The experiences of care home staff during the Covid-19 pandemic

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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.

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General details

Report title 
The experiences of care home staff during the Covid-19 pandemic
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Lancashire
Date of publication 
Friday, 30 April, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 1 June, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Friday, 31 July, 2020
Key themes 
Cleanliness hygiene and infection control
Communication between staff and patients
Health inequalities
Health protection
Holistic support
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Quality of care
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Staff attitudes
Staff levels
Staff training

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Yes
What type of organisation requested the work 
Local Council
Primary research method used 
Survey
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 
N/A

Details of health and care services included in the report

Social care services 
Home care / domiciliary care
Nursing care home
Residential care home

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
86
Age group 
Not known
Gender 
Not known
Ethnicity 
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
No
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
No
Does the information include staff's views? 
Yes
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
Care / support workers
Service manager
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 
Mixed

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Yes
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Yes
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
No
What type of impact was determined? 
Tangible impact (not cost related)

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.