A regular multi-agency meeting ‘The Ethical Task Force Group’ was created in response to COVID-19 pandemic. It was recognised that staff, managers and owners of care homes were experiencing unique challenges during the pandemic. The task force comprised the Isle of Wight council, the Isle of Wight-Care Partnership and Mountbatten Hospice. The group met weekly to discuss concerns and issues relevant to all parties in order to respond to the needs of care home staff.
One main concern raised was the emotional impact the pandemic was having on care home staff. Many homes lost multiple residents in a short space of time. Often they had known their residents for many years and described their bereavement as the same as losing a family member. They were unable to acknowledge the death in the usual way and therefore were left coping with the ongoing stress of caring for their residents, whilst unable to access their usual support networks and process their bereavement. Both owners and managers of care homes were keen to access strategies and services to support their staff. In the early stages of the pandemic there was a plethora of information outlining ways of managing the emotional impact of the pandemic. However, the information was not reaching the staff in an accessible way.
To address this we developed a simple guide to resilience and wellbeing for all staff. This joint project outlined different levels of support from informal peer led support and individual strategies, to formal referrals to bereavement or mental health services.
Outcomes and impact The guide received a national award from Skills for Care as an example of best practice. Following on from this work both Southampton CCG and West Hampshire CCG asked for the same guide to be sent to all care homes in Southampton city and West Hampshire.
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