The Covid19 pandemic and lockdown began in March 202 and required health and care services to rapidly adapt how they supported people and residents living in care homes who were particularly vulnerable to Covid19. In July 2020 Healthwatch Wandsworth worked with SWL CCG (Wandsworth) to develop an independent survey for care home staff to understand how well staff in care homes felt supported to care for their residents and to look after themselves during the pandemic.
What we did
Healthwatch and SWL CCG (Wandsworth) emailed the survey directly to care home managers to encourage them to complete the survey anonymously. The survey could be completed online, and we offered the opportunity to phone Healthwatch Wandsworth to complete the questions over the phone.
Between 1st July until 27th July, 129 people responded to our survey.
Many people shared their views and there was a great deal of variation in experiences between individual staff members and between care homes.
Although a good proportion of staff felt that over time they had safety measures they seemed happy with, this was not the case for all. The perceived need for mental health support for staff and residents varied as did the support available to them. Technology was recognised as an important way of coping with social distancing measures and new ways of working, but it brought additional challenges in the workload and was not consistently available across all care homes.
Findings and recommendations:
Please read our recommendations in full at the end of this report. We recommend consideration of how care home staff and residents can be supported consistently with:
- Workplace safety, effective support systems, teamwork and communication.
- Technology: making use of benefits and addressing challenges.
- Social isolation: the impact of social distancing and use of PPE.
- Mental health support for staff and residents.
- The impact on certain residents with dementia and learning disabilities.
- Information provision and communications.
What happens next?
The results were shared to ensure a common understanding of issues and local achievements and future support for care home staff and residents.
London Borough of Wandsworth & Public Health and SWL CCG Wandsworth have worked together to develop a response plan which can be viewed on the council's website.
We have also shared this report with other local Healthwatches, Healthwatch England, and other contacts across health and social care services. We will be following developments in support to care homes closely.