Birchwood Smiles helps residents and home care clients

Maintaining well-being and trust between our staff, residents and clients

We’re delighted to kick off a new initiative to show the smiling faces of our staff behind their masks to help our residents and clients recognise their support and maintain positivity. Aptly named Birchwood Smiles, every team member will be wearing a lanyard around their neck, with a large picture of their smiling face on it. This will help them to engage with residents and clients, even when wearing full PPE.

So much of caring is about making a human connection and we wanted to remind our clients that there’s always a smiling face not far away. If you smile at someone, nine times out of ten you’ll get a smile back, and what’s important to remember is sometimes we’re the only people our clients see in a day.

For those who have dementia this is even more important. Continuity and routine are essential. A familiar face helps build rapport and trust. We want to create a positive, happy feeling for all clients. This simple gesture is already proving effective. Although there are hopes of a Covid-19 vaccine being rolled out soon and elderly people will be the first to receive it, we’re preparing for PPE being a normal part of daily life for some time to come.

We’ve adapted our services throughout the pandemic, locking down our residential home, Birchwood House, early in 2020 and introducing family visits in June, using a fully secure visiting area. Keeping clients’ spirits up throughout has been a priority, with organised activities including afternoon teas, a Harvest Hoedown, Halloween and Guy Fawkes celebrations for the elderly people.

Our Care Services team out on the road has adapted too, by significantly reducing staff interaction and making more use of video and telephone supervision.

We held our first virtual Care Awards in 2020, to keep morale high and to thank staff for their continued efforts. Some of the categories included “Going over and above” and “Best compliments from clients”.

It’s our team’s smiling faces that so often get mentioned by residents, clients and their families. So, everyone loved the idea of Birchwood Smiles and quickly got behind it, and we’ve been able to roll it out across all of our staff really quickly.

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