Spreading Magic in Life Everyday
At Bluebird Care Gloucestershire North, we have an absolute commitment to the wellbeing of our clients. This goes further than meeting their physical needs. We follow the best practice models for holistic wellbeing, person-centred care, and empowerment.
Our SMILE (Spreading Magic in Life Everyday) campaign adds something extra to bring cheer to our customers’ lives. Our care assistants and office support staff get to know customers really well, as they talk to them about their lives, the things that are important to them, and the activities they enjoy, or used to enjoy. The idea of SMILE is that any staff member can nominate a customer for a special treat to make them smile. Each nomination has the name of the customer, and the nominator’s wish for their treat. Every month, one of those wishes is put into action.
Adam nominated Bob for our SMILE campaign because Adam and Bob share many interests in common like football. The majority of Bob's visits involve a lot of football talk. Adam discovered that over 35 years have passed since Bob has attended a football game!
In an attempt to make things a bit brighter for Bob, Adam asked him if he would like to attend a game, and Bob happily agreed! In the world of AFC Wimbledon, Bob is the number one fan. As a result, Adam took on the task of researching the local clubs that Wimbledon was playing and he found that Cheltenham Town FC was playing AFC Wimbledon.
Bob was picked up by Adam at 2pm on game day, and Adam assisted him in getting ready, and then he promptly got Bob's scooter into his car and drove him to the Cheltenham Town FC stadium. It was a beautiful day for the game, and the sunshine made it even better! Unfortunately Bob's team scored first but lost the game 3-1.
Bob is hoping for a better result next time he returns!
Care assistant Amber had identified that Edna's mood had been adversely impacted by being unable to go out and about. Edna's family live too far away to come and take her out, so Amber nominated Edna for our SMILE project. The management team agreed that this would lift Edna's mood, involving her in planning her SMILE event would help to empower her in making her own choices.
Edna was very pleased and was looking forward to going out for the afternoon. Edna decided that she would like to have lunch out as she had eaten there before and really enjoyed the food. The aim of the outing was to lift Edna's mood, and to make her feel fully involved in making her own choices.
It was wonderful that Amber from Bluebird was able to take mum out for a few hours and enjoy lunch at her favourite place! Mum has been very restricted during COVID, and has found it quite lonely. Being taken out for a couple of hours has brightened her day and has given her something to look forward to!
Cherie, Edna's Daughter
Following the success of this SMILE event, it was agreed that the SMILE event made a positive impact on Edna's emotional, and overall, wellbeing, and that she would benefit from regular outings. We now take Edna out every Tuesday, for an activity she has chosen, shopping at a store of her choice, (usually M&S or B&M!) and a routine manicure.
Edna really looks forward to the shopping trips and is able independently to make choices with the support of her carer.
Care Assistant Jane noticed that being unable to go out and about had negatively affected Daphne's mood. Jane nominated Daphne for our SMILE project because Jane has been visiting Daphne since she first joined Bluebird Care in 2018, and Jane wanted to see Edna smile! It was agreed by the management team that Daphne would feel empowered if she was involved in planning her SMILE event by making her own choices.
In Daphne’s quest to try something new, Daphne chose to enjoy a meal out in a place she or Jane have never been to before. We ensured the restaurant had wheelchair access, and good food according to Daphne's dietary requirements.
Earlier today Jane Dunlevy took me by car and wheelchair to the Gloucester Old Spot for lunch. As we drove to the pub the rain came down in torrents but on arrival, a bright sun reappeared. Wonderful timing. We had a delicious meal, a good chat and were well looked after by the staff. I wish to thank Bluebird for my treat.
The recipient of our SMILE grant in December was Julie from Cirencester. We have been helping Julie to have a full body wash to meet her hygiene needs. She has been unable to have a shower for some time. Julie's carer, Sue nominated Julie because she thought a pampering shower would be good for her morale. As well as organizing a second carer for the event, we donated scented toiletries to add to the feel-good factor of the shower.
Julie really enjoyed her shower, and commented that she had received compliments about how nice her hair looked, which meant a lot to her, as it had been a long time since she had been complimented about her appearance. A regular shower has now been added to her care plan, and she really looks forward to it.
