A south coast care home provider has dramatically expanded its companionship team to help maintain residents’ wellbeing and quality of life during lockdown.
Colten Care has appointed 18 new recruits to lead group activities such as arts and music sessions and deliver meaningful and inspiring one-to-one time.
The new hires include singers, musicians and teachers. Together they will provide up to 1,000 residents at Colten’s 21 homes with an extra 469 hours of companionship opportunities each week.
The expansion is intended to support residents and families faced with renewed restrictions on care home visiting under the latest government lockdown measures.
Elaine Farrer, Colten’s Operations Director, said: “We already put great store on enabling residents to enjoy companionship and lovely experiences with others. We know how powerful and valuable this is for people’s daily living.
“During the pandemic, the constraints on family visiting have heightened the need for companionship because of the lack of opportunity for face-to-face contact with loved ones.
“That’s why we have ‘upped our game’ and invested in the expansion of our dedicated team.
“The resident is at the very heart of everything we do, with clinical, companionship and other team members all supporting their emotional, physical and mental wellbeing.”
The extra team members will supplement the work of colleagues who have continued to provide companionship, activities and experiences during the pandemic.
Examples include birthday and anniversary celebrations, community occasions and an across-the-group garden produce show in which residents grew and showcased flowers, fruit and vegetables.
In addition, all 21 homes have continued to fundraise for charities such as Macmillan Cancer Support, Children in Need, local food banks and other community causes.
Celebrations during the Christmas season included gala lunches, candlelit carol singing, religious services, lantern walks and community window displays.
Tracey Tarrant, whose mother lives at Colten’s art deco-themed Bourne View in Poole, said: “It is a worrying time for everybody, and people everywhere are trying to get their heads around the severity of it all, but we have as much peace of mind as it’s possible to muster knowing mum is receiving excellent care in a comfortable, safe environment.
“The staff are truly caring, loving people who treat your family member as if they were their family member.
“With their support, mum has come on in leaps and bounds and re-found her confidence and independence to a level we never thought possible.”
Tracey’s thoughts are echoed by Ken Vivian, a resident at Brook View in West Moors, Dorset.
He points to a range of activities the home provides to ensure residents are happy, comfortable and fulfilled while following the rules on physical distancing.
Ken cites quizzes and carpet bowls among his personal favourites.
“It depends on what you want,” he said. “There’s always something to do, and that’s down to the staff. I like them very much. They’re easy to talk to and they’ll do anything for you.”
Among the new recruits to the companionship team is singer and pianist Nicky Stevens, a member of the 1976 Eurovision-winning group Brotherhood of Man.
Nicky, who has joined Colten’s Outstanding-rated Ferndown home Amberwood House, said: “Music is so uplifting and therapeutic. It’s wonderful to be able to use my talents to help provide residents who are vulnerable with stimulation and keep them cheered up. I’m loving this opportunity.”