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NorseCare: A Project Profile

Building physical activity into a care provider framework

Using physical activity as part of the care plan for residents living within residential care settings can have a profound effect upon their physical and mental wellbeing, and in turn their quality of life.

Active Norfolk has worked in partnership with Norse Care to build physical activity into the organisation’s core framework for all of its care homes, with physical activity now forming a key part of their Dementia and Wellbeing strategies.

As stated by National Institute for health and Care Excellence (NICE) Guidance:

Increased activity and engagement can have a positive effect on wellbeing and quality of life, which can contribute to other important outcomes, including mortality rates. Therefore, in order to achieve this, all staff need to know that engaging with people living in the home or scheme and encouraging activity, is fundamental to their caring role

NICE, 2018

We have also supported with the development of provision that is delivered, using the findings from the Mobile Me project to influence decisions around the type of activities to provide and the way in which exercise could become a part of residents’ care. Read the full project profile below, as well as testimonials from support staff at NorseCare.

Active Norfolk has worked closely with NorseCare to implement a series of practices to increase residents’ activity levels through Dance to Health, Mobile Me and crazy golf. As a result of the project, many residents have reported an improvement in mobility and mood; therefore, we look to put procedures in place to ensure physical activity becomes a key part of care provision at our homes and schemes

(Norsecare Wellbeing Strategy 2019-2022)

Project Background

Responding to Norfolk County Council’s designated priorities of improving independence in later life, we worked closely with Norfolk’s largest care provider to implement a series of practices to increase residents’ activity levels.

As a result of the project, many residents have reported an upturn in mobility and mood, while NorseCare has put procedures in place to ensure physical activity becomes a key part of care provision for residents.

Identifying the need in Norfolk

Nationally the ageing population is putting pressure on health and social care services. In Norfolk specifically, the population is ageing at a greater rate than the rest of England. It was therefore highlighted as a countywide priority in Norfolk County Council’s Corporate Strategy to improve people’s ability to maintain independence in later life.

A 2013 study from the NICE looked at loneliness and isolation among older people and found that engaging with meaningful activity and maintaining relationships are key factors in improving the wellbeing of older people.

Norse Care – Norfolk’s largest care provider

Norse Care is the largest residential care provider in Norfolk with 35 settings across the county. Their model of care is to offer high quality care and support which enables people to be as independent as possible and remain healthy, active and engaged with their community.

Norse Care actively promotes independence among its residents and therefore was a perfect partner for the Mobile Me campaign in residential settings.

Findings from the Mobile Me Project

The Mobile Me project is an award-winning initiative which aims to help older people remain active and independent in later life. Findings from this project have enabled the success of the work conducted in NorseCare residential settings.

Through Mobile Me, Active Norfolk learned that 94% of the people who were engaged in the project had a disability or long term health condition, with a high proportion of people having multiple conditions. By working in residential settings, Active Norfolk is able to reach people who stand to benefit significantly from physical activity based interventions. Click here to read the full Mobile Me project profile.

Establishing Physical Activity in Residential Care Settings

In order to make a significant impact in care provision practices in Norse Care, Active Norfolk used ongoing findings from the Mobile Me project to implement the following procedures:

Training Senior Staff

As a key part of the sustainability of the Norse Care project, we delivered Benefits of Physical Activity Training sessions for senior staff members and delivery staff members at Norse Care residential settings. This increased knowledge and awareness of the role of physical activity in
maintaining independence in later life.

Creating action plans

In cooperation with each Norse Care residential location, we helped to write physical activity into each homes’ Wellbeing and Lifestyle Action Plan. These action plans are the basis for the care service provided by homes and are reviewed every six months to see how homes are achieving against their targeted outcomes. We supported the appointment of an exercise and wellbeing co-ordinator within the Norse Care organisation to oversee activity services.

Scaling it up

While the Mobile Me programme was originally trialled in 10 Norse Care sites, the success of those sessions meant the programme was scaled up to be made available to residents in all 35 Norse Care locations.
The Dance to Health programme, a pioneering falls prevention initiative, has also been delivered within a Norse Care site.

Supporting sustainability

We provided part-funding to train 14 members of Norse Care staff to deliver seated exercise sessions, to be delivered across schemes.

This is an essential component of the sustainability of the approach, and demonstrates NorseCare’s commitment to ensuring delivery of the Wellbeing and Lifestyle Action Plan.

Contributing to research

The project has drawn interest from the University of East Anglia. We worked closely with UEA to use dementia care mapping as an evaluative observational tool to research best practice delivery of physical activity for people living with dementia. Once research is completed by the UEA and the report becomes available, there are plans for a physical activity section to be written into the NorseCare Staff online training portal.

Outcomes and Findings

Through our work with Norse Care, the organisation has made long-term changes to its organisational practices by bringing in permanent measures to ensure physical activity remains a key part of its care provision. Residents’ behaviour has indicated the following benefits:

The Norse Care Dementia Care Lead, Kate Grange, reported the increase in physical activity lead to widespread improvements in residents’ confidence and wellbeing. She also reported that there were several new social groups formed as a direct result of the physical activity implemented into residential settings.

Ms Grange also indicated in her report that through the dementia mapping process conducted by UEA, Norse Care was able to clearly see the positive impact physical activity was having on people living with the condition. The company has subsequently purchased sporting equipment to place in all 35 Norse Care settings to offer all residents the chance to enjoy the same benefits.

Along with the benefits to those living with dementia, activities leaders in a number of settings reported positive mood changes displayed by many residents as a result of the sessions. Staff at centres indicated traditionally reclusive residents were actively involving themselves in physical activity sessions and benefitting enormously from the social, physical and mental health positives that physical activity offers.

There was a lady in a wheelchair, whose grip was weak, and they were putting the ball in her hand, and she wasn’t really interested, she wasn’t paying attention, and they did it with her, and all of a sudden she picked it up and did it herself, and it was something really little, that made me go ‘yes’, it’s worth that….. It started with the lady not able to do it, and then she was able to.

Care Home Staff Member, NorseCare

Thursday has become a much looked forward to day in the Redmayne week. Having Steve and Jackie (Activities workers) here encourages movement and, together with plenty of laughter, creates and amazing atmosphere. Even tenants who are usually very reluctant to join in with anything have taken part and are smiling and communicating with others.

Care Home Manager, NorseCare

It brought everyone together. Several people didn’t feel they wanted to play, however when we started they  were watching, laughing joking and clapping. It was a real ice breaker. Everyone said how much they enjoyed the morning.

Dementia Support Manager, Alzheimer’s Society

One week there was a tenant who has Parkinson’s disease who came to have a game of ice hockey. This game got very competitive as he was playing against me (a female staff member) and he was waving his hands in the air saying ‘come on’. It was a lovely atmosphere.

Care Home Staff Member, NorseCare

Ryan Hughes

Strategic Lead – Older People

Ryan works with partners across a range of sectors to support the development of physical activity opportunities that help more older people to be active.

[email protected]