Kent County Council's health and wellbeing support offer to the care sector in response to COVID-19
It became clear that working through the pandemic was having a negative effect on the health and wellbeing of frontline care workers in Kent. Regular meetings with managers highlighted the concerns from workers and how stressful people were finding the changing COVID situation, not only in the workplace but at home too.
There were concerns from care workers and managers about personal finances, managing bereavements, access to specialist support and the stress that working during the pandemic was placing on workers’ health and wellbeing. Managers and commissioners were also concerned that the ongoing COVID situation and burnout could lead to a delayed response and signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) arising in some workers.
The Design and Learning Centre (DLC) at Kent County Council decided to offer a number of easy to access, free support options for the sector.
Kent County Council health and wellbeing support offer to the care sector in response to COVID-19
COVID-19 information, alerts and resources for the care sector
A COVID-19 page on the Design and Learning Centre website for providers to access links to health and wellbeing support all in one place. Links were provided to Skills for Care COVID-19 support webinars, manager support help line, a good sleep guide, charity organisation links, exercises to reduce stress, bereavement support, mental health helpline and much more.
Three interactive posters, one for managers, nurses and care workers, which provided role relevant links to care worker grants, counselling support, various helplines, psychological support, and the Queen's Nursing Institute nurses support line.
Partnership work with a local hospice
Partnership work with a local hospice to provide a six-part program via webinar to support managers and care workers who are providing end of life care and/or experiencing bereavement. Applications for this course was four times what was planned for. The course covered include:
- the challenges for caring with COVID-19
- managing grief and bereavement during restrictions
- symptom management, end of life care
- care and support of the resident/patient with dementia during the restrictions
- managing delirium, agitation and terminal restlessness
- caring beyond COVID-19
Post traumatic stress webinars
The DLC commissioned PTSD webinars and small group sessions from a specialist training provider to enable managers and workers to recognise the signs of PTSD, learn how to support those who may be experiencing PTSD and receive tools and coping mechanisms.
Open webinar sessions to recognise the signs and symptoms of stress, overwhelm, PTSD, and burnout in yourself and others, using techniques from positive psychology, neuroscience and mindfulness, will focus on:
- a mindset of resilience in the face of challenging circumstances
- practical tools and techniques to manage stress, calm the mind and increase feelings of contentment
- develop a way of thinking to overcome challenges and feelings of uncertainty
- being grounded with calm and clarity
- how to sustain productivity and energy throughout the day.
Confidential small group sessions
These small group sessions provide a safe and supportive space for individuals to release stressful feelings and to heal from the past year. Highly relaxing and therapeutic, this group space is suitable for anyone wanting to let go of stress and painful emotions, and to learn techniques for calming the body and mind. Each session will include:
- breathing techniques to reduce stress and calm the nervous system
- energetic healing for the body and mind (personalised to each group)
- guided meditation to induce deep release and relaxation.
The council also partnered with a local hospice to provide a six-part part program via webinar to support managers and care workers who provide end of life care and/or were experiencing bereavement.
Forty people of the 86 who applied were placed on the program and they have commissioned further sessions to meet the remaining demand.
Kent also commissioned a specialist training provider to hold Resilience webinars, attended by 140 people, and PTSD small group sessions, attended by 39 people to date, to enable managers and workers to recognise the signs of PTSD, learn how to support those experiencing it, and receive tools and coping mechanisms.