Covid-related deaths within the care home sector, not only had a devastating impact on families and loved ones, but also affected the physical and mental health of staff.
“For all of these reasons, we quickly identified the need to work really closely and collectively with our care and residential homes to protect and support everyone within them.”
Ang Jamson, Head of Integrated Services, Newcastle City Council
There was an urgent need to help care homes build resilience, develop and implement effective outbreak control measures, access essential equipment, respond to residents’ wider physical and mental health needs, support their staff and tackle any other major issues that arose during this extraordinarily difficult period.
Within days of the first Covid-19 case in the UK, Collaborative Newcastle put in place a system of daily calls to provide consistent and comprehensive advice, guidance and rapid response support to all 46 care and residential homes in the City.
“The impact of Covid has been so difficult for the staff, residents and families in care homes and it would have been easy to feel isolated. Support calls from the care home support team were a means of knowing we weren’t forgotten or left to deal with Covid alone. Even if we didn’t need anything – a chat with another professional to reassure us that we were doing everything correct was worth that call. We can’t thank the team enough.”
Sarah, Regional Manager, Akari Care
The existing nursing support team was expanded to offer wide-ranging expertise across the care and residential home sector to provide holistic wraparound support into those areas most affected by the initial Covid-19 wave. This team provided (and continues to provide) care homes with practical in-person support, treatment for residents’ mental and physical health needs and best practice guidance and training to help limit the risk of infection.
A digital reporting system was also established for care homes to submit information on suspected and positive cases. This enabled the wraparound team to respond quickly, support any outbreaks effectively and, importantly, review and improve infection prevention and control measures where necessary.
“We really wanted to build strong foundations for long term collaboration with care and residential homes across the City – which would support staff and residents during COVID-19 but also far beyond. “The new system-wide support that we’ve developed in partnership with the sector, means that we’re now much better placed to communicate effectively, respond more quickly and provide the right, tailored support needed at any given time.”
Elaine McNamara, Directorate Manager – Newcastle Hospitals Community Services
The newly established Collaborative Newcastle Care Homes Group includes partners from the Newcastle system (Newcastle City Council, Newcastle/Gateshead CCG, Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Hospital Foundation Trust and Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Mental Health Trust) as well as partners from the care home sector and public representation via the Elder’s Council and Newcastle Healthwatch.