Sunrise Senior Living UK and Gracewell Healthcare have launched an emergence plan to guide their care homes through the easing of social distancing measures over the coming months.
The launch hopes to address residents’ and families’ anxieties and expectations as the sector begins to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In advance of visits, there will be honest conversations with family members whose loved one’s cognitive abilities have declined over the past year to minimise any distress.
Residents will be asked about their hopes, and concerns about changes to social distancing restrictions, to provide the necessary reassurance about reconnecting with others.
Residents who have lost confidence in social situations will be encouraged to partner with fellow residents and take part in group activities. A guide has been produced to support the introduction of events and excursions at their care homes as restrictions ease. These will start with smaller activities, such as local walks and minibus trips, but are expected to encompass more sociable events, including entertainers from outside the care homes, once it is safe to do so.
Care homes will also support residents to improve clinical indicators, such as mood, appetite and mobility, which may have deteriorated since the start of the pandemic.
Head of COVID-19 Taskforce Anna Selby, who developed the protocol, said: “We need to start off with that meaningful conversation, a ‘How are you feeling? What are you looking forward to? What does it mean to you?’, and test it out.
“And it may be that ‘I’m really looking forward to it and I’m fine, and I can’t wait and I’m going to start preparing and start ordering new clothes’, but other people might feel ‘Actually, I’m really overwhelmed’.”