Visiting at St Michaels

Alongside our in room visits we are still offering screen visits, window visits, garden visits and video calls.


June 2021

First garden visit of the year for Linda and a trip to the seafront for Bill


Coming out of the pandemic – how have care homes adapted to the ‘new normal’?

The care home sector was presented with an unprecedented challenge when COVID-19 hit in February 2020. As part of the wider national lockdown, all care homes had to close their doors to external visitors as well as rapidly evolving their internal hygiene procedures to prevent the spread of the virus. Over a year later, as the vaccination programme continues to roll out at pace across the UK, and life begins to return to some form of normal, care homes across the country are opening their doors again to facilitate visits from family and friends - something which many of their residents have sorely missed - as well as welcoming new residents into their communities. But with the pandemic still a present challenge, how have care homes like Oakwood House in Norwich adapted to the ‘new normal’ and what procedures are in place to keep residents, staff and visitors safe?

Ongoing use of PPE

Along with increased cleaning and hygiene measures, the ongoing use of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) has become an essential part of life for care homes in preventing the spread of COVID-19, and one of the main ways that care homes have had to adapt. Full PPE - including gloves, visors, face masks and aprons - is provided for all care workers, and all visitors are required to wear a face mask and use a hand sanitiser before entering the home. The use of PPE is likely to be something that continues to be used for the foreseeable future, so the team at Oakwood House have ensured that they have a plentiful supply that is regularly replenished.

Swift vaccination uptake

Care home residents were one of the first groups to be offered the COVID-19 vaccine when the vaccination programme began in January ’21. Care homes acted swiftly to facilitate the uptake of the vaccine, meaning that the majority of care home residents had received both vaccinations by March, and are fully prepared for additional boosters planned for later in the year. Care home staff have also been offered the vaccine, adding an extra level of protection for residents and peace of mind for their families.

Keeping the lines of communication open

In line with the latest government guidance, care homes are now able to allow relatives to visit their loved ones via in-room visits with up to five named visitors being allowed per resident (no more than two at a time), as well as external visits with those same five visitors also being permitted. However, many care homes have introduced different ways that residents can keep in touch with their friends and family - either via offering different methods of visitation or other forms of communication. Oakwood House has established several COVID safe family meeting rooms as well as socially distanced outdoor meeting spaces, and digital communication methods - such as video calls - are also still very much on the agenda should physical visits not be possible.

Robust infection control measures

Infection control strategies have always been present in care homes, however, the outbreak of COVID-19 meant that hygiene and cleaning practices had to be intensified which required all care home staff to receive training to ensure they could carry out these stringent procedures. As part of current infection control measures, care homes regularly test all staff and residents for COVID-19 in line with the government guidelines and also ask that visitors take a lateral flow test prior to entering the home. The combination of regular testing, robust hygiene practices and the use of PPE - including screens where required - has allowed care homes to reintroduce services, which were previously prohibited during lockdown, such as hairdressers, chiropodists and external entertainers. Some homes - such as Oakwood House - continued to provide these services throughout the various lockdowns, but at the peak of the restrictions, they were conducted by staff.

New introductions

As part of their infection control measures, care homes have also had to adapt how they welcome new residents, with many homes implementing a form of quarantine to keep existing residents safe. At Oakwood House, new residents spend the first 10 days in a safe quarantine area within the home (receiving all the care they need from the friendly care staff) before being tested for COVID-19 and then moving into the main home.

Looking ahead to the ‘new normal’

As we’ve seen, care homes have had to implement many changes across their services in order to adapt to a post-COVID world. However, with lockdown restrictions set to lift further on 21st June, the outlook for care homes is looking bright. Although the wearing of facemasks and regular testing may continue to be part of life for the foreseeable future, the ‘new normal’ will bring lots of benefits for care home residents and their relatives. Family visits will become easier and more frequent, and residents can continue to enjoy their regular activities whilst catching up with their friends within the community (as well as staff), offering lots of opportunities for social interaction. Meaning that the care homes’ social and events calendar will once again be full to the brim of activities and celebrations to keep residents active, content and safe.

