How to reintegrate care home residents back into the care home after isolating.

If you are finding it difficult to encourage your residents to come back out of their bedroom now that it is safe to do so, this blog is for you. It will share ideas to encourage your residents to feel safe enough and more motivated to do so when they feel ready.  

Many people who have had to isolate in their bedroom may now feel safer remaining in their room and have become disinterested with what is going on around them. This is perfectly understandable given the situation they have experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Validate feelings.  

Be present when talking with the individual who refuses to leave their room (again) and actively listen to what they are saying. If a resident tells you that they scared or uninterested in leaving their room, always validate their feelings. Also give that person a sense of belonging, tell them why they are missed around the home, make that person feel special and that their contribution within the home is valued greatly.  

Bring the outdoors in. 

Share with your resident’ photographs of local nature reserves, or even photos of your gardens showing the different weather or photos of how the landscape is changing because of the seasons. This could be a gentle way of reconnecting the individual with the outside world and remind them of the beauty that exists beyond their four walls. Maybe if the person has enjoyed watching and listening to the birds previously you could listen to a bird soundscape together or make a bird feeder which they could go hang outside when feeling ready to do so.  

Baby Steps 

Invite the person to take a short walk with you every time you see them. On one occasion they might just take you up on the offer. They may want to return to their room quickly, accept this and inform the person that it was a pleasure to have enjoyed their company in a different space. 

Good times 

Remind the individual of times gone by whilst they have lived in the home, showing them photographs when they have been happy or laughing during an activity. Encouraging the person to talk about what feels familiar make help them to feel at ease. Perhaps using familiar smells or music associated with activities in the photos could also help to rekindle those memories.  

Hello. Is it me you are looking for? 

If the person is choosing not to attend activities because their friend is in a different bubble then arrange an exchange of video messages between them both. Perhaps if one friend is able, they may be able to offer encouragement to their friend to take that step out of their room and remind them of what they are missing.  

Most importantly keep trying to persuade the person to take the first step out, always respecting their right to say no.  

No great achievement is possible without persistent work. ~ Bertrand Russell