How are you doing (COVID-19)? Targeted engagement of mental health inpatients

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Luton have reported on their findings after carrying out targeted engagement sessions over Microsoft Teams. The aim of this project was to assess the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the residents of Luton’s access to health and social care, and how the pandemic has affected staff in these areas.

This report focuses on the experiences of 8 staff and patients of inpatient mental health services in Luton.

The sessions were informal discussions, focusing on positive experiences of inpatient services, improvements that need to be made, as well as experiences of testing, treatment, and communications.

Three members of staff were interviewed. Staff reported finding it “very challenging during Covid”, needing to become accustomed to wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and improving digital knowledge. There had been a large increase in staff isolating at the start of the pandemic. In one ward, an isolation ward had been organised. Managing the isolation ward whilst coping with a shortage of staff made difficulties worse.

It was found to be difficult to follow government advice with some patients refusing to be tested or wear masks.

Patients had mixed opinions about their experiences of inpatient care. A common finding was patients reporting a lack of activities, especially on weekends, and shortages of staff. The pandemic also increased mental health difficulties. Anxiety around the virus increased, as well as sadness at families being unable to visit.

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General details

Report title 
How are you doing (COVID-19)? Targeted engagement of mental health inpatients
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Luton
Date of publication 
Thursday, 19 November, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Sunday, 1 March, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Tuesday, 31 March, 2020
Type of report 
Patient experience
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Quality of staffing
Quality of treatment
Staff attitudes
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
Focus group
Unstructured Interview
How was the information collected? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Mental health services 
Psychiatry / mental health (other services)

Details about conditions and diseases

Types of long term conditions 
Mental health condition

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
All people 18 and over
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 
Allied health care professionals
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Is there evidence of impact in the report? 

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.