Sources: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visiting-care-homes-during-coronavirus/update-on-policies-for-visiting-arrangements-in-care-homes


May 2021

Ken enjoys a trip out to the seaside - 7th June 2021

We are so lucky to live by the sea

Farewell Lesley - 27th May 2021

Today we sad a sad farewell to Lesley who is leaving us to enjoy her retirement in Spain. She will be missed by us all here at St Michaels and we thank her for everything she has done


April 2021

Entertainment is back at St Michael's - 2nd April 2021

We are so glad to be welcoming our weekly entertainers back to St Michaels! Starting with the fabulous Tara who entertained us yesterday afternoon, she had everyone singing, dancing and smiling! Thank you.

The Easter Bunny delivers - 2nd April 2021

A special delivery for our residents today

Acoustic session with 'Tall John'

'Tall John ' visited St Michaels and showed us his guitar skills and musical talent. Richard couldn't help but join in.

Postcards of Kindness - Saturday 17th April 2021

Postcards of Kindness was created and launched by a care home provider in 2018. The scheme encourages members of the public to write and send postcards to residents of care homes on a regular basis.
Whilst it’s a small gesture, the results bring a great deal of joy, whilst reminding care home residents that there are other people that are thinking of them around the UK. Receiving these postcards and learning about the sender’s life and interests, often sparks the memories for residents, which in turn and encourages them to start a conversation about their own precious memories…. whether it be their first home, their wedding day, or a holiday spent by the sea.

The postcards are a quick and simple way to bring a smile to someone's

face.

Thank you to all those who have chosen St Michaels to be part of this heart-warming campaign.

Residents and staff alike look forward to receiving and reading the postcards.


March 2021

We open our doors once again - Monday 8th March 2021

A year our doors have been closed to visitors - It's going to be an emotional week for all our residents and families. Mr Ray was our visitor, to see his wife Jill

We had fun celebrating St Patricks Day - Friday 19th March 2021

Our ladies enjoyed a morning quiz - Monday 29th March 2021


February 2021

Vannessa and Natasha love to keep the residents smiling - 10th February 2021

Over the last few weeks, they have enjoyed belly dancing, gentle exercises, and games in the chapel.

We had snow! 10th February 2021

Planting - Monday 22nd February 2021

The weather is getting warmer.. on Friday afternoon some of our residents planted Chillies, Tubers, Flower Seeds and made recycled seed pots from newspaper- getting ready for spring!


Why care homes are the solution to tackling isolation and loneliness in elderly people

Feeling lonely is something we all experience from time to time and for many different reasons, but long-term loneliness can have a detrimental effect on a person’s mental and physical health – particularly in an older person who lives on their own. According to a recent study by Which.co.uk, 1 in 10 people over the age of 65 said they either always or often felt lonely, and research has shown that loneliness can lead to an increased risk of someone developing coronary heart disease, strokes and dementia, as well as links to causing anxiety and depression.

With this in mind, it’s important to be able to identify the signs that suggest an elderly relative might be lonely and find a solution. Loneliness can be tricky to spot as it is a subjective experience, however common symptoms are withdrawing from family and friends, low self-esteem, boredom and low mood. A person’s circumstances can also lead them to feel lonely - such as being recently widowed or having a long-term health issue. Moving into a care home environment offers a practical solution for older people who might be feeling lonely or isolated where they live. There are many benefits for making the move into care which help alleviate loneliness, as well as improve a person’s quality of life and general wellbeing. Some of these benefits are outlined below:

Community

Connecting with others - whether it’s with friends, family or forming new connections with people who have similar interests - is a great way to combat loneliness and banish isolation. Being part of a care home community offers multiple opportunities for people to maintain social interactions with a whole host of different people. Even if it’s just saying “good morning” to someone; these small interactions make all the difference and can help people feel more connected to where they live.

