How are you doing (COVID-19)? Targeted engagement of mental health inpatientsDownload (PDF 368KB)
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.