Forum Discussion

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Rachel Stirling 10th Nov 2017 Diversional Therapists
Hi all,
As a lifestyle coordinator l am noticing that some carer staff with no background in activities are doing activity shifts. I too once was a p.c.a but l did my diploma in order to do lifestyles. They are seperate roles an should not be mixed in my opinion.If you really want to do lifestyles then take the next step an do the certificate or diploma for it.I have found most carers are not interested in lifestyle at all an just do it because they are told too. Trying to train them an explain why we do the things we do is very time consuming.As we all know if you give the wrong activity to someone an set them up for failure they wont come back for more.It does not work at accredition time as most dont understand the paper work or documentation.Some companies seem to be all about there profits an not so into the well-being of our residents.What do others here think??
Solange 12th Nov 2017 Diversional Therapist
Hi Rachel, I identify with your dilemma, I have also been in this position. It is so sad that some facilities allow people totally inexperienced in lifestyle work to do the job. It is not their fault; carers are usually told by superiors or management to 'help out'. It may harm the facility's reputation if residents' relatives notice the lack of professionalism of the staff. I am afraid I don't have the answer. You could try and bring the subject up at your next staff meeting. Don't lose heart, all the best of luck.
Donna 26th Nov 2017
Hi Rachel and Solange,
I agree with both of you it is very disappointing that facilities put untrained staff in the lifestyle positions.
I feel it devalues the role of the Diversional Therapist and Lifestyle staff this is one of the reasons I have just returned after a 2 1/2 year hiatus from my beloved Diversional Therapy which I am very passionate about. There are courses out there that will help these staff understand the roll of a DT, they shouldn't be made to do shifts in the Lifestyle department especially if they don't like being there. I believe that the residents pickup on the staff vibe and don't enjoy being in the activity. Staff that work in nursing and food services have to be trained in that role and do ongoing training so why do they think that staff don't need training in Diversional Therapy. I have just started where they haven't had a DT for 3 months and the staff have told me that the can see the residents are much happier doing something again. Thanks Donna
Solange 26th Nov 2017 Diversional Therapist
You are quite right Donna. Staff should have at least the minimum training required to be able to fit the individual competencies and skills of clients with dementia.
Matthew 28th Nov 2017 Consultant
It takes a village... EVERYONE can play a role in engaging Elders. Titles and certificates are almost immaterial. Relationships are what matters. You eluded to many of the points to meaningful activity that ALL care partners need to be aware of.
Lori 29th Nov 2017 Activity
It isn't rocket science triel and error
Julie 4th Dec 2017
I agree with Matthew. I have seen people pass through our home who have qualifications but no people skills. Needless to say, they didnt last long. On the other hand, i work with some of the most caring, empathetic people who strive to give our residents the best possible day and they dont have the 'piece of paper'! The Lifestyle/Leisure and Health course can teach you the requirements of the job but it doesnt give you a personality!
Rachel 14th Dec 2017 Diversional Therapists
Doing a Diploma of Leisure and Health lets you work with and provide a higher quality of life to a variety of people from all walks of life.It is way more than just a piece of paper.Imagine if anyone could just give out medication an act like a nurse for a day there would be an unroar.Knowledge is power.
Leanne 14th Dec 2017 Lifestyle Assistant
There are many PCA's who are not able to do further training due to distance and cost, but are excellent in Lifestyle. I have also worked with "trained" Diversional Therapists and Lifestyle staff who are absolutely dreadful. Please do not discriminate the staff because the have not done any formal training. I was only able to do my Cert 4 because the facility paid for it and it was partially on-line and partially face - to - face. If this had not been offered to me I could not have been able to do it as I work in regional Victoria (Aust). I was also working in Lifestyle before I did my Certificate and I was pretty damn good at it!!!!!
