Staff that deliver care in a residential setting are typically thought to be primarily responsible for a resident’s physical health and medical needs. However, they are also responsible for promoting the mental, spiritual and emotional health and well-being of each resident. As care is becoming more person centred, residents are also coming to expect their mental, spiritual and emotional needs to be taken into consideration at all points of care.

Well-being has previously been a fairly vague concept as it applies to the well being of a resident. It is now becoming better defined, particularly through the new Care Act.

The Care Act acknowledges that well-being is an incredibly broad concept, and will mean something different to each individual resident. Therefore, the Act recommends that care staff identify what is important to each individual in order to effectively promote their well-being. This often involves providing holistic care which encompasses more than just the resident’s physical health. 

Well-being Includes:

  • Treating the resident with dignity and respect
  • Protecting the resident from neglect or abuse
  • Providing the resident with choice relating to how they receive care and how they spend their day
  • Providing the resident with opportunities to participate in social, educational and recreational activities
  • Considering the residents mental and emotional health as well as their physical
  • Assisting residents in maintaining their familial and personal relationships

A good care home ought to be well informed on the Care Act, and be involved in the proactive promotion of well-being for all residents. Care staff in these care homes embrace and work to uphold the principles of the Care Act in a model of continuous improvement.

This is supported by the Department of Health in their Care Act Guidance publication put out alongside the Care Act. The guide states that “promoting well-being means actively seeking improvements in the aspects of well-being when carrying out care and support function in relation to an individual at any stage of the process from the provision of information and advice to reviewing a care and support plan”.

It can be difficult to take the concept of well-being know how to translate it to the real life delivery of care to residents from day to day. Our Clinical Operations Manager Claire Bailey has provided some examples of how she has promoted well-being among residents in the past, so we can see what this may look like in a real residential care setting. 

Resident Involvement

Like anybody, the elderly want to feel useful and included within a society where they are able to contribute and feel useful. This does not change when they go into residential care. Involving residents in activities within the care home is an ideal way of enabling them to continue contributing in a meaningful way.

Duties residents commonly participate in:

  • Light domestic tasks such as setting tables at meal times, or assisting with the running of group activities
  • Hosting of service user meetings in the care home, where residents participate in discussions around ideas and improvement
  • Development of menus or newsletters
  • Sitting in on interviews and assisting in decisions on the recruitment of new staff

Freedom to Access the Outside Community

Another element to the promotion of well-being is ensuring residents are still able to access outside space, and are not confined to being indoors.

Providing services such as shops and cafes promotes a community feel within the care home, rather than one of institutionalisation. Outside services including beauticians and hairdressers allow residents to continue socialising and living in the same way they did before coming into care. Where it is safe to do so, residents should be enabled to go on external trips outside the care home. An example of this is where residents who have always taken the bus into town are free to do so, if they prefer this to the care homes own transport.

All of this contributes towards a resident’s well-being by allowing them to live a life as normal as possible and to continue accessing everything they could before they came to the care home.