Our Smile grant winner in Gloucester for July was Gussie. She was nominated by her carer Cheryl, who worked with Gussie to create this day out visiting her old haunts, followed by an afternoon cream tea at a leading local hotel.
We had a chat with Gussie afterwards, who said -
“I was born and grew up in Great Western Road in Gloucester. I remember my friends from church on London Road and living in a railway house with my family. I used to go to the catholic church on London Road with my family and friends. It was smashing to go back and take a trip down memory lane, but a lot has changed over the years down Great Western Road.”
I have not been out apart from going to hospital and GP appointments since the start of COVID.
I had a lovely time with Cheryl, it was a beautiful afternoon. I really enjoyed the food which was provided for the afternoon tea at Stonehouse Court Hotel. I enjoyed the cream and jam cakes as well as the little meat sandwiches.
I feel that other customers of Bluebird Care would enjoy a similar outing as the afternoon was very enjoyable and lovely. I would definitely like to do something like this again as I enjoyed being taken out for the afternoon and really enjoyed my time with Cheryl. I would be happy to go and have a look around town as I used to enjoy going to town and having a look around the shops.”
When we asked Chery about her choice to nominate Gussie, she said -
“I have known Gussie since she started care with Bluebird Care in November 2020.
Gussie was a good candidate for a smile grant, because after my care visits with Gussie I could see that she was getting lonely and depressed and fed up with her own company, due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
The trip was a great success, and it was just what Gussie needed, to get out and about seeing other people and being out in the fresh air. She was smiling all afternoon, and the sparkle that was in her eye was a picture. Gussie chatted throughout the afternoon and her mood had lifted, she was happy to be out under the blue sky and enjoyed seeing the lovely green trees and flowers. We chatted over afternoon tea, which Gussie really enjoyed eating with company instead of eating on her own at home.
I know that The Smile Grant is a wonderful idea for our customers. Many of our customers have different interests, some of our customers’ interests include walking, cinema, theatre shows or just a picnic in a lovely park - these are just some ideas which would make such a difference to some of our customers at Bluebird Care.”
We are delighted that everyone had such a good time, and are proud of everyone who dedicated their time and effort to making such a good thing happen. Special congratulations to Cheryl, for taking the time to listen to Gussie, and creating such a wonderful day.
Care assistant Abi’s nomination was for our lovely customer Jean to have a surprise afternoon tea for her 96th birthday. We put the idea to Colin, who has power of attorney for Jean, what he thought of the idea, and he was all in favour. Jean had mentioned to the carers that she really missed going into her garden and summerhouse. The original idea was to take her into the garden, and for her to have tea in the summerhouse. Sadly, she wasn’t well enough for that on the day.
Abi volunteered to do all the work herself. As well as making sandwiches, and baking and decorating a birthday cake and cupcakes, Abi made Jean’s room look festive with Happy Birthday bunting, a floral table runner with matching napkins, and a houseplant to brighten the room for longer than cut flowers, and the carers turned her bed round so that she could see the garden from her room.
Jean enjoyed her birthday treat very much, and the celebrations were extended by her friends and neighbours coming round to see her over the next few days, and helping her finish up the cakes.
Every 6 months, we carry out a review with our customers and family members and/or friends involved with their care. Our lovely customer Mary is living with dementia. At her review, she and her son Andrew said that Mary would benefit from some social support. We explained our SMILE grant to them and discussed several ways in which Mary could use the grant, such as a picnic or a pub lunch with other people. This would help to cement her relationship with the carers who visit her, and enable her to enjoy a meaningful activity with other people, in fresh surroundings, with a view to giving her a more rounded lifestyle. Mary was very keen on this idea.
Mary is a talented artist. Napsi, one of the care assistants in Mary’s care team, added to the plan by suggesting a venue for the picnic where Mary could also spend some time drawing and/or painting, which she thoroughly enjoys, and that this would give her a sense of purpose. Stratford Park was chosen as the ideal place for this, because it is a large and beautiful park, and has good walkways, accessible toilets, and outdoor seating.
Napsi took Mary for her outing, and was thrilled with how successful it was for Mary, as you can see from the photos Napsi took.
All our staff take part in dementia training delivered by one of our accredited Dementia Leads, Donna Jones and Tracy Morgan. Napsi has taken this training a step further and, like many of our care staff, has gone on to complete her Community Dementia Link award.