Summary of report content
Healthwatch South Tyneside commissioned a research agency to gather insights into the pandemic’s effect on the emotional wellbeing of those residing in care homes in South Tyneside.
They surveyed care home staff and relatives and friends of care home residents and found that it had been an extremely difficult year for them. The mental and physical impacts of the pandemic were definite and tangible, evidenced by both staff and relatives’ accounts.
The greatest effects on residents had been seen in the deterioration of mental state, particularly for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, and an increase in loneliness. ‘COVID-safe’ visits and activities had gone some way towards mitigating these impacts, but clearly nothing could completely substitute regular close contact with loved ones.
In the absence of ‘normal’ visiting, communication had become more important than ever this past year, and although most staff felt the level and quality of care home communication had been good, a proportion of relatives felt it needed some improvement.
Overall, staff felt they had tried their best and done a good job. Most relatives agreed, although there was generally a discrepancy in the level of positivity between staff and relatives when reflecting on the way the challenges of the pandemic had been handled.