Health and Wellbeing

Health and social care sector more united

Hands of an elderly man on a walking frame

Posted on: 26 June 2020

The health and social care sector is more united than ever because of coronavirus, say care providers.

Care companies previously in competition have helped each other, for example finding personal protective equipment (PPE) and sharing best practice.

As lockdown eases, companies including Unicare Devon and Brandon Care Ltd are seeing furloughed and isolating team members return to work this month.

Care workers report that residents and people supported in the community are now less anxious than they were, describing the current situation as a ‘new normal’.

John Powell, Director of Unicare Devon, which provides domiciliary care to vulnerable people at home, said:

“One of the biggest challenges has been the shortage of PPE and establishing a consistent supply. Recruitment was initially another challenge, when processing and training successful applicants during strict lockdown.

“We’ve kept communication with clients open and being as transparent as we can has helped. Some enjoy daily contact with the office, while others share any concerns with their care team.”

Infection control is paramount, with care workers wearing PPE, regular hand hygiene and adhering to every piece of legislation and guidance, including limits on visitors to care home residents.

Wendy Marsh, Manager at Brandon Care Ltd’s Hillside House care home, Newton Poppleford, said:

“Our residents were naturally concerned to begin with and did not like the national no-visitors rule. But they understand, and families respect the temporary restrictions.

“With restrictions easing, we’re seeing how we’re able to open safely to visitors, while keeping our residents and staff safe.”

Other sectors of the care industry are also now looking ahead.

Len Lofts from The Northam Care Trust, which supports people with learning and physical disabilities, said:

“We’ve worked hard to respond to COVID-19 in entrepreneurial ways and have developed and planned our services in response to the changes.

“We’ve also looked ahead to understand what coronavirus requires us to prioritise in future, and while that depends on whether we see subsequent spikes, it means that we’re better prepared for them.

“Thinking ahead is the best strategy and making sure that we have what we need in place to support our clients and help them stay well.”

“We see a really bright future ahead,” adds John Powell of Unicare Devon.

“More than ever, care workers’ role in society is now understood and admired.

“We’ve seen, through the fantastic association with the NHS, our social care teams getting the long-needed respect within the industry for the care they provide. This has given the care sector a real boost.”

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