The virus pandemic was particularly challenging for care home companies in the UK for a plethora of reasons, from the elderly chronically ill adults living in a confined set-up to the unbalanced ratio of residents to HPCs. It gets even more complicated in care homes for dementia patients, who require high-contact care and often cannot understand the significance of social distancing, wearing masks, and visitor restrictions. Carers had to strive hard to reduce the negative impact of social isolation while also dealing with pre-existing communication fault lines in the industry, poor infection control readiness, and the severe shortage of trained staff and PPE equipment in social care. Here’s how care home providers in the UK can ensure that the motivation, dedication, and competency of their care staff is optimized to handle every type of situation.
Honing proactive innovation
Controlling and preventing the spread of Covid-19 has required out-of-the-box thinking to create a liveable daily routine, especially for residents suffering from cognitive and physical co-morbidities in care homes for people with dementia. However, many care staff brilliantly rose to the occasion, drawing flowers and smiley faces on their PPE gear to calm patients and staying in contact with residents’ loved ones. Personalized surprises and socially distanced outdoor activities were arranged, such as maintaining garden plots, decorating, or performing chores they would enjoy. Many care managers reported budding skills that were previously dormant in employees, such as establishing relations with local equipment providers when official channels were disrupted and displaying high levels of leadership and foresight. To make sure this service excellence continues, care homes should involve staff in setting short-term objectives and obtain their feedback regarding long-term strategies.
Enhancing holistic progress
After suffering a period of relentless back-to-back shifts with a severe lack of logistical, emotional, and morale support throughout the Covid period, many frontline workers were forced to quit their jobs. Therefore, it’s clear that a person-centric approach to staff wellbeing is vital for care establishments that prioritize compassionate holistic care for residents. A multidimensional facility-wide staff support system is necessary, especially as many HPCs felt like their wellbeing was pushed to the sidelines during the peak of the crisis, with no time or resources provided to recover from burnout or the trauma of losing patients. Additionally, customized financial and emotional aid, especially due to the burdens and worries brought about by understaffing, insufficient PPE, and fear of contracting the sickness and spreading it to family members, should be made available. The right training is imperative and needs to be updated to follow the latest industry policies. Time-off with compensation for unwinding and family time must be provided, even if that means a larger investment when hiring temporary or voluntary staff to fill the short-term rota gaps.
Create a culture of empathy
While pay satisfaction and tangible incentives are essential for a good workforce strategy, care employees must feel like their feelings and concerns are understood and validated. This can be achieved by designating a worker health and safety faction within the home, assigning a chief wellness officer, and holistic customized packages. For instance, morale-lifting measures could include weekly counselling sessions, free holidays, and fun team games and activities to relax between shifts.
Multidisciplinary and tech-driven collaborations
From minimizing hospital transfers and unnecessary clinical interactions to efficient medical and equipment management, as well as advanced and palliative care planning, synergized links are essential to ensure that the psychological and physical wellbeing of residents is placed at the forefront. For example, this could include establishing resident management strategies involving social and medical care commissioners, hospitals, pharmacies, general physicians, families, and community volunteers. Additionally, “Digital maturity” in the social care arena involves a centralized data-fuelled approach to understand the unique realities lived by both patients and service providers. When it comes to personalized multidisciplinary consultations from art therapy to aftercare sessions, for instance, virtual telehealth visits are the better option in some cases to eliminate nonessential specialist contact. These measures reduce the strain on care workers by providing a collaborative safety net. According to the NHS’s EHCH model, this leads to care homes playing an enabling role in residents making independent decisions.