Call for South Tyneside care homes to give residents more happy days after watchdog finds lack of activities

Health Watch'Manager Paddy Morley with residents and staff at the Meadows Care Home.
Health Watch'Manager Paddy Morley with residents and staff at the Meadows Care Home.

Health watchdogs in South Tyneside is calling on care homes in the borough to give residents more happy days.

In a report called ‘It’s My Home’ Healthwatch South Tyneside has called on care homes to do more to engage and entertain their residents.

The call comes after Healthwatch visited all 26 care homes in the borough between August 2016 and April this to assess the range of activities being provided for residents.

Representatives spoke to more than 100 residents, relatives, managers, staff and activities co-ordinators, asking about the resources available and how residents engaged with the activities on offer.

They also asked if residents were asked and included in the development of activities programmes and if their individual interests were being met.

Healthwatch South Tyneside Chair Sue Taylor said: “Overall we found evidence during the visits that most care homes were delivering a varied programme of activities with evidence of creativity, passion, innovation and enthusiasm.

“We were, however, disappointed that the quality of provision does appear to vary.”

She added: “Healthwatch South Tyneside believes it should be a fundamental right for all residents to have access to quality meaningful activities, with the opportunity for social inclusion in any of the residential care and nursing homes in the borough.”

Healthwatch will now work with South Tyneside Council and care home owbers to share best practice in a bid to ensure high quality activities are provided for residents at all homes.

A council spokesman said: “We welcome the report by Healthwatch South Tyneside and encourage our providers to offer a varied programme of activities to boost residents’ health and mental wellbeing and promote social inclusion.”

Megan Graves, deputy manager Palmersdene care home in Jarrow said staff there went “above and beyond” to entertain residents with activities including pamper afternoons, summer fairs and social clubs.

She said: “We do daily activities on a two weekly rota with all the acidities planned in so the customers are aware of what they will be doing.

“We have had activity coordinators in the past, but we found that having an activities team made up of staff worked better. We know how important it is for varied actives as everybody is an individual likes different things.”

Paddy Morley, manager of The Meadows Care Home in Boldon Colliery agreed. He said: “We have a fabulous activities team here, who take residents or trips and organise a lot of sensory activities.

“I think there can always be room for more, particularly for those with dementia.

“But I found Healthwatch to be fair and when they visited us they were impressed with what we had to offer.”