Moving into care can be a little scary, but often it’s the right thing for the individual, and can lead to a great improvement in quality of life. Part of that quality of life is achieved by living in a building with beautiful, well-maintained grounds. As grounds maintenance professionals, we love working with care homes to create that welcoming, homely environment that residents can enjoy every day of the year. But because it’s a care facility, there are some things we need to consider when handling their maintenance.
Accessibility is Key
In care homes, whether residential, nursing or just respite, there is one thing that’s more important than anything, and that’s accessibility. Residents and staff need to be able to move around the grounds safely, whether on foot, with walking sticks or in wheelchairs. This means that any garden beds and lawns should be edged and maintained to keep a crisp, neat border with no overgrowth, paths should be regularly cleaned to prevent build-up of dirt and debris, trees and bushes pruned of any overhanging branches, leaves cleared and lawns kept short and neat. In the winter, pathways need to be cleared and gritted even in the worst weather. The safety of residents is our primary concern when working with care homes, which is why we have a checklist of safety and accessibility jobs to go through on every site!
Creating The Right Atmosphere
Maintaining peaceful, tranquil surroundings can be incredibly therapeutic for care home residents, which means the design and maintenance of the grounds needs to be carefully planned. Being outside in a green space is known to reduce symptoms of depression and nature interactions can soothe agitation in dementia patients. That means it’s important to create functional green spaces in your grounds that provide that soothing sense of tranquillity. Grass, trees, hedges, colourful flowerbeds and even areas left purposely free so that residents can take part in therapeutic gardening are all essential when looking after care home grounds.
Relatability is Important
When someone moves into a care home, every effort is made to make them feel comfortable, at ease and like they’ve only moved house, rather than moved into care. We understand that the residents want the gardens of their care facility to look and feel like they did when they had their own garden, to make their care home feel more like home, and that’s what we aim to do. We offer a personalised service, with a team of groundsmen that make a point of introducing themselves to residents and helping them put faces to name. We ensure the same dedicated team of site staff are sent to the property every time, so that residents can build up a relationship with their grounds maintenance team. We’ve found this really improves resident satisfaction, and helps them feel in control of their gardens, just like they used to.
Before we can establish that relationship with a care home and its residents, we need to ensure we are clearly identifiable, and that everyone knows why we’re there at a glance. This might seem small, but when you’re working in what a resident perceives as their own garden, it’s important to make sure they feel safe and don’t feel unnerved or threatened by our presence. All of our team have completed CRB checks to allow them to work around vulnerable people, we wear clearly identifiable uniforms and we carry photographic identification at all times, so that all residents and staff know who we are and why we’re there.
And of course, we are very conscious of the impact of Covid-19, especially on those living in care homes who are often particularly vulnerable. All of our team members have now received both vaccinations, and will have any required booster vaccinations as soon as they become available. We have also completed a comprehensive Covid-19 risk assessment, and are continuing to wear masks indoors and maintain social distancing while we work. The safety of our clients and their residents is of the upmost importance to us, and you can always ask us about the precautions we take.
If you’d like to know more about what we do and how we work, just get in touch with the team today.