04 April 2023
Tom Owen, Director of My Home Life England
Just over 3 years on from the first Covid-19 lockdown in the UK, care homes across England have shared their experiences of the pandemic, in order to inform future responses to crises. Over 200 people from 34 care homes shared insights into what support they received during the pandemic which they felt was valuable. These have been compiled into a new report ‘Rebuilding Together’. The report also explores what support care homes need right now, knowing that, for many, COVID-19 has not gone away; both in terms of infection and the long-term trauma it has left behind.
Individuals shared that, throughout the pandemic, teamwork, loyalty, resilience, commitment and connection to one another, were all critical for people living and working in care homes. When support was absent, particularly at the beginning of the pandemic, this led to people feeling alone and sometimes very scared.
The contributing care home managers expressed a desire to be recognised, supported and appreciated (on par with NHS colleagues), and for guidance and policy to be clear, consistent and timely. They also identified a desire to sustain some of the positive changes experienced during the pandemic, for example greater knowledge of IT systems, infection control procedures and different forms of communication with families and community links.
These insights remind us of the commitment, care, courage and connections that exist in care homes. There is a vital need for care providers, the wider health and social care system and local communities to invest in the wellbeing of care teams, to actively engage in open conversations with people living and working in care homes and to explore what would help them now and into the future.
‘Rebuilding Together’ is authored by Oluwafunmilayo Vaughn, who has a research interest in frontline care staff, including developing and evaluating initiatives to improve wellbeing at work. She is an associate of My Home Life England, part of City, University of London. My Home Life England promotes quality of life and positive practice in care homes and other care settings.