‘I never realised you could use reading in this way. I used to read aloud to some residents when they were ill, but it would be just me doing the reading and them listening. But now I realise I can use reading as a way to encourage residents to interact with one another.’ Bupa Staff Member, St Nicholas Care Home
In April 2011 The Reader Organisation began delivering a 6 month Reader in Residence pilot within eight Bupa care homes, five in Merseyside and three in London, setting up Get Into Reading groups in each home and delivering training for 22 BUPA staff members and relatives.
An evaluation of the project shows that we have read with 138 residents, delivering 162 reading group sessions and providing 1,281 beneficiary experiences over the course of the pilot project.
The evaluation found that during sessions
- 81% of members have improved mood
- 77% have improved concentration
- 84% have improved social interaction
- 66% have improved recollection
‘It gives you an uplift…I feel happier and uplifted’ (Group Member, Stonedale Lodge Care Home)
In addition to this, 22 Bupa staff and relatives have received training to run one to one reading sessions and small groups and have embraced a culture of shared reading within the homes, using these new skills to deliver one-to-one sessions for individual residents who find it hard to come along to a group. Of those trained,
- 95% said their confidence had grown
- 90% said they were more likely to read with residents
- 95% said that shared reading would benefit their own wellbeing
- 100% said they saw potential for reading to enable them to build richer relationships with the people they care for
A surprising benefit of the project has been the improvement to staff wellbeing. This was not one of the aims of the project and is a fantastic addition to the outcomes received.
‘As an activity co-ordinator I have grown as a reader in confidence to read aloud…reading has opened up so much for me as an individual and also in my work place’ (Staff member, Ennerdale Care Home)
The project was hugely popular not only with residents and staff members, but with family members too
‘Since attending the group my Dad has rediscovered his love of literature. He does not have the concentration to read for himself do being able to read out in a group and have poetry read to him and discuss the piece together has been great for him.’
We are now hoping to be able to roll the project out across Bupa’s 304 care homes in the UK. Staff members who took part in the project are now using their training to build a culture of shared reading in their homes and it has been wonderful to receive letters such as the one below, telling us how well it is going.
‘Today we had our usual Thursday morning group and our group members, as ever are still enthusiastic about reading…Carol does regular one to one sessions on another unit and finds it helps individuals to be less stressed and agitated’.
Read more about our work with Older People on our website.