Background The challenges faced during the pandemic have resulted in care home staff putting their own mental health needs to one side. Many find it difficult to ask for help yet we know people benefit from support in different ways and that enhancing our wellbeing can make a huge difference.
Aim(s) The aim of the project is to establish the wellbeing and bereavement support needs of care home staff, and devise a support programme, alongside identifying potential barriers to providing or accessing this support.
Method Support needs were established through conversations with managers and by surveying care staff to learn about experiences of working through the pandemic. Based on these findings, a support programme was devised and offered flexibly to meet individual preferences. Support included individual or group counselling, in person, via video call, email, or telephone, at either the care organisation or hospice.
Additionally, workshops were developed that focused on enhancing positive, effective communication, managing stress, bereavement, and building resilience.
Results Successful funding was obtained from the local Clinical Commissioning Group and Care Association.
Of the 56 care homes contacted, 8 so far, have requested support. Support provided has included individual counselling for 5 care staff and for 2 managers, 6 workshops have been delivered and a further 6 booked. Another workshop has been developed for managers, at their request, focusing on developing wellbeing tools for themselves and their staff. Feedback collated indicates positive experiences of the support provided particularly in relation to learning skills to manage stress and build resilience, and having an opportunity to talk about dying, death, bereavement, and grief.
Conclusion Our hospice is committed to supporting our local care homes and work continues with care organisation managers to address barriers to accessing support ensuring care home staff wellbeing is prioritised and support available.
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