Your activity coordinator is a valuable asset in your care home setting. There are many things that they can support the rest of your care team with, and they can certainly lead the way with great ideas for activities to enjoy even if you are experiencing care home lockdown.
Activity coordinators are generally creative creatures and they will have lots of valuable advice for supporting wellbeing for your care home residents and their work colleagues.
Times are hard for everyone right now - everyone has something/someone they are worried about and the stress will get to us all one way or another at a particular point in the day. We all need support from elsewhere - and the best kind of support is that which we gain from each other. Your activity coordinator is no different, so please reflect on the extra responsibilities you have passed over. And check in with them each day to ensure they are not feeling too overwhelmed or low.
Remember what your service is for:
Care homes should be safe places where vulnerable people can live with the support they need to continue their lives in the best way possible. Your residents will be feeling the effects of social distancing due to their families and friends not being able to visit them. If they were living independently they would experience this too.
But, their family members would be able to call them on a daily basis.
Phone calls are reassuring to both parties.
They are necessary for ensuring good mental wellbeing for everyone.
If you are managing a home that has stopped calls for your residents coming into your home, think again.
Good practice for handling calls:
You are likely to have assigned carers as keyworkers for certain residents in your home. This is good practice to help the spread of viruses and other contagious illnesses, etc. It also helps to build relationships between carers and residents. They can really get to know each other. Your carers should be responsible for supporting all kinds of personal care. Phone calls fall into this category as do other one-to-one activities, such as conversations about the weather, plans for the day, etc.
Your activity coordinator is there to support your carers with ideas of conversation starters and activities which are meaningful to each resident. The idea is that these activities are naturally built in to the everyday support and care of each resident - not a separate event, which may feel unnatural and intrusive.
Taking unnecessary risks:
If your activity coordinator is responsible for phone calls from family members and friends, you are putting everyone in your home at risk.
At a time when everyone is doing everything they can to restrict the spread of Covid-19, asking your activity coordinator to go in and out of each room in your home with every phone call is dangerous. What is worse, is that some activity coordinators are having to take these calls on their personal mobile phone.
Act now and request that family members provide a phone where possible. Many will have old ones shoved in a drawer because it can't cope with the latest app updates - these will be sufficient for phone calls. Where you find that you have shortages ask locally if anyone has a spare to donate - or order some cheap ones from a store. These will continue to be useful even after this particular lockdown.
Value your activity coordinator for the individual skills they bring to your care home.