Newsletters for care/nursing homes

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by noelphobic, Jun 7, 2007.

  1. noelphobic

    noelphobic Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    Has anyone ever produced one? My sister has been asked to do this for my mum's nursing home. I am not really able to help much as I have an exam on Monday and we are unable to find the old ones (produced by someone else) to use as a starting point. I wondered if anyone had any experience and/or ideas in this area. The newsletter needs to be suitable for both residents and visitors.

    It will include a list of recent birthdays and, sadly, recent deaths. Also it will welcome new residents and talk of upcoming events.

    Any other ideas anyone? Thanks.
  2. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    Hi Brenda

    I have not produced one for a nursing home, but I've produced loads of newsletters/magazines/church mags etc over the years, in business and for my community.

    To a degree it is a good thing you can't find the old newsletters! There would be temptation to modify them, and if they have died out, it may be because there was insufficient interest in the format.

    As you say, birthdays, deaths, new arrivals, events form the backbone.

    Maybe new arrivals in the family of a resident "Molly Smith has just become a grandmother for the tenth time" etc

    Reports on meetings of the resident's committee if there is one

    If I were doing it, I would have occasional features about residents - a potted history of their life, family etc, with pictures from the past if the family would permit it.

    I would also do occasional features on members of staff - sort of interviews - "how did you come to be doing this?" "what is the most rewarding thing?" etc Perhaps a feature on new members of staff as they arrive.

    I guess one could also see if families of residents would talk about something.

    "what was the favourite meal this month?"

    Features on summer fetes, entertainments at the home, etc

    In other words, personalise things.

    ... and of course get a mention of TP in there!
  3. noelphobic

    noelphobic Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    Some great ideas there Bruce which will definitely be taken on board. My sister did have a lovely photo of one of the residents with her husband. She took it on her mobile and printed it off to give to the husband. My sister mentioned that she would like to put this photo in the newsletter but was told by one of the home's admin staff that she couldn't do that! I am sure she could if she got the permission of the husband.

    Not sure if there is a residents' committee but there are relatives' meetings so I think a potted version of the minutes of that would be good.

    I did also think that it would be nice to put births in, as you say. Only problem with that is it would be based more on luck than judgement ie sadly many residents would not even know themselves that there was a new addition to the family, therefore it would be dependent on relatives telling us. It would be somewhat bizarrre though to walk around the home asking 'anyone had any new babies lately?' :D

    I also like the idea of doing a 'spotlight' on one of the residents and think that could work really well.

    The idea of focussing on a member of staff is a brilliant one, and not one I had thought of. Care home staff get very little recognition so I think that would be really nice.

    TP leaflets have pride of place on the table where the signing in book is Bruce. Sadly (in some ways) most of them seem to reside there permanently! But will definitely try to get us in the newsletter, bearing in mind that this is not a home that specialises in dementia so wouldn't be of interest to all relatives.

    Thanks for some really great ideas.
  4. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    My mother's home has 2 versions of a newsletter. The glossy one, which is more a selling tool, with various aricles including the potted history idea (in one case featuring moi) and a more informal one. The informal one lists the things that Bruce has mentioned arrivals and departures, birthdays, events and planned trips. It also has a menu for the upcoming week, which seems to be the most popular item to be honest.

  5. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    A large poster - or A4 if not - on the home's noticeboard, asking for contributions and detailing what sort of thing.. that might help. After the first issue it should get easier.

    For births yes you need to bring the relatives in to report these things.

    Regarding photos - old ones will be ok if you can get them.

    Care homes and relatives will resist pictures of the residents now. It depends on their stage of dementia, in my view.

    It is a difficult subject. I'd be going after the wedding shots, time in the forces, first child, first grandchild type photos if the relatives would help.
  6. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    Another thought.

    When I produced a newsletter for academics for SAS Inc, my last employer, it went all over the world - the company had simply not thought of doing something in such a quirky style, and even the commercial customers liked it.

    I tried to explain quite complex subjects - data warehousing, data mining, etc - in terms that means something to me - not just gobbledygook.

    The problem was that the company gurus who could explain in any way, simple or complex, could not be asked "can you write me an article to explain data mining very simply" - they were gurus, not writers.

    I developed an interview technique. I figured what I believed it was all about and framed the questions accordingly. Then I would interview the guru, and, after they had agreed what I wrote on a question/answer basis, that was what was published.

    So we had the weird situation of, instead of discussing analytical techniques, I had one battleship shooting ranging shots on another one in a stormy sea.

