We are supporting residents living with dementia with our ‘Making Mealtimes Marvellous’ campaign
Our ‘Making Mealtimes Marvellous’ campaign aims to provide advice on how to increase food and fluid intake for those living with dementia. We started this campaign at Seacroft Green Care Village, to improve our mealtimes for our residents, which was hugely successful.
Mealtimes are Precious and at Springfield Healthcare we protect them
Sitting down to enjoy a good food, in good company, in an unhurried and peaceful environment can be the highlight of everyone’s day. That’s what we aspire to achieve here at Springfield. We cater for everyone’s needs and tastes and provide meals which can be enjoyed in our dining rooms or in the comfort of a residents own room.
We consider our mealtimes ‘precious’ and we work to create an environment conducive to eating and drinking, which enables staff to provide residents with the support and assistance they need in order to maximise nutritional intake. We call these ‘Protected Mealtimes’ and always ensure that the resident is put at the centre of mealtimes and promotes a positive resident experience.
Our Protected Mealtimes are 12.30pm – 2.00pm and 4.30pm – 5.30pm
During these times
·All available staff will be allocated to support the residents
Staff will not take allocated breaks, nor leave the community unless in an emergency situation
All non-essential staff activity e.g. cleaning, laundry delivery should cease on the community during mealtimes
Below, we have outlined some key information about why nutrition is so important for those living with dementia.
Why are those with dementia at risk of undernutrition and dehydration?
Losing weight is common in people living with dementia, who may find eating and drinking difficult or refuse food or drink for a number of reasons:
Problems expressing hunger/thirst, or dislike of a particular food or drink
A lack of interest in food may be caused by low mood
Confusion in recognising food and remembering how to eat
Concentration can be poor, making it difficult to sit down and finish a meal
Other challenges associated with dementia include:
Reduced thirst sensation
Limited recognition of hunger
Paranoia surrounding food
Difficulties chewing and swallowing
Why is eating and drinking well important?
Becoming dehydrated can put older people at risk of many health conditions, such as reduced cognitive status, incontinence, constipation, increased tiredness, low blood pressure, and can increase the risk of falls as a result of dizziness and confusion.
It is recommended to drink around 6-8 glasses (1500ml) of fluid a day, however any increase in fluid intake will be beneficial.
Undernutrition and loss of body mass can cause a more rapid progression of dementia as well as increasing the risk of complications such as pressure sores, infections, and falls and fractures.
The eating environment
Sensory cues such as the smell of food being cooked and setting a table to eat can help people recognise it’s mealtime.
Create a social environment at mealtimes and the opportunity to sit around a table together. This increases enjoyment of meals and means some can copy eating behaviours.
Comfortable environment free from distractions such as loud background noise or TV, unpleasant smells and unnecessary items on the table.
Positioning is important – sitting properly will help with chewing and swallowing and prevent feelings of early fullness.
Support people to eat independently for as long as possible – guiding their hands, verbal prompts to remind, and the use of tools such as lightweight cups, high sided bowls. plain coloured plates.
Allow more time for those with dementia to finish their meals, without making them feel rushed.
Stimulate interest and enjoyment of food through celebrating occasions or events (e.g. Chinese New Year), and participating in tea dances, bbqs, coffee mornings, or curry evenings.
Tastes can change as dementia develops and stronger flavours are often preferred. Try using mild spices and flavour enhances such as herbs, cheese and marmite.
People with dementia often prefer sweeter foods so try things such as adding honey porridge, or jam in sandwiches.
Mini meals – providing smaller portions at mealtimes and then offering seconds can be less daunting and easier to manage.
Grazing menus/snacks – finger food such as sandwich bites, sausage rolls, chopped fruit, and mini rolls can help to increase food intake for those who struggle to concentrate/walk round while eating.
If possible, drinks and snacks could be made readily available for people to help themselves to, but individuals should also be encouraged and prompted to eat and drink.
Offer a variety of different drinks – tea, coffee, hot chocolate, squash/water served in jugs, ice lollies, and foods with a high water content such as melon and jelly.
Encouragement to drink throughout the day as those with dementia may not be able to sense when they are thirsty. Try making them a drink rather than just offering.
Fortifying food is a good way of getting more calories in without increasing portion size. Try adding things like full-fat milk, cheese, and cream to everyday foods such as mashed potato and soups.
World Music Day
In recognition of World Music Day, we want to focus on the benefits of music for individuals with dementia. Music is a powerful tool, which unlocks memories and connects to parts of the brain in ways that other forms of communication cannot. Research highlights the positive effects of music for people with dementia for improving cognition, memory, speech, communication skills and overall wellbeing. It has also been found to reduce agitation and depression for some individuals.
We have recently invested more into our wellbeing programmes, with additional team members and specialists in sport and music across our homes, focusing on providing more and more opportunities for residents.
