Available across Gloucestershire and beyond, short stays at care homes run by the not-for-profit OSJCT (The Orders of St John Care Trust) can help those recovering after an operation, an accident, or illness, while providing peace of mind for friends and relatives.
SoGlos spoke to Samrit Kaeokon from The Lakes Care Centre in South Cerney, to find out how the team manages to keep residents entertained, why providing the personal touch is so important, and how the pandemic has affected the visiting situation.
About the expert – Samrit Kaeokon, head of dementia care at OSJCT
Samrit Kaeokon joined The Lakes Care Centre, near Cirencester, in January 2021, with over four years’ experience working in care. He loves to make residents smile and get involved with activities. ‘It always makes my day when I know that they are happy’, he says.
What exactly is respite care?
Respite care is a short-term stay, which may be needed for a period of recovery after an operation, accident or illness – or because the person’s usual carer is on holiday, or taking a short break.
How can it help a respite resident and their carer?
As a relative, friend or carer, you can relax knowing that your loved one or friend is in a safe, comfortable and friendly environment, where they will receive high-quality care that respects their privacy and dignity.
It is not unusual for short stays to be repeated and our respite residents often decide to stay longer term, once they have experienced life with us here at The Lakes Care Centre.
Respite stays, by their short-term nature, can be slightly daunting at first, for both the resident coming to stay and their loved ones.
At OSJCT we know this, so make every effort to ensure our respite residents feel welcome, happy and valued.
What sorts of activities are on offer?
We have two very dedicated and passionate activities co-ordinators working seven days a week. They organise and run various activities every day, so that residents are entertained and feel engaged and empowered – activities range from a pamper day to singing, gardening and sensory activities.
How long does respite care last?
Respite stays can be anything from two to 12 weeks. Stays can be one-off, or residents can be welcomed back for more than one respite stay, if needed.
How does respite care differ from the services offered to longer-term residents?
Our respite care is the same as long-term care. Residents who are staying short term can still take part in all the activities and everything included in the costs for long-term care, such as meals and an ensuite bedroom – plus, all care is included for respite stays.
How do staff personalise their approach to caring for residents?
When we have a new resident, a care assessment is undertaken and from this, an individualised care plan is created for each resident.
This covers everything from the type of care required and their medical history, but also their likes and interests.
We ask family and friends to provide us with as much information as they can, and we complete a document called ‘all about me’ – this allows us to get to know the residents’ hobbies, background and history, which is a great way for our team to engage in conversation and bring back memories.
Is it possible to visit?
Absolutely, although visiting has changed a lot over the past two years – pre-Covid, our doors were open 24/7 to visitors, with no appointment needed.
Since March 2020, we have been closely following government guidelines. Visits can take place in a variety of locations in the homes, with all visitors wearing the required PPE.
Essential care givers can support their loved one with tasks such as eating, and may be able to spend time with them in their bedrooms.
All visitors are required to take a Covid-19 test prior their visit and must confirm that they are well, taking a temperature test on arrival at the care home too.