Community Visitors – Progress December 2012

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Community Visitors are now in place at 2 care homes and we hope shortly that further community visitors will be assigned to a third home, once CRB checks are completed.

Information packs have been prepared for both the homes and the Community Visitors which include name badges for visitors, photographs of the Community visitors for notice boards, and publicity leaflets describing the role of Community Visitors for distribution within the home: to staff, residents and relatives.

An evaluation process will start mid December with visits to the participating homes by researchers from Essex University. The evaluation programme has been agreed with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and circulated to the homes and Community Visitors.

We have proposed the outline of a development and support structure, both within and outside the homes. Internally, Community visitors will have a named contact and the opportunity to join in with relevant staff meetings and events as full members of the home’s team. Externally, the MHLECA will hold regular meetings with Community Visitors to allow them to share and reflect upon their experience.

We will also offer a range of optional development opportunities, using resources from a wide range of sources, including training programmes offered by the participating homes. Videos and online resources will be included as well as “face to face” training. Community Visitors will also be offered regular individual contact with the MHLECA Development Officer.

We are hoping to hold the first action learning meeting on Wednesday 16th January 2013, when the Community Visitors will be given a proper introduction to the philosophy, principals and achievements of “My Home Life” .

The engagement between care homes and their surrounding communities has emerged as a top priority both in the Government White Paper “Caring for Our Future”, published in July and in Tom Owen’s final report on the My Home Life project, published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and available on the MHL website (www.myhomelife.org.uk) Links with local communities are something Community Visitors may be able to support and promote.