activities too!
Once a month we’ll have a group session to compliment the 1-2-1 sessions which provides individuals with the opportunity to take part in communal activities.
Following my activities, I’ll complete an evaluation. I’ll also update the personalised diary of every resident with details of the activities they’ve taken part in. I’ll include photos and comments, plus any feedback I might have received. This is to document the emotional, spiritual and psychological support they have received.
Planning forms a key part of my role. I want to make sure that the activity that I plan is meaningful to the residents and that they participate in activity that supports their rehabilitation. Encouraging and promoting independence is a fundamental part of my role and I’m passionate about keeping our residents active and busy.
As part of the planning process, I carry out risk assessments for the planned activities. This allows me to enable residents to take risks to support their overall wellbeing.
I have a responsibility to make the home an interesting and stimulating place to live and this includes creating and contributing to person centred profiles. To do this I engage with residents, residents’ family and friends and other key professionals involved in their care and support.
I work with all the staff members at my home along with the volunteers who come in and volunteer their time to adult social care. I network with other facilitators from the ten Borough care homes to share ideas and promote good practice and attend external community groups to network and encourage the community into my home. This also provides me with an opportunity to find out about external community links that I can utilise when planning the activities.
Despite the meticulous planning that goes into creating the individualised activity plans, things don’t always go to plan. The nature of the role requires me to be really resilient and adaptable.
People often ask me what the favourite moment of my job so far but there really are too many to mention. I really enjoy the simple activities like playing snakes and ladders with two residents living with dementia but one of my favourites was walking around the home with a bearded dragon… some residents had never seen such an exotic animal and couldn’t wait to tell their families.
It’s not an easy role but very rewarding when you receive the positive emotions from residents. I love to hear family feedback about the positive emotional wellbeing of their loved ones and I enjoy hearing about the residents after they’ve left the home.
I’m really passionate about what I do and love to tell anyone who will listen!
Follow the campaign on twitter #happyworkplace #makingactivitycount