Care home families and friend support project during the Covid pandemic

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Summary of report content

The Care Home Families & Friend Support Project, a Pan-Sussex Healthwatch project, sought to explore family and friends’ experiences of care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their key findings include:

  • Experiences of family/friends during the pandemic significantly varied across care homes, ranging from poor to excellent. While people have valued the efforts many care homes had made to facilitate communication between them and their loved ones, many reported not receiving any communication from care homes or from their relatives which caused frustration and distress.
  • There was a significant reduction in contact between family and residents living in care homes during the pandemic- this had substantial impact on their health and wellbeing. Many are now worried how the limited visiting arrangements will be affected during the winter months.
  • Digital communication was not possible for all care home residents due to their capacity or health issues, or due to technological issues, and this posed major barriers to communication during the pandemic. This has also raised concerns about the gaps in support as family/friends are unable to visit care homes to provide additional care.
  • Family/friends and professionals felt that the Government has failed to provide comprehensive, timely guidance to care homes during COVID-19, and this has had a negative impact on care home provision and their experiences during the pandemic.

The report lists six recommendations for care home providers about how to improve care throughout the pandemic and beyond.

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General details

Report title 
Care home families and friend support project during the Covid pandemic
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch East Sussex
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 28 October, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Saturday, 1 August, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Wednesday, 30 September, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Building and facilities
Digitalisation of services
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Quality of care
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
If this work has been done in partnership, who is the partner? 
Care for the Carers
Primary research method used 
Engagement event
How was the information collected? 
Engagement Event
Social Media
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Social care services 
Residential care home

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
Care / support workers
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.