Recently, we have:
Hosted 1950’s and 1970’s days at Seacroft Green, where residents enjoyed singing, dancing and listening to some of their favourite songs
Enjoyed weekly karaoke sing-a-longs to music of resident’s choice across our Springfield homes
Participated in ‘move to music’ activities at Chocolate Works Care Village which provided residents with opportunities to keep fit and enjoy music together
Listened and sang along to music from different countries on our Springfield Grab Your Passport! days where residents virtually visit different countries each month to experience the different cultures
Sunny Days at Chocolate Works Care Village
Doesn’t the sun make everything better!
We had a lovely day at the Chocolate Works today, with 3 exercise classes! We made our own fresh bread, enjoyed the sunshine on the Garden Terrace and some residents took a stroll down to the Peace Garden
We are very grateful to be able to have activities even in smaller groups, this makes it more safe for the residents but also means we can deliver person-centered care which is specific to each residents needs. The Wellbeing Team really have loved the 1-1 opportunities that these smaller groups have created.
Activities and Wellbeing at Springfield Care Home
I love my role as Wellbeing Team Leader at Springfield Care Home and I love coming to work every morning and saying hello to our residents as they are getting up and having their breakfast.
We normally have two organised activities each day (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) with plenty of free time in between for residents to enjoy doing the daily word-search challenge, crosswords, watching television or participating in some arts and crafts. Our beautiful outdoor space also provides a safe and quiet area for residents to garden, feed our fish and enjoy the summer months. We’re already excited for the summer months and we already have lots planned for residents to look forward to.
Our activities timetable involves a variety of activities that we change regularly according to what our residents enjoy. In a typical week, this often includes gardening, bingo (one of our favourites across all communities), spa afternoon, knitting, group discussions about specific topics and much much more. We also often hold sing-along afternoons where we see residents get up and dance to some of their favourite songs.
My role is to ensure that our activities programme is varied and encompasses a wide variety of activities to suit all our residents’ interests and hobbies and to encourage participation for everyone. We regularly speak with our residents to gather feedback and to understand what they enjoy so that we can provide an increasingly tailored activities programme and provide a more meaningful timetable. The activities and wellbeing team at Springfield Care Home are amazing and our carers are heavily involved to ensure that all residents can participate and get involved with anything that they wish.
We also enjoy celebrating national holidays, special days and Springfield organised events! So far this year, we have had themed days, celebrated Springfield’s ‘Grab Your Passport!’ days whereby residents virtually visited Scotland and Spain for the day with a trip to The Caribbean booked for the end of the month.
We are delighted that we have recently started welcoming families back to visit their loved ones, which has been so special for everyone involved.
I feel very privileged and fortunate to have such a fabulous role in such an amazing care home, where I can make a difference to resident’s wellbeing both physically and mentally.
-Tori Parsons (Well Being Team Leader)
Springfield Healthcare’s Mental Health First Aid Boxes
In 2021, Springfield Healthcare continue to put mental health as much a priority as physical health. Our new initiative promotes positive mental health coping mechanisms and strategies amongst care staff, whilst striving to normalise talking about mental health.
Our Mental Health First Aid Kits have been designed to provide our Mental Health First Aiders with additional ways to support those that may be struggling and to provide our staff with resources to use when they may be feeling low. We have created these kits for each of our Springfield homes to support anyone who may be struggling with their mental health. The contents of these kits have been carefully thought out, whilst considering all potential scenarios.
We have also created some Mental Health Know How booklets which have been designed to provide proactive and reactive strategies to assist in maintaining good mental health. We have all, at some stage, experienced poor mental health and the people that have contributed to the booklet have used some of these strategies to great success. ‘Springfield Healthcare’s mental health initiative is aimed at ‘normalising’ mental health’ … and this is only the beginning.
Ellie Billany, Head of Learning & Development and Mental Health First Aider at Springfield Care Villages, said “Mental health is as important as Physical health, with 1 in 4 people in England needing support of some kind each year. Our new initiative aims to spread awareness and to ensure that staff feel able to speak to us, to learn about many different coping mechanisms and to use a range of resources if needed.
“A day in the life” with the Activities and Wellbeing Team at Mayfield View
Here at Mayfield View we have a delightful array of characters amongst our residents, with many enjoying our regular activities such as prize bingo, exercise classes, hair and nails in the salon and most residents absolutely love our weekly boules and archery tournaments!! I think if I were to say that we were going bungee jumping, there would certainly be a queue of residents waiting for their turn.
