Care homes across the country are gearing up for Care Home Open Day 2019. Now in it’s seventh year – it has become a staple part of the calendar for many care homes. However, if you haven’t been part of this international extravaganza before – then this could be the year for you!

Care homes play such a central role in local communities. They provide excellent care for community members, employment and volunteering opportunities for local people, excellent space for local organisations to meet and gather, offer vital support for local carers and so much more. In short they are often a community’s best kept secret – and we want Care Home Open Day 2019 to change that. We want everyone to understand just what an excellent resource their local care home is, and to come and join in the celebrations.

 If you are wondering what you might do to celebrate Care Home Open Day – then inspiration is at hand. The new website offers a multitude of ideas to propel your home into the public eye. The idea of CHOD is to ensure that everyone in your local community understands just what a vital resource you are, and gets an opportunity to get a look in beyond the front door.

There has been some really fantastic work going on across the care sector to understand how ‘intergenerational’ approaches to care provide offer real value to young and old alike. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t read of a new scheme or partnership that has emerged between care homes and schools, nurseries, local scout groups and more. These approaches offer a new relationship amongst local stalwarts - and that community orientated connection is to be embraced.

In addition, many care homes have been reaching out to other parts of the community – with an aim of both supporting their residents, but also identifying how they can helpfully support their local neighbourhood. This has resulted in homes offering space to local volunteering groups, making the most of their building to support the community. In addition, there are some fantastic examples of residents and staff carrying out fundraising for local charities.

For many organisations, Care Home Open Day is an opportunity to celebrate the arts – in their widest context. Great partnerships can arise from thinking outside the proverbial box and exploring how the care home can be used – for example – to provide rehearsal space for aspiring bands or theatre groups. Or whether there is an opportunity to showcase the talent of residents and staff through engagement in initiatives such as Live Music Now and identifying Care Home Open Day as an opportunity to perform.

There is also a recognition that care homes will benefit from opening their doors more to meet the needs of residents of the future. As communities diversify, then care homes need to ensure that they too are diversifying their provision to meet resident expectations and requirements. For example, homes are beginning to explore how best they support the needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender residents, and often the answer lies in partnership with local support groups and services.

Care Home Open Day originally was intended to show people exactly what goes on in a care home, and to dispel some of the myths. Perhaps this Care Home Open Day, homes think about not only how they can show the local community what they offer – but also they show just how embedded in the local community they are – and use the opportunity to stand side by side with their wealth of local connections – as partners on parade.  

Vic Rayner. Executive Director, National Care Forum.

National Care Forum, Care England and NAPA have worked together to establish and support Care Home Open Day since it’s inception.

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