Rainbow Rooms have been introduced across Care Homes in Northern Ireland to help and support staff who have done so much for our loved ones during the pandemic.
The Rainbow Rooms idea was adopted from the rainbow symbol of solidarity used by the NHS/HSC during the current pandemic.
The rooms will provide some much needed space and quiet time for staff during difficult periods resulting from the pandemic.
Rainbow Room resource boxes will be delivered to each of the 483 care homes across Northern Ireland over the coming weeks and are filled with information and advice on health and wellbeing issues to support staff as well as activity packs, toiletries, water bottles, tea, coffee and snacks.
Each box will be unique and a gesture of support to help strengthen the relationships between the care homes and the local voluntary and community sector.
The initiative is being delivered through a collaboration led by the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB), Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs), Public Health Agency (PHA), HSC Trusts and the Healthy Living Centre Alliance.
Healthy Living Centres across NI have received donations for the Rainbow Rooms from the Red Cross and the Food Standards Agency as well as from a wide range of local organisations and businesses.
Programme Director of Integrated Care Partnerships Martin Hayes from the HSCB said: “We work to encourage more partnership approaches to improving health and wellbeing, this initiative is a fantastic example of connecting care homes with their local communities which we are delighted to have supported and are thankful to all the partners involved.”
Health Minister Robin Swann said: “This initiative is an important opportunity to recognise the hard work of care home staff, acknowledge the very difficult circumstances in which they have had to work over the last number of months, reinforce some important health, wellbeing and ICP messages, and foster ties between care homes and the wider community.”
Rodney Morton, Director of Nursing, at the PHA said: “A Rainbow Room is a space for care home staff to go when they are in need of some solace and some quiet time for reflection. The concept can be set up in existing staff rooms or in any small space where staff have the opportunity to set aside time for self-care and to be reminded that their local community values and appreciate their care. We very much want care home staff to know that they are not alone and their contribution has and is making a real difference in people lives and we thank them deeply for this.”
Tony Doherty, Regional Coordinator with the Healthy Living Centre Alliance, added: “We are proud and glad of our key role in this initiative. Care Home staff have experienced extreme difficulties during the pandemic. The Rainbow Box is a symbol of our solidarity and appreciation to all of them. I am grateful that many Healthy Living Centre managers and staff stepped up to the plate across the region to bring solace and inspiration to others during these most trying times.”
The Healthy Living Centre Alliance is an award-winning network of Healthy Living Centres (HLCs). Healthy Living Centres are community-led health improvement initiatives i.e. adopting a bottom-up partnership approach engaging local people and organisations, as local assets, to work collectively to address health inequalities and to improve the health of their neighbourhood, town or village.
Integrated Care Partnerships are local collaborative networks of service providers working together to improve the health and wellbeing of their local community. There are 17 in NI and their membership includes; GPs, Community Pharmacists, local HSC Trust staff, the voluntary and community sectors, service users and carers and the local council.
There are 248 Nursing Homes and 235 Residential Care Homes registered with RQIA .