Our Case Managers and Case Manager Assistants (CMAs)are utilising digital communication where possible but sadly, in some cases, it isn’t possible to rely solely on this kind of interaction.
We want you to know that we are very serious about protecting our clients and their families, at all times. We have, of course, revisited our approach to risk assessments for face-to-face meetings. These assessments are scrutinised by our team to ensure we protect clients, their families, support workers and our own staff and associates.
We are also being highly creative to help focus on positive solutions and ideas that make our clients feel reassured, calm and in control during self-isolation.
We’ve had meetings in gardens (with at least 3m between us and clients while families remain in other rooms) and have taken our own soap, hand towels and drinks to meetings.
In cases where we’ve had to manage an initial needs assessment (INA) and had to visit properties, we’ve worked with clients and their families to ensure individuals are safely distanced, and that we are in and out of the property as safely and as quickly as possible.
We have also come up with a range of thoughtful ways to help overcome the fear and panic that many clients have felt over the last few weeks.
When our case managers and CMAs return to our own homes, we are strictly adhering to government advice and are prioritising caution and care at all times. As experienced health and social care workers, we understand the gravitas of any decisions and actions we take but we also know that some of our more highly vulnerable clients cannot be supported entirely online, in the way they need.
We thought we’d share some of our ideas for clients this week, to inspire others:
Our clients’ indoor spaces and gardens (if they have them) are all they have. Many have been self-isolating for over a fortnight and are finding it hard to relax. Our Case Managers and CMAs have been working to help support workers and families create dedicated living environments and ‘zones’ for wellbeing.
The mental wellbeing of our clients is as much of a priority as their healthcare needs (and always has been). Nature activities and creative therapies have long been utilised by Stokes Case Management as tools to nurture positive wellbeing. Mindfulness is another way for our clients to overcome feelings of anxiety and fear.
When your home is being disinfected daily and starts to smell like a hospital, and your client can’t go outdoors, what do you do? Well, we worked to find aromas that calm clients and make them feel like they’re at home, not in a clinic. We’ve organised for lavender or other aromatic disinfectants to be used in clients’ homes if preferred. A small change but one that’s already reported to have worked wonders.
This means clients feel more comfortable with breathing techniques and relaxing in their homes. Some aromas, such as lavender have also helped clients to reduce their feelings of tension and associated headaches.
Some clients already live in homes that cater for live / work / play / therapy zones but this isn’t the case for everyone. Our clients in rural areas struggle with not being able to enjoy the outdoor environment they treasure and may also live in small homes.
We’re promoting the introduction of indoor gardens, window pots and the cultivation of seedlings. Spring is a gardener’s dream anyway and we’re introducing daily activities that take advantage of the sunshine (even if it’s only through the window). Clients with families who are self-isolating together are being encouraged to ‘garden’ together indoors. By focusing on the small things that have a positive and blossoming result, clients are relaxed, can participate and have created something at the end!
Thankfully there are lots of indoor gardening projects and equipment available to order online. The additional benefits of ‘green’ in the home are widely known and we’re encouraging clients to bring the outside in to the house. Many are creating indoor garden zones so they can choose to retreat to this activity if they need a bit of calm.
Mindfulness has already been on our therapy list for a long time, and for many individuals, it has changed their entire wellbeing outlook. Mindfulness activities go a long way towards calming and distracting clients as well as giving them positive tools to self-manage anxiety if they need it.
Where clients aren’t already using them, we’ve introduced mindfulness colouring and painting books. Our teams and therapists are offering guided meditation for some clients.
We also inviting individuals and their families to listen to audiobooks as well as reading (reading, while enjoyable or many, can often tire some of our clients, resulting in a negative mindset).
Some of our approaches are undoubtedly creative wellbeing ideas for everyone in the current climate. While ‘simple’, they can have a profound impact on staying calm, addressing anxiety and offer a welcome, positive distraction.
We’re also working with Neuro Physio Wales to identify ways to support new clients during the outbreak – if required. Clients don’t always reach us immediately post-injury and will often exhibit real need for urgent physical treatment as well as emotional support – regardless of the need to manage their requirements during a long period of self-isolation.
To read our latest update on our approach during the Covid-19 outbreak, please click here.