Last month, the Department of Health and Social Care launched an open consultation seeking your views on making vaccination a condition of deployment in older adult care homes, to protect the people most at risk in our communities. The consultation remains open until Friday 21 May 2021. Many of you have contributed, but we still need many more views to help us make the best informed judgment possible for care home staff and residents.
Coordinating staffing levels, mealtimes, medication and care planning in a care home is always challenging. Add COVID-19 to the mix and it's even harder. Find out how our 'Call to Care' recruitment drive helped the Woodfalls Care Home solve a staffing issue and keep its residents safe and well.
The National Care Forum, Rights for Residents and other partners have developed a set of resources, designed to provide practical support to care home staff, residents and visitors observing the current care home visiting guidance.
Partners in Care includes a growing suite of resources including a visiting charter and pledge, setting out shared rights, responsibilities and commitments all parties can sign up to. Download the resources and feel free to personalise them with - and for - the people and partners you work alongside and support.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"A year on from the last International Women’s Day and the mantra of ‘trying to have it all’ has truly taken on a whole new meaning" for Fatima Khan Shah Programme Director of Unpaid Carers and Personalised Care in West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership.
In this searingly honest blog, Fatima reflects on caring for loved ones with long term conditions, looking after children and balancing all the difficulties that come with managing complex home lives.
"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.
Across the UK, Lifeways employs almost 11,000 colleagues supporting nearly 5,000 adults with diverse and complex needs, across a variety of community settings, including our supported living services and residential homes. The COVID-19 pandemic means getting things right has never been more important for many thousands of people.