The experiences of care home staff during the Covid-19 pandemicDownload (PDF 1.73MB)
Summary of report content
Healthwatch Lancashire in collaboration with Lancashire County Council Quality, Contracts and Safeguarding Adults Service, created three surveys to provide a ‘snapshot’ of the experience of people living in, working in and who had relatives in care homes in Lancashire during the pandemic. This report focuses on the feedback given by staff working in care homes. In total, 86 staff and managers responded to the survey from 46 different care homes.
Over two in five staff felt they were unprepared for the pandemic with a further 12% not sure. They said that their main challenges included practical challenges (lack of PPE, not enough staff), keeping residents and staff safe and personal challenges (understanding guidance that was unclear, keeping up morale and providing reassurance.)
Nearly a third felt that, on reflection, nothing could have been done differently. Suggestions for what could have been handled differently included:
- Guidance and information should have been provided sooner.
- Equipment and testing provided sooner.
- More and better support from the government and other agencies.
Two thirds of staff felt supported during the pandemic. However, some respondents said that support was limited at the start of lockdown but did improve as time went on. What they feel would help them is an opportunity to share their experiences with others and to have someone to talk through their worries with.
To support residents’ wellbeing, staff have increased both the type and number of activities available, ensured residents were able to contact relatives and friends and kept residents informed of changes and updates. To support families of residents, staff enabled communication with their relatives, kept them up to date with changes and information and provided reassurance. To support staff wellbeing, managers kept staff informed, worked together ‘pitching in’ when they could and provided one to one personal support.
Just over half had made plans for the recovery period. Managers and staff said that they are proceeding with caution as some attempt to reopen to visits (to some extent.) Almost all felt that they managed to maintain a quality service and 86% felt that they are coping really well or okay. Further comments that were left in response to the survey demonstrated staff’s commitment to their job and their appreciation of the teams they worked in during difficult and stressful times.
There were two recommendations in the report about the County Council working with partners to interpret government guidance and improving support services to care homes. There is a response from the provider committing to implement the findings of the report.