Your Questions Answered: This month, Tonia in our Activity Coordinators Group asked us: “Can I get your take on evaluations of activities please? I need something quick and easy instead of writing an essay.”
Helen Johns, the lead trainer on our Activity Coordinator Training Course, says: “This is a great question Tonia. Before we move on to how to record evaluation, let’s briefly take stock of why evaluation is important.
In practical terms, evaluation helps you to assess whether activities are:
- Meaningful, enjoyable and meet the residents’ needs
- Supporting positive relationships and resident well-being within care setting
Bear these points in mind when you are considering the suggested evaluation questions (below) and how to record your evaluation.
An effective evaluation process helps you to identify what works and what needs improved and most importantly that you use this information to inform your future activity plans.
Although activity coordinators sometimes tell me that they are evaluating their activities all the time, it is important that you show evidence of your evaluation. These records don’t have to be lengthy and the following can help you keep your evaluation records ‘to the point’.
- Evaluation will be made easier if your daily/weekly records of activity attendance and participation are completed at the time that the activity happens or as soon as possible afterwards. These notes can also be brief and your evaluation records can be cross referenced to these.
- One of the strongest sources of evidence for your evaluation is to have collected immediate feedback from residents at the end of the activity and record this on your notes. This is far better than going back at a later date and asking ‘did you enjoy x last week? This is especially true for gaining feedback from those with memory impairment. Sometimes people will not be able to give you verbal feedback but recording their response is a valid form of feedback. Having this help with your evaluation.
When reviewing your notes, use a simple structure to evaluate individual activities. For example, you could ask the following three questions:
What worked? What didn’t work? What would we do differently?
Your answers to the questions can be brief, and focus on the most important aspects of the activity. Use bullet points, rather than lengthy descriptions. You may also want to include a comments box to confirm what action you have taken/changes you have made etc. as a result of your evaluation. This is evidence that you are using evaluation to improve your activity provision. You can use the same process and structure for evaluating your whole activity programme.
Ask your own questions by emailing email@example.com or joining our Activity Coordinators Facebook Group and asking your question there. Helen Johns is the lead trainer for The Daily Sparkle Activity Coordinator Training and has been developing and delivering our courses since April 2017. As well as working for The Daily Sparkle, Helen runs an activity coordinator forum in her local area, provides training and consultancy for care homes in relation to activity and wellbeing and works as an ‘Expert by Experience’ for CQC inspections.