The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales is refreshingly clear about what she wants to see in welcome packs given to individuals and families in care homes in Wales. I have been working with colleagues in Flintshire, and in a new care home in England to look at what this could look like in practice. Here are some first thoughts, and I earlier today I asked for comments and suggestions. I have now updated my blog with with suggestions – thank you to Nicki, Jenny and Alison.

This is a draft for a new care home, based on some of the ideas by the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales. The welcome pack would include this kind of information”

1) Getting to know you

From the very first time that we meet you, we start getting to know what matters to you. We record this on a one-page profile. This is simply a summary of what matters to you, what people appreciate about you, and the best way that we can help and support you. We keep this information up-to-date, and you will have a copy in your room, and there will be a copy at the front of your file in the office.

Over the first six weeks after you move in, we will keep adding to the information we have about you, and your life-story and aspirations too.


We will help you get to know the other people you live with, and share what matters to each person (through their one-page profile) so you can find out who has similar interests. 

2) Meet your team

In this care home we work as a team, your team. We each have our own one-page profiles, and you can see a summary of the full team at the entrance, on the family tree. We also have videos of the team introducing themselves, that we can show you and your family. 


You will have a key worker, who is the main person responsible for your care. You will also have a small team of 6 staff who will be part of your team. Although you will meet all of the staff at different times, these 7 people (your key worker and 6 team members) will be the people who mainly support you and are focused on your well-being. We will provide you with a booklet with more information about them, from their one-page profiles, so that you learn more about them.

3) Your support, your way

We want you to have as much choice and control in your life and over your support as possible. We start by learning exactly how you want to be supported – from when you get up in the morning, how often you want to shower or whether you want a bath, to what you do during the day, to your night-time routine. We want your team to clearly understand what has to be done a certain way – your way. Your team are here for your well-being, not just to keep you healthy, well and safe. We will make sure you know how to control the environment, for example the TV and radio.FullSizeRender[8]

There is a lot going on at this care home  – a full activities programme for you to join in as much or as little as you want, your individual time, and staying connected with your family, friends and community too. This is where Community Circles help.

4) Individual Time and Community Circles

What are your aspirations? What would you love to still do, or try again, or keep doing? We will be asking you this when you have been with us for 6 weeks, and then every 6 months. You have 2 – 4 hours each month that we call ‘individual time’ this means that you choose what you do, where you do it and who supports you from the team. Some people use this time to stay connected with their faith community and attend services or meetings, some people use this time to follow a hobby like swimming or bowling, or a favourite football team, volunteer, others like to have their nails done, or a glass of wine in the pub. We will make sure you know what is happening locally, and all the local amenities that you can use.

Whatever you want to do, as long as you can do it in 2 – 4 hours a month, with one member of staff (and it is legal!) we will support you. You can either choose who you want to go with you, or we will match you to a staff member who shares the same interests. There is a lot that you can do in 2 – 4 hours a month, and we go further than this with Community Circles.

We know that having a sense of purpose, and staying connected to what matters to you and the people who matter to you is very important. We have a Community Circles Connector and she will introduce herself to you in the first 6 weeks. Her role is to help you think about what you want to achieve or do, and to think together about how your friends, family and local community can be part of helping you to achieve this,

5) Staying healthy and well

Staying healthy and well is very important and you are entitled to the same health and social care support as anyone who is living in their own home and who is a patient in a GP practice. This includes primary/community care services, dental services, eye testing, district nurses, community psychiatric nurses, chiropody, dietary services, speech and language therapy, tissue viability nursing, speech and language therapy, palliative/end of life care, and falls prevention. Your key worker will be responsible for making sure you are getting the health support that you need. We will review this with you every six months or more often as you need.

 6) Staying connected with your family

We want to keep your family involved in your life and support as much as possible. We will talk to your family to find out they best ways to keep in touch with them too. They are always welcome to join us for meals.

We record this in a ‘family communication chart’. Your family will be invited to contribute to all of your person-centred reviews (as long as you are happy with this) and to tell us what they think is working and not working, and be part of making changes with us.

7) Planning and reviewing our progress

We record information about you – what matters to you, how you want to be supported and cared for, your aspirations and your life story. We will help you record your life story within the first six months of you coming to live here, and show you different ways that you can share this with others (for example, books, audio recordings, albums, picture frames).

Every month your key worker will talk to you about how we are doing, and what is working and not working from your perspectives. Every six months we invite your family to this, and have an informal meeting called a ‘person-centred review’. We will look at what is working and not working for you from your perspective, from your family’s perspective, and from your teams perspective too. We will talk about ‘if I could I would’ look at your aspirations, and see if you want to change how you are using your individual time, and the focus of your Community Circle. We will talk about your health, and make sure that your one-page profile and other information is all up to date. This meeting will lead to actions that we will take to change anything that is not working for you, and help you move towards your aspirations.

8) Your rights, advocacy, comments and complaints

 As an older person you have human rights, as we all do, and we are always working to ensure that these are upheld. If at any time you need help speaking up, we will provide an independent advocate with you (from the local advocacy group) and their numbers are also at the end of this book (under useful contact numbers). Your key worker will be asking you each month what is working and not working for you. You could talk to the manager, or any of the management team at any time, or contact the commissioner for this service or local advocacy service.

What else would you want to know about in a welcome booklet to a new care home? Please post comments here, tweet, or email me with your thoughts (helen@helensandersonassociates.co.uk). We will share the final version from Flintshire and the local care home here. Thank you. 6

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