Royal Star & Garter is launching a new Wellbeing Programme which will see a whole-Home approach to providing person-centred care, activities and physiotherapy every day of the year. Here, Director of Care Pauline Shaw explains why she believes this the right move for the charity, and a highly beneficial one to residents.
At the heart of care is acknowledging someone’s wellbeing which is the essence of what we do, and considers every part of a person’s life. I believe we will achieve this with our new Wellbeing Programme.
Our aim is that our new service will bring joy, interest and fulfilment, and will address aspects of physical, mental and psychological health which can lead to greater overall wellbeing and quality of life. We know that for many people, participating in activities and exercise gives a feeling of hope and purpose. Running alongside our new Programme, we will be celebrating all aspects of wellbeing throughout 2022, so that we can promote its importance in our supporters’ lives as well as in our Homes.
Royal Star & Garter has always felt it is important to treat everybody as individuals, and we are renowned for our person-centred care. We have taken stock of our approach and feel it is important that we have a joined-up, integrated way of providing exercise and activities where all staff are involved. Previously, it was felt that only certain staff were responsible for activities and exercise and we are now moving to a new approach where every member of staff in the Home will be part of this because wellbeing is everybody’s business. It will focus on living positively, with love and care with courage, which are all part of our core values. To support staff, training will be provided to equip them with the skills and confidence to deliver this approach. This also acknowledges and supports their wellbeing too.
One of the things that delights me about the programme is that it runs seven days a week. Previously the activities and physiotherapy teams finished on Friday evening and returned to work on Monday morning. Now we are providing a seven-days-a-week service which is how we all want to live, leading fulfilled lives every day.
The programme will measure the benefits and impact of activities and exercise and we aim to publish this information in the Home and on the Family Connections website so residents and relatives can see the positive impact it is having. Not everybody needs or wants physiotherapy, however it will still be available because there will be residents who will benefit from the therapeutic outcomes it can provide. We know there are also people who access physiotherapy because it boosts their mental health and wellbeing, which is just as important.
We are building on the good work we were doing already and we know many people were happy with what we had before. As good as it was, it was time to have the courage to review and enhance our services which we have always done as a charity. We’ve never shied away from taking difficult decisions and we never will.
The new service will be fun and create a positive impact. It will be delivered by people who really understand our work, our values, what we stand for and ultimately the residents and their specific needs. To do this, we’ve partnered with Oomph! as our wellbeing service provider. They will deliver the training tools, resources, ideas, inspiration, guidance and a vast library of online resource material which can be accessed and used across our Homes. Every staff member will be trained in the principles of wellbeing and we have arranged for people from Oomph! to visit the Home on several occasions to help staff deliver the service. They’ll be able to see how we are delivering wellbeing, provide feedback and support, and answer questions – some of which will certainly be challenging and probing. It’s important for staff to have this contact and training.
We should bear in mind what we’re doing isn’t new and other respected and successful organisations are working with Oomph! I wanted to work with them when our Surbiton Home opened in 2013 but the time wasn’t right. I’m delighted we’ve got there now because I really believe in their approach. I’m delighted that our Home Managers have fully embraced this approach and joined me in attending the Oomph! induction training.
Importantly, this new approach, as well as promoting wellbeing, will also help us identify and address illbeing, which is the opposite of wellbeing. Illbeing is a sense of feeling undervalued, ignored or upset. This is harder to spot if a resident is living with dementia, and where someone is unable to verbally communicate how they are feeling. The staff are trained to look for visual clues and body language to help understand how someone is feeling and support them.
I’m aware that often people don’t like change, it creates turbulence in people’s lives and this change has caused a level of uncertainty, which is completely understandable. The proof is always in the pudding and we’re yet to see how the new approach will work. The Home Managers and I believe in what we are doing 100%, and wouldn’t have introduced the new initiative if we didn’t believe this was the right approach. We have already received positive feedback, with people praising the seven-days-a-week service and saying that there’s more to do. But I know we have hearts and minds to win over, and with new team members getting to know the residents in our Homes this will take time. Residents are still able to enjoy wonderful activities and outings, when Covid guidance allows, and we still have staff providing physiotherapy; that’s not going away and it never will. It’s in our heritage and legacy and we’re proud of that.