We had 30 people at the carers group session this evening. Lisa welcomed some special visitors. Adam Purnell from Kepplegate Care Services in Lancashire and Donna Pierpoint from Broomgrove Nursing Home in Sheffield. Lisa also welcomed Theresa Villiers MP for Chipping Barnet and also Mike Rich CEO from Barnet Carers Centre.

Lisa first gave a brief summary about how her campaign started for ‘Visiting in Care Homes’ outlining the issues that have caused many families to die of heartbreak. Lisa then asked Adam and then Donna to start talking about how their care homes have been coping with the pandemic and what best practices they have been following.

Adam mentioned that he was very supportive of the John’s campaign which has been in the newspapers and has tried to set good guidelines that would continue to allow visiting without restricting those residents who had greater needs and were unable to understand social distancing and video calls. It was so wonderful to hear the same form Donna having similar best practices and both saying how for them, running a home with your heart was so important. They both also said how they challenged the local Council guidelines and were prepared to take their own risks. One of the ways they would introduce family relatives to the home would be to consider them as volunteers and have them DBS checked so that they form part of the staff and therefore there would be no insurance issues. These family volunteers would then be able to visit and help to for example feed their loved ones.

All care homes have infection control money which they can use to buy Lateral Flow Tests for example but most of the care homes have unfortunately used the money to buy perspex screens which is such a shame. It was thought that perhaps one of the problems with care homes was that their Head Office would make the decisions and therefore care home managers would be unable to make decisions based on the best interests of their residents.

Lisa then asked Theresa Villiers MP if she liked to say a few words. Theresa was very grateful for the opportunity to join the carers group meeting. She said that she had already spoken at Parliament about ‘Visiting in care Homes’ after initially bringing this matter to her attention and was pleased to hear from the 2 care homes this evening their best practices which she can take to Parliament.

Mike Rich also spoke explaining how difficult it has been trying to get the authorities to acknowledge the issues. The next forum will hopefully go ahead on the 17th December.

Lisa then opened the floor for questions which was very interesting. There were discussions about the Lateral Flow Tests and concerns about their accuracy but they were still important to have and every care home should have them to provide 30 minute tests. There was talks about the vaccines and also talks about residents care plans and the importance of making sure that families were kept informed and the care plans were kept up to date.

This was an excellent meeting and Lisa thanked everybody for attending. At the end Doctor Angela announced a vote of thanks to Lisa for continuing to have the meeting this evening even after her mum had only passed away during the night. A minute silence was also proposed and Lisa was overwhelmed.

We had 20 members today. Lisa welcomed everyone and informed them of her sad news of her mum passing away last night. Everyone was very sad to hear this. At 3pm Lisa then started the Lisa & Mark Karaoke Show and played some of members requests which everyone really enjoyed. There were a few technical issues today generally and as Sian was unable to start, Lisa did a quick quiz of 10 questions about food and drink. Sian was then ready and as usual got everyone exercising to some great music and at the end her son Owen joins her to finish off with the song ‘When you’re smiling’.

Mark then called out the Bingo numbers today and the winners were Kevin and Mabel and Sandra and Laurie.

We had 20 members today. Lisa started the repeat Karaoke session at 2pm and then at 2.30pm it was the chat time. Lisa welcomed everyone and reminded everyone about the 2 special visits from 2 care homes in Sheffield and Lancashire joining the carers group session. Katie Paine our new music entertainer was then ready to perform and started with some classics – Buddy Holly ‘That will be the Day’ followed by the Beatles, Rock around the clock and other favourites and then finishing off with a Christmas song ‘Rocking around the Christmas tree’. Everyone really enjoyed the session. As this was Katie’s last session for this year, Lisa and members all joined to wish her and Ricky a very Happy Christmas and look forward to seeing her back on 4th January.

Eon Walters was then ready to do the exercises which is always great fun and a great workout.

Lisa then announced to everyone that for the month of December she was going to call out 2 Bingo games to give everyone a chance to win quicker. Today’s winners were Kevin and Mabel and Keren and Francis.

We had 21 members today. Lisa started with the Lisa & Mark Karaoke session at 2pm and at 2.30pm everyone looks forward to a chat and catch up with each other before the session starts again at 3pm. We had 2 new members today Ramanjit and her father Ron. Lisa welcomed them and introduced them to the other members. It was good to see Andrew Mills – church warden from St John’s United Reformed Church.

We had a bit of a swap today so we started with Richard Kravetz doing some chair Yoga. Everyone as always enjoy the exercises and at the end Richard spices it up with exercising to ‘Staying Alive’ with music. Richard then continues to do some general knowledge quiz and today it was 10 questions on food and drink which were very interesting questions. The winners were Gina and Irene who scored 9/10.

James Le Bec was then ready with Joy to start the music entertainment and James started with a classical Christmas song and then sang some other favourites. He then started the music quiz and this part has now become a real favourite for everyone. James had music from different television programmes. The winner today was Helen and Chrystalla who got 10/10. James then asked members to name 10 famous names starting with James. It was great fun.

Lisa then informed everyone that for this month only in December she will be doing 2 Bingo games for each session giving everyone a better chance of winning. The winners today were Stephen and Brenda and Gina and Irene.

We had 27 members for the evening meeting. Lisa welcomed everyone and introduced her special guests;

  • Mr Eshwan Seedoyal – Barnet Memory Service Team Leader & ECT Coordinator (Trustwide)
  • Mr Alan McVitty – Admiral Nurse
  • Ms Caroline Goodfellow – Barnet Memory Service Shared Team Leader
  • Ms Margaret Felle Coyle – Admiral Nurse

Eshwan started to talk saying that there are 2 Admiral Nurses in Barnet and they have large caseloads. Admiral Nurses focus on the carer and the family to support the carer in their caring role. Their first priority is the carer and then the person with dementia. They work on a one to one basis whereas the Barnet Memory Service works on group chat sessions. However the group chats have not been very successful as they are not always convenient for the carers to attend either for travel reasons or times. Admiral Nurses also liaise with other agencies e.g. GPs, voluntary organisations, Age UK, Jewish care. They work jointly with these agencies.

Eshwan then asked Alan to say a few words about his work and then Margaret and Caroline also followed.

Members had a lot of questions and some of the members who already knew Margaret had some very wonderful feedback saying how much she has been able to help their family and there were a few tears of gratitude.

We also had Dr Angela at the meeting who is one of our Trustees who also had a question about social prescribing and also it was a pleasure to also have this evening Andrew Wrensch from Carlton Court Care Home – Community Development Manager who was also happy to suggest to Eshwan that if a venue was required to host the group meetings then Carlton Court would be happy to help when things were back to normal.

Eshwan also mentioned to everyone at the end that there was an Admiral Helpline which is Nationwide for anyone who needed to call and get some advice. The number is 0800 888 6678 and this is open Monday to Friday 9.00am to 9.00pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9.00am to 5.00pm

Lisa thanked her special guests who remained for the rest of the meeting. Lisa then gave a brief summary about what has been happening with regards to the visiting in care homes campaign and then informed everyone about who was attending next week’s meeting. Lisa informed everyone that Nilesh one of the carers had written a letter to Theresa Villiers MP and Lisa also mentioned that she also invited Theresa if she could attend next week’s carers meeting. Nilesh also invited 2 care homes who confirmed they were attending. Discussions then continued about visiting in care homes and also other discussions about respite vouchers. Carers were concerned that they would be expiring and will not get a chance to use them. They were also wondering if they were just to use for care homes. Eshwan confirmed that the respite vouchers were for using for care homes only.

Lisa thanked everyone again and the meeting ended.