My View: Activity Provision in a Care Setting
Sylvie Silver from the National Activity Providers Association talks about activity provision in care homes. What is it and what makes good activity provision?
Life, love and laughter is what we aim for in every care setting. Everyone needs people to see, things to do, and places to go. The National Activity Providers Association, commonly known as NAPA, was formed 20 years ago. As a national charity we support care teams to enable people to live a life that has meaning and purpose. It is unique in that we don’t provide a direct service ourselves but we work with Activity Providers to support them to deliver a service.
We define an Activity Provider as anyone who engages with a resident. Most of the time this will be paid staff – anyone from a manager to a cleaner, but it can be a relative or even the man delivering a parcel who stops for a quick chat with someone in reception. Many care settings nowadays do have dedicated activity staff and NAPA offers many of them dedicated support in order to succeed. We can do this because we seem them as specialists with particular skills that can help to lead the care team and ancillary staff when they are helping people to enjoy their day.
What We Do
Our support takes a number of forms. We are a membership organisation and we currently have over 2,800 members. Membership offers many discounts on our services, as well as a quarterly 52-page magazine. We also provide a variety of training courses that range from half day, face-to-face sessions to fully directed QCF learning qualifications. The Care Quality Commission inspectors often look for the NAPA membership certificate on the wall and ask what training the team have had in activity provision.
Our Consultancy and Audit services offer flexibility to meet the needs of the care setting or organisation. In recent years we have worked alongside senior management teams to support them while reviewing strategies and formulating policies for activity provision. We have also facilitated forums that bring together activity coordinators to share and learn from us and each other.
One of our most recent innovations is our Friends and Family scheme. This service aims to support anyone visiting a care setting to make every visit a good one. As a part of this we offer a telephone helpline Monday to Thursday between 7.30am and 4pm, along with a dedicated section on our website.
What is Activity Provision?
At the heart of everything we do is our commitment to see every person as an individual with their own interests, likes and dislikes. Sitting by a window watching the leaves falling will be bliss for one person, while for another it will provoke misery. On both occasions this can be described as an activity, but for the first it could lead to a sense of well-being, while for the second it may be ill-being!
However, many activities that can bring care residents pleasure are solitary engagements. Watching TV or listening to the radio are usually solo pursuits best suited to being in your own room. Sharing the remote control can lead to tension in any household!
Audiobooks and talking newspapers can be a lifeline for older people in particular. If you have enjoyed the printed word throughout your life it can be demoralising to find your vision or hearing is failing. The worst part is these things often happen at the same time. Add in the challenge of holding a book when arthritis or stroke affects your hands, and the value of modern audio technology cannot be underestimated.
Some activities are more effective in small groups like discussion groups, table top games, or baking sessions. Larger groups can take part in activities like exercise classes, paid entertainers, or tea dances. Getting to know individuals will help when care planning for day to day activities as every one of us is different.
If you would like to know more about NAPA please go to our website or call 020 7078 9375
This post was written by Sylvie Silver, Executive Director of NAPA.
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