We have a minimum of two activities each day from quizzes, crafts sessions, group talks – the list is truly endless! We recently togged up in our dressing gowns for ‘facial yoga’ before bed in our in-home spa which we lit with fairy lights. We have also been showing some of our favourite films in our purpose built cinema, including classics such as ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s,’ ‘Titanic’ and ‘Gladiator’ and more recently incorporating tasting sessions for cheese, wine, chocolate and teas from around the world in our activities timetables. The fun doesn’t end after the activities session though, we encourage residents to step outside of their comfort zone and join in with whatever they can, and to whatever degree they choose to, whether that be full participation or sitting and watching the activity.
As Wellbeing Co-Ordinator, my main objective is to get residents making things independently, playing games and to get everyone together to have a laugh and get to know one another. We are all part of the Mayfield family and I want all residents to feel a part of the community.
I am extremely grateful to the fabulous carers at Mayfield View who continue to assist the wellbeing team by helping to build atmosphere around the activities and by specifically nursing individuals who need support in order to join in – thank you. I am so proud to be part of such a lovely team.
– Marilyn Preston, Wellbeing Co-Ordinator
World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day takes place on October 10 with the goal to help raise mental health awareness across the planet and the theme for this year is ‘mental health for all!’
We have recently linked with Mind, Leeds to break down the stigma surrounding mental health in the workplace across the Springfield Healthcare Group. Everyone has times when they struggle with their mental health, and it isn’t always easy to openly talk about it. Springfield Healthcare are dedicated and committed to supporting and looking after staff and colleagues mental health, with our very own Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs) to be the first port of call for colleagues who may need advice.
Mental Health First Aiders
Springfield Healthcare have dedicated and qualified Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs) who are committed to providing mental health support and advice to colleagues across the Group. For us, supporting both residents and staff with their mental health is a priority and we believe that it is extremely important that everyone knows that they have someone to talk to, that they feel supported and know who to turn to in their place of employment. If you’re a Springfield Healthcare colleague and would like to know more about how we can support you at work, please speak to one of the mental health first aiders (please refer to the posters in your home or the MySpringfield App).
How are we celebrating and supporting this years World Mental Health Day?
Springfield Healthcare homes have been given the opportunity to celebrate this day by promoting happiness and wellbeing throughout the homes and celebrating all the good things that we do and that we have achieved together. At The Chocolate Works Care Village, there was an open door session to encourage any staff members to talk about any problems, worries etc… Staff were also given some goodie bags and cards and vouchers were sent to staff that are currently on maternity leave.
Keeping Residents in touch with Nature
The Chocolate Works Care Village, York, have been extremely fortunate with the weather, recently taking advantage of the sunshine by spending afternoons on the garden terrace and other lovely, sunny spaces around the home. However, on days that we are unable to go outside, we bring the outside in! Recently, residents on the Knavesmire community created an Autumn scenery board and next week we will be making wreaths with residents on our Riverside community.
Activities Co-Ordinator at The Chocolate Works, Libertee Hull, explained that ‘residents love to be connected to the outdoors and we are fortunate that we have many opportunities to accommodate these desires. When the weather allows it, we spend time outside whether on the roof terrace, the front lawn or the peace garden, but as we enter the colder months, we like to bring the outdoors in so residents can stay in touch with nature.”
Staff Wellbeing and Mental Health Support
Every day at Springfield Healthcare, we focus on caring for and supporting our residents and with the current challenges that we face with Coronavirus (COVID-19) it is now incredibly important that our employees prioritise their own mental health and wellbeing, recognising that it is more difficult to provide outstanding care for others if you are not adequately caring for yourself. The safety of our staff is of utmost importance and we have sufficient supplies of PPE to ensure that they are well equipped and we continue to do everything that we can to support our staff. We’ve made available a multitude of support and resources for all our staff to access, from details of our fully trained in-house mental health first aiders and raising awareness of mental health through to developing a culture of self-care predominantly using our MySpringfield employee app.
The team at Springfield Carehome have been incredible during this incredibly tough time, and we have been working on some new initiatives to support our current wellbeing and mental health. Our MySpringfield App has been a great way for us to share tips on how to look after our mental health, our self-care top tips and contact details for our many mental health first aiders. It also provides a platform for our staff to communicate with others in the group, to share their own wellbeing tips and stories.
Springfield Carehome has an ‘open door policy’ to actively encourage staff to speak with the management team regarding any aspect of their wellbeing and mental health. This highlights our culture of looking after one another despite everything happening around us. Debbie Smith, HR Administrator said “I personally think that at this time, it is so important to acknowledge staff on a daily basis, a simple thank you means a lot, and it costs nothing to be nice to people.”
Springfield Healthcare employs over 1300 staff, and it is our absolute priority to ensure that our workforce are healthy and cared for in order to continue to provide the high quality care to our service users that we are known for, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. In recognition of our own key workers and all the staff working on the frontline, we are clapping at 8pm every Thursday to show our appreciation – you are all amazing. Thank you.