"During a pandemic, which is still far from over, few of us have escaped moments of loneliness or isolation. Even in large households, where a major focus of stress can be a sense of overcrowding and a lack of time to yourself, people have missed out on seeing close friends, relatives and loved ones." Alex fox, CEO of Shared Lives Plus, explains how the home share model has helped mitigate social disconnection.
Care and support
"There is still some way to go before strengths-based working becomes the norm in our services and communities. Leadership is vital if we are to achieve this aspiration", believes Robin Miller, Professor of Collaborative Learning in Health and Social Care at the University of Birmingham.
"At the start of lockdown, there was a great deal of uncertainty for young adult carers about the rules, how we can keep loved ones safe and the impact restrictions would have on our everyday lives. In April 2020, the Department for Health and Social Care asked us to join a consultation process to help create guidance for those aged 16-25 with caring responsibilities." Chloe Rollings, young adult carer.
"March has been the month when women’s contribution to the health, wealth and prosperity of our world has been emphatically celebrated. We want to tap into this rich resource of skills, empathy and lived experience" says Deborah Sturdy, Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care. "Earlier this month, we launched a consultation to inform a new Women’s Health Strategy. We need your views, concerns and ideas to help shape it and make it truly fit for purpose."
"This last year has been incredibly challenging. The top priorities have been to save lives, protect the most vulnerable people in our society and safeguard the NHS but it has meant our contact with family and friends has been significantly limited - something that many of us, myself included, have found difficult.
"Older care home residents are among those groups identified as at greatest risk, so we have taken a very cautious and clinically led approach to social contact in these settings." Dr Jenny Harries OBE, our Deputy Chief Medical Officer, explains more about the approach.
"When the pandemic first hit... everyone’s lives changed. It felt scary, especially so for staff in our care homes who provide 24 hour support to people with learning disabilities. In an effort to help everyone understand what coronavirus was, we got creative. Using arts and crafts we made signs to remind everyone to wash their hands and keep to social distancing rules. Making the residents a part of the process helped them understand the rules."
While the pandemic has reminded care staff how capable and resourceful they are in a crisis, the traumatic nature of their experiences over the last year has also meant learning to accept help from others. As a regional manager with Cygnet Health Care, Vicky Bradshaw was struck by how many of her colleagues have bonded and supported each other in ways they had not experienced before.
Just over a year ago, ‘infection control’ was probably something many people assumed happened mainly in hospitals to prevent illnesses spreading on the wards. Yet guidance on its application has been provided in care settings for quite some time. Much of it follows the same principles now used in the struggle against COVID-19.
Homecare workers have demonstrated outstanding commitment, compassion and selflessness throughout the pandemic and have enabled around 850,000 older and disabled people to live safely and well at home. Vaccination of the 715,000 strong homecare workforce and the people they support is vital to protect their health and wellbeing. The more vaccines given, the more lives saved, so time is of the essence.
Care home colleagues have been at the forefront of the fight against coronavirus. They have demonstrated resilience, agility and flexibility to protect and look after some of the most vulnerable in our communities. Amidst all the challenges, a spotlight has been shone on the true value of partnership working and the sharing of expertise and knowledge - never more so than in the realm of infection prevention control.