COVID-19 and its impact – older adult support

With the COVID-19 pandemic, since March 2020 Roundabout has been discovering new ways to remotely support older adults and staff in care homes, in the following ways. These include homes in which we had already been working, and new homes.

  • Developing methods of keeping in contact with clients (former, current and new) via phone or video calls, and producing a contact letter to care homes outlining this possibility. (This contact letter is also available by clicking here).
  • Protocol developed for virtual working with clients and sent to care homes.
  • Post-lockdown, visiting care homes and meeting with clients in a socially distanced manner for sessions in their gardens.
  • Developing methods of supporting care home staff through phone or video calls, information of which was outlined in the contact letter to care homes. Staff support posters for ‘Coffee break calls’ were created and sent to homes.
  • Regularly sending or delivering in person, cards (including audio cards), letters and care packages to former, current or new clients. Care packages have included: magazines (that we know will be of interest), mindful colouring books and pens and pencils, favourite treats, lavender bags and plants.
  • Lending technological devices (Chromebooks) to homes, to enable virtual sessions to take place in a private space within the home.
  • Developing an intergenerational project called Name in the Hat, linking young and old together through the sending and receiving of personalised cards. For more information, click here

Where virtual working with clients is taking place, the routine established is as follows.

  • At a set time each week, two dramatherapists connect to the home via Zoom.
  • We have an initial discussion with the Activities Co-ordinator, to see how things are in the home, if there have been any developments regarding the status of the home for visitors, and any news on the clients.
  • Our link person then brings each client, individually or in twos, to the computer for a virtual session. We talk with them, share in their news and concerns, and bring some creativity to these meetings, such as offering poems, short stories, songs, or playing recorded music.
  • At the end of our sessions, we talk again with our link person at the home for a debrief.

We will continue to offer these sessions, when necessary because of any restrictions due to covid, as a way of countering isolation, boredom, anxiety and depression, and to support our clients.