Care homes need to boost their activity programmes
Caring Times, October 2016
Care home review website Carehome.co.uk has urged care homes to improve their activities programmes, after its research revealed that only a half (52%) of residents and relatives rated activities in care homes as ‘excellent’. One in 10 (11%) said activities in care homes were ‘very poor’, ‘poor’ or ‘satisfactory’. Just over a third (37%) said they were ‘good’.
On the other hand, 82% of residents and relatives gave care homes in the UK the top rating for Dignity and Staff, closely followed by Care and Support at 79% and Management at 76%. Only 64% scored the highest for Food and Drink.
There are more than 24,500 reviews of UK care homes on carehome.co.uk.
Davina Ludlow, director of carehome.co.uk, said: “It is so reassuring to see that a high number of reviews are receiving the top rating for Dignity and Care and Support. There are so many care homes out there that provide such good care to all their residents and these reviews prove this.
“It is however vital that care homes ensure residents are also stimulated and take part in meaningful activities. As someone who has worked for a long time in the sector, and who has had personal experience of a loved one living in a care home, I know just how beneficial activities can be for residents.
“Having a full calendar of events can have a massive impact on an individual’s physical and emotional wellbeing. For example, taking part in a regular exercise class can help a person stay more mobile as they get older, and can help them retain their independence and boost social interaction.
“In many care homes, activities are an integral part of a resident’s care plan and dedicated activity coordinators are becoming increasingly important. However, we would like to see more care homes in the UK prioritising activities and improving their current programmes so that even more homes can be rated top in this category – especially as activities are held in high regard by the regulator.
”Carehome.co.uk launched its online talent contest Care Home Idol three years ago to help stimulate activity in care homes and encourage residents to sing, perform and showcase their talents.”
The National Association for Providers of Activities for Older People (NAPA) has found that care homes that enable residents to participate in regular activities help to reduce the likelihood of residents suffering a fall, losing their independence, or getting depression.
Stimulating and getting people living with dementia involved in activities has also been found to improve their wellbeing and reduce agitation.
By asking what people enjoy doing, care homes may find they have a group of people who enjoy quizzes and they can put on an evening quiz for them. The problem is homes often have a set programme instead of responding to what people want. The challenge for many care homes is to make this huge cultural change, according to NAPA.
Sylvie Silver, director of the National Association for Providers of Activities for Older People (NAPA), said: “As a charity we are working hard to help more care homes improve their rating. We know that having a skilled, qualified activity specialist makes a difference and we are keen to see every care setting have one on the team even if they don’t employ a dedicated activity coordinator. Our aim is for every care home to be full of life, love and laughter.”