    So perhaps if there will be articles about families, residents and carers in the newsletter, a list of standard questions might be great preparation. Many families might not want to write something from scratch.

    just my thoughts.
  7. Sharon G

    Sharon G Registered User

    Jun 5, 2007
    Greater London
    Word Wizards

    If your sister wants a bit of help, and uses ms word, why not try using one of the newsletter styles in the Project Gallery. There are a number of different formats to choose from. I've just started doing a newsletter for our newly formed relatives support group and everyone is very impressed with my first issue. They think I'm very creative ... little do they know that it's an established format that I tweeked a bit! Good luck. :D
  8. DeborahBlythe

    DeborahBlythe Registered User

    Dec 1, 2006
    What about a short interview with the manager, to give him or her the chance to say what improvements are in the pipeline. Any advocacy services planned? And of course a photo of them.
  9. Áine

    Áine Registered User

    Perhaps a section with useful phone numbers/points of help - social services, alzheimer's society, CSCI etc? Either just a list or the odd feature?
  10. Nell

    Nell Registered User

    Aug 9, 2005
    Dear Brenda,

    I don't want to be a devil's advocate, but I feel your sister must check with the NH about confidentiality rules - even for things as innocuous as birthdays. For ANYTHING to be put in print about any of the residents will probably require the completion of a permission form by the relative/s "in charge" of the patient (be that spouse, child or other person). Special permission usually has to be obtained separately for photos. (The same applies to staff.)

    If the NH are going to benefit from your sister's efforts, I suggest they should take on the job of getting permissions on file. They will need to notify your sister of exactly who is NOT to be included in the newsletter - be it in writing or in pictures. Unfortunately, if a group photo includes one person who has not given permission, you cannot use the group photo!

    Confidentiality is a HUGE issue these days and some people are only too happy to try and make a quick quid by suing if they feel their confidentiality (or that of their relative) has been breached.

    On a more positive note: my Mum's home newsletter includes:
    1 a quick quiz - fairly simple items based on history, current affairs, TV programs, etc.
    2 a few jokes (of the innocuous kind!)
    3 stories and pictures of any "events" at the home (eg. Christmas party; visiting concert group) For this one, you need an "inside contact" ;) to take photos and provide correct information, as it is unlikely your sister will be "on the spot" when these things happen
    4 fund raising news - eg. Mum's NH ALWAYS seems to have a raffle running!
    5 the occassional poem

    For jokes and quizzes and even poems, the internet is a great starting point! Just remind her to acknowledge EVERYTHING she uses!! (Again, to protect herself and the NH from possible litigation. Sad world we live in, isn't it?? :( )

    I think it is wonderful that she is taking on this task and I wish her all the best.
  11. Nell

    Nell Registered User

    Aug 9, 2005
    The idea of focussing on a member of staff is a brilliant one, and not one I had thought of. Care home staff get very little recognition so I think that would be really nice.

    You could call this section "Star of the Month" or "Staff Member of the Week" or some such, just to emphasise how important they are! It would be a great morale booster for staff! If your sister has time (I presume she will not be doing this on a full time basis!! :eek: ) she might even get a quote or two from residents about that staff member, such as: "Betty is always nice to me." Or "Betty is so cheerful, always smiling".

    Another possibility is "FAQ" (Frequently Asked Questions). The NH Manager should be able to provide your sister with a few of these and the answers the NH give. I'm thinking of things that might be current issues ("When will the renovations be finished?") or on-going things such as "When will the next Relatives meeting be held?". This might not be something for every newsletter, but could help the NH disseminate info. widely to as many interested people as possible.
  12. CraigC

    CraigC Registered User

    Mar 21, 2003

    It looks like you have had some great ideas from others. Firstly, the best newsletters I've read have some input or at least quote's from the residents. This just makes me feel like the homes care about the residents and don't have a 'them and us' approach. Quotes about the food or any other changes in the home or perhaps some dialogue from the residents meetings.....

    Secondly, if you need some templates for newsletters. Click on the link below, it may save bags of time. You will need microsoft word to use these templates.

    Kindest Regards and good luck
  13. Libby

    Libby Registered User

    May 20, 2006
    North East
    Hi Brenda

    The newsletter at mum's home, also has birthdays in the month, usually a poem and some simple crossword or lettersearch puzzle.

    (Obviously in mum's case, its folded and put in her handbag along with her slippers, underwear and anything else she can find :) )


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