Mental health volunteers boost wellbeing of Budleigh care home residents

Volunteers at Firs Residential Care Home. Picture: Buckland Care

Volunteers at Firs Residential Care Home. Picture: Buckland Care - Credit: Buckland Care

A Budleigh Salterton residential care home has taken on mental health volunteers during the pandemic in order to boost the health and wellbeing of their residents.

The Firs Residential Home, in West Hill, introduced this initiative to help combat loneliness from residents who are separated from loved ones.

Visits have been restricted since the start of the pandemic in order to protect the residents which has meant that residents have been missing their families and friends.

Manager Nicola Shayler said: “I decided to introduce the mental health volunteers to maintain our residents’ wellbeing through this difficult time, whilst outside contact is limited.

“This has proven to be invaluable.


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“The feedback I have received from the residents and their families is extremely positive and appreciative.

“The team and the residents would like to thank the volunteers for supporting The Firs through the pandemic.”

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The volunteers are set volunteers who had previous connections with The Firs and already know some of the residents.

They have joined The Firs’ Covid-19-testing programme and take all the necessary precautions such as wearing PPE alongside the rest of the staff team.

They spend quality time with each individual, chatting, listening and providing one-to-one emotional support.

Additional goals for the volunteers are to increase physical activity by supporting residents walking in the garden and working with the Activity team doing gentle exercises, singing and dancing. The introduction of the volunteers has brought happiness and companionship and a sense of fulfilment to all involved.

Resident Jill Bailey said: “it’s lovely to see new faces and make new friends. I look forward to their visits.”

Fellow resident Jean Leader added: “The new volunteer scheme is a marvellous idea and has already helped me in so many ways.

“The volunteers have uplifted my spirits as I miss my daughter and I love the extra personal contact and interaction.”

According to staff at The Firs, the volunteer scheme has brought much delight and reassurance to families knowing their loved ones have additional people aside from the staff with whom to spend quality time and to support their wellbeing needs.

For more information ring Nicola on 01395 443394.

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