Working with our most vulnerable people during the COVID-19 outbreak

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch St Helens felt it was important to understand what people living and working in nursing/care/residential homes and receiving domiciliary care were experiencing during the Covid-19 pandemic. They spoke to senior staff at 40 care homes and care agencies.

Senior staff felt that care workers were undervalued and not given the same recognition as other health care professionals. They felt that communication could have been clearer and more informative. 

Contact Cares was mentioned several times throughout this piece of work. The issue always the same, difficulty in making contact. The involvement of GPs also came under criticism, with some GPs refusing to visit, or indeed, take calls.

The Frailty 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, cancel annual leave and even change or swap job roles to help out.

Finally, they appreciated the kindness of local people and businesses in donating food and making face masks. 

The report includes five recommendations including access to mobile testing, remote GP consultations, introduction of a regional care bank and support for the mental health of staff.

The report includes a response from the local authority, which sets out the changes they intend to make in light of the recommendations.

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General details

Report title 
Working with our most vulnerable people during the COVID-19 outbreak
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch St Helens
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 16 September, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Cleanliness hygiene and infection control
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Staff levels
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
Structured interview
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice
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 
Not known
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
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 
Service manager
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known
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.