All the frontline care and support staff at Hightown have gone above and beyond to provide outstanding care to the people living in our supported housing services. In this post, we look at what the staff at Westcroft House in Hertfordshire did during the pandemic to help residents keep their spirits up and make the lockdowns a little easier.

Westcroft House provides 24-hour care and support for nine residents with learning disabilities. Each tenant has their own self-contained flat and there's also a new shared communal summer house.   During the pandemic, the tenants found the isolation rules difficult and upsetting. The team noticed they were feeling lonely, bored and demotivated and were concerned about their wellbeing. 

The staff discussed what to do and prepared a plan of action. The feedback from residents highlighted that they were tired of being on 'Zoom' and needed more face-to-face interaction with the staff and their friends at Westcroft House.

To encourage social interaction amongst the tenants they organised bingo, quiz and takeaway nights, whilst ensuring that they were protected and safe from the risks of COVID-19. The activities were held in the communal hallway and each tenant participated from their doorstep. Small prizes were sourced and given away to add to the fun (including toilet rolls that were hard to get hold of at the time!). The social evenings were enjoyed by everyone. 

To keep service users busy and stimulated, weekly arts and crafts sessions were added to the activities schedule. The team adapted their own work schedules to allow extra time for one-to-one sessions (held in the tenants' flats with staff members). This activity was incredibly popular and tenants looked forward to creating their own unique artwork from a large range of art materials. 

To encourage the tenants to go outside and enjoy fresh air, gardening and football activities were organised. One member of the team even built an 'ant hotel'. The tenants enjoyed hand-painting plant pots to decorate the garden and the team is proud to hear that they have caught the attention of people passing by. 

The staff didn't stop there, they continued to think of ways to keep the people they care for entertained and they liaised with groups such as Electric Umbrella to enable the service users to get involved with online, sing-a-long and dance groups. As well as regular contact with local community activity groups such as Roar, Gateway, Jarman and Sunnyside and Waterside day centres. The team tried to keep the activities as varied as possible and sought out items like sunflower seeds and bird seed to put in the garden, as well as thinking of other ideas and resources to replicate their usual activities at Westcroft. 

During lockdown, the team were left frustrated that they didn't have a communal space for the tenants to enjoy and socialise so they put together a case to Hightown and were delighted that they were given the go-ahead and budget to build a large outdoor summer house.

Since the easing of the lockdown rules, tenants have enjoyed pamper evenings, movie nights, takeaways, darts nights, art and crafts and they now have a well-ventilated and safe space to spend time together – the summer house has truly been put to good use!

 

The team at Westcroft have worked tirelessly to meet the needs of their tenants whilst keeping them safe throughout the pandemic. They've shown innovation, adaptability, flexibility and most importantly sensitivity to the needs of the people they care for. They ensured that a range of appropriate, safe and engaging activities were implemented, in line with the recommended COVID-19 Government guidelines.