Rachel 29th Apr 2018 Diversional Therapists
Diversional Therapists plan, design, coordinate and implement recreation and leisure-based activity programs to support, challenge and enhance the psychological, spiritual, social, emotional and physical wellbeing of individual
Michelle 10th May 2018 Divertional Therapist
As the coordinator of my department I need to check and make sure care staff are doing their activities in their section with residents that don't want to or can not attend the activity groups that my Lifestyle staff do. This is so hard because they just cant do it and don't know what is expected because they haven't been trained in these areas.Having untrained staff in your department can be very draining and unprofessional but if the care staff are unable to do the job than they need to speak up. Do you attend the Carers meetings. When care staff do work in your department take advantage of it find ways to use it to your advantage. Speak to your manager but remember be positive yet disappointed when you approach them, Make sure you have dotted all your i's and crossed all your t's. It may take a while for you to get your point across but I have confidence in you, after all look what you do for a job. Good Luck
Catherine 11th May 2018 Care Assistant
What an interesting subject and thank you so much for bringing it on! I am a carer who has been asked lately to take on the role of activity coordinator in our care home (2 hours every afternoon, after my morning shift as a carer). I have to insist I was not given the choice. It happened as we tried several qualified activity coordinators in the past and on each occasion it didn't work. On my side, if I could find a moment during my shift when I could do a little activity with the residents, I would grab this occasion to have a little bit of fun with them. So, in the end, my manager decided to put me to the test and make it a regular thing. I was a bit reluctant at first and unsure about it. After all, not only I was not trained for that role but it wasn't the one I had applied for in the first place! But, I decided to raise to the challenge and give it a go. I can't explain how thankful I am to my manager to give me a chance to have a go at it! I enjoy it so much! But most importantly, the residents enjoy it a lot too! I'm a carer, and I know my residents. They are like a family to me. I know what they like, dislike, how to touch them, how to approach them... I make sure that everybody will have a great time, including those residents who are often forgotten because of their lack of capacity. Some might not be able to join a group activity or might not want to, but might enjoy a 1 to 1. When it comes to group activities, my little group I started with a few weeks ago has grown and grown and family members are now asking to join too! It's a total success and I'm so thrilled! What a joy to hear in the morning "Hi Cath! So, what have you planned for us this afternoon? I can't wait!"... I spend a lot of my time at home to prepare my activities when I could be out there enjoying my own life. It's a choice I made when taking on this role. I knew it would be hard work. But what a joy to see some lifeless faces suddenly smiling! At last! Please don't undervalue and depreciate carers. We know our residents so intimately that we often know what can make them happy... And happier....
Michelle 14th May 2018 Divertional Therapist
Hello Catherine congratulations on your new role, You are right the activities and your relationship with the residents is great. Just wondering do you do all the documentation i.e. Audits, care plans ,reviews etc. I too started out as a carer but started doing my diploma very quickly and I was quiet shocked to see what amount of study, and how I could use that knowledge every day to improve on not just the relationships and activities with the residents but with all the paper work that I have to do to meet the standards. Ask your company to train you. Its a benefit for you and your company.
Jacinta 11th Jul 2022
I have been trained in both areas but a roll I’m in now is new as lifestyle coordinator I am also new to the facility,I am ment to be working with another lifestyle coordinator who has not got her papers and is finding me a threat to the point she is rude not sure how to handle it …
Susan 12th Jul 2022 Activity Director
Hi Jacinta
This is a tuffy
You can try to be extra nice to her and give her many compliments
I find you get more being kind then if you are mean
I would give it a few weeks and hopefully she will come around
I would give it a few weeks and hopefully she will come around you may want to ask her why you and she have an adversarial relationship
Maybe you can help her get her papers
After all you are both there to engage the residents
Christopher 15th Jul 2022 Activities Director
Try this on for size.... I am the chef of our facility and during a staffing crisis I TOOK the activities director role, and have held them both ever since. I have spent a lifetime getting to know my residents and relating to them on a personal level. And frequently utilize the rest of our staff here as well. I personally feel that having everyone involved in activities helps the residents to look at us all as more of a family rather than "Oh he's the cook. And she's the aid. And that's the guy that plays games." It makes for a very well rounded homelike environment, and less of an institutional feel.
Susan 15th Jul 2022 Activity Director
Hi Christopher
Thank you for sharing this quite inspirational

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