Keeping active

Staying active and keeping busy benefit both a person’s physical and mental health, as well as being a great way to connect with others. Many care homes encourage their residents to continue with their favoured hobbies and pastimes as well as taking up something new, so it’s a priority for the activity coordinators at each care home to ensure that there are plenty of engaging activities available and something for everyone. Flower arranging, live music, baking, a cinema room, board games and summer parties are just some of the activities available to residents at St. Michael’s Care in Margate.

Highly trained and caring staff

Whether it’s nursing, residential or respite care that’s required, care home staff are highly trained care professionals, so in addition to forming strong relationships with the residents in their care (and therefore always being happy to have a chat over a cuppa!), they will also be quick to spot any subtle changes in a resident’s behaviour that might suggest they are feeling lonely or ‘not quite right.’ Noticing these signs early means that necessary changes can be made to a resident’s care to maximise their happiness, safety and wellbeing. Outside space Getting outside in the fresh air is a great way to refresh a person’s mood and also strengthens our feeling of connection to nature and the wider world. Research has shown that this promotes physical and mental wellbeing in older people, so it’s an important factor in tackling loneliness. Care homes have safe outside spaces and attractive surroundings, with many having well-appointed gardens for residents to relax in. Whether it’s a stroll around the grounds or perhaps a leisurely walk down to Westgate on Sea, St. Michael’s Care offers lots of opportunities for residents to get outdoors and feel the wind on their face!

A positive approach

Taking a positive outlook on life - along with eating well, staying active and getting enough sleep – is another factor that can improve a person’s overall health and wellbeing, whilst also helping to keep loneliness at bay. Care homes recognise the importance of the power of positivity in relation to combatting loneliness and therefore they strive to create positive home-from-home environments for all of their residents, as well as ensuring that they eat well and get a good night’s sleep.

Don’t worry about your loved one being alone. Friendship, care and interaction are at the heart of what we do here at St. Michael’s Care. Please contact our team on 01843 834 917 to arrange a viewing.

Sources:

Campaign to End Loneliness: https://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org

Psychology of Loneliness Report (Campaign to End Loneliness) https://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/blog/the-psychology-of-loneliness-why-it-matters-and-what-we-can-do/

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January 2021

Happy New year from all at St Michael's! - 1st January 2021

Let's hope it's a happier and healthier one

Covid vaccination! 8th January 2021

Yesterday afternoon St Michaels Care was the first Home to receive the Covid-19 Vaccination from Westgate Surgery. Kerry was the first staff member to receive her vaccine along with all our residents. Thank you Westgate surgery, we look forward to seeing you again in 12 weeks for our second dose.


December 2020

We put the Christmas decorations up today - 7th December 

Barbara was so happy with Christmas treats from her daughter! - 9th December 2020

Christmas party! - 17th December 2020

Fortunately, before Tier 4 was announced our residents were able to enjoy some entertainment by Mike at our 1st Christmas party. It's lovely to see our residents still smiling, keeping up the Christmas spirit, and enjoying themselves at the end of a very difficult year. Keep an eye out tomorrow for the photos from our 2nd party!

Christmas party 2! - 24th December 2020

As promised here are the photos from our second party where we were thoroughly entertained by Mike once again! We would like to thank Vanessa for spreading cheer and dressing as our very own St Michaels Elf and Natasha for organising such a fantastic couple of days. Merry Christmas to one and all, lets hope 2021 is a better year!!

Christmas Day!

Spoilt with gifts from their loved ones, a lovely Christmas dinner with a glass of wine & video calls to families... Christmas day was different this year but we still made it special for our residents and we had smiles all around.

Robin Hood Pantomime - Wednesday 30th December 2020

We enjoyed the pantomime Robin Hood yesterday afternoon, slightly different from

our usual live performance but the residents still thoroughly enjoyed the show.