21 December 2017
Hallmark Role Model – Den Wright
Den Wright has been Hallmark Care Homes’ much-loved Minibus Driver since April 2016. As part of her role, she travels to all 17 of our homes, meeting residents and taking them on day trips to a variety of different places.
We caught up with Den to find out why she feels external activities play such a vital part in the care we provide and what she enjoys the most about her role.
What does a usual day with one of our homes look like for you?
No day is ever the same! Usually I arrive at 10am to help get residents together for a trip out. Sometimes, the homes arrange two different trips out in order to appeal to all of the residents and ensure that everyone can get out into the community, if they would like to. However, some trips can be longer and can last until 4pm.
We go to a whole range of places, depending on where the residents want to go. For example, sometimes we will all head off to the local zoo for the day, but then other days we will organise a visit to a local garden centre or take residents out to a pub for lunch.
Every resident has different hobbies and interests, and we try our best to organise trips that appeal to each individual, so that the outings are memorable and mean something.
I cannot say that I have a favourite place to take residents, as I have been on so many nice trips out! All I know is that I enjoy places where I know the residents that are with us are having a good time and getting something positive out of the experience.
We often get quite a few residents coming to join us on the trips, and we adjust our arrangements in order to ensure that as many residents as possible can come along and they can get the best possible experience out of that trip. We don’t want anyone to feel rushed or uncomfortable, so we adjust the trip to suit them. Nothing is an issue for me; I will go out of my way to ensure that every resident that wants to join us on a trip is happy, safe and secure.
There are occasions where residents are nervous about coming on the bus. On these occasions, I usually speak to the resident, try and understand their concerns and see if there is anything I can do to make them feel better. Sometimes this involves me going slower, but if it makes residents feel safe, I am more than happy to do it!
Do you have a personal highlight in your role?
I don’t think I have a personal highlight, but I love seeing the smiles on residents’ faces when they go to places that they recognise.
There have been occasions where I have seen, what was originally a reluctant resident, join us out on a trip and then have a wonderful afternoon and go back to the home content, and that is one of my favourite things to see.
Another highlight of my role is seeing the friendships that blossom not only between residents but between the care team as well. You can see that the residents are comfortable in their surroundings and that they have a great fondness for the team that help look after them.
Why do you think activities play such an important role for residents in a care environment?
I think activities are important for so many reasons. Although the homes are lovely and the residents love being in them, it is nice for everyone to keep active and get out and about in order for them to enjoy what they used to do or see things that they used to see.
I really enjoy seeing the residents’ faces light up when they see things that they recognise on the journey. It’s not unusual for residents to point out places they used to visit with their families or places they used to go shopping, and it is so lovely to hear all of their different stories.
With regard to the residents in our homes that are living with dementia, I believe that these outings and trips are so vital. Not only do they aid reminiscence but they also allow the residents to share their stories in familiar surroundings, and it can aid their care delivery.
What do you love about your role?
I love everything about my job. I think I have the best job in the whole world!
I like the fact that Hallmark have let me become more than a minibus driver. I am given the opportunity to go out with the residents and interact with them. If I get to the homes a bit early or if I have a spare couple of minutes, I spend time getting to know the residents on more of a personal level, which is something I believe is so important as, not only do I get the pleasure of getting to know them as individuals, they also get to know me and know what I’m like, which makes them feel safe and more likely to come and join us on a trip out.
I could spend all day in a park or in one of our home’s cafés just listening to the residents tell me about their lives!
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