Summary of report content
Healthwatch St Helens carried out research to understand what people living and working in care homes and receiving domiciliary care were experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Healthwatch St Helens spoke to company directors, managers and senior staff by telephone and email. Many senior staff felt that care workers were undervalued and not given the same recognition as other health care professionals. Many also said that communication needed to be clearer and more informative. Communication from hospitals was also poor at times, mainly regarding test results. Many care homes and agencies reported that weekly phone calls from St Helens Council were good as requests for PPE or information could be discussed. The involvement of GPs came under criticism, with some GPs refusing to visit or take calls - however other GPs responded quickly and effectively to requests for appointments for care home residents and staff.
The Fraility Team, Infection Control Team and St Helens Council received high praise in terms of their willingness to help and their quick response times. Managers also mentioned how their staff were willing to take on extra shifts and even change or swap job roles to help. The kindness of people in community was also mentioned throughout.
Based on this work, Healthwatch St Helens made five recommendations that are detailed in the report.