All sectors have to make changes as a result of the current coronavirus outbreak. Within the care sector, care homes have had to adapt very quickly. Given recent experiences within some care homes, it is likely that changes will be made in future and that these changes will affect jobs.
In any kind of care setting it can be difficult to impose changes in routine. However, that can be amplified if service users are potentially young, fit and active but perhaps unable or unwilling to understand the need for change.
New Government Guidelines
A recent paper issued by the Department of Health & Social Care outlines an Action Plan for Adult Social Care. It is reasonable to assume that many of the recommendations will extend to support work for all ages.
Many of the lessons learned during the current outbreak, in addition to the restrictions that the lockdown has brought, have led to changes being implemented in ways of working. Future ways of working will also be informed by the knowledge gained during this period.
Controlling the Spread of Infection
Support workers are already trained in effective infection control and awareness. However, COVID-19 has brought special challenges so it is likely that this training will be updated and enhanced to provide increased protection to both service users and staff in care home settings.
Control practices will be further developed. This will include the use of PPE, (Personal Protective Equipment), as appropriate. As has already been demonstrated, maintaining a personal approach can be challenging when PPE is required. Thought and care must be given to the introduction of it where possible to ensure that service users are comfortable.
Support workers have been on the front line during this period, in the same way as NHS staff and other essential workers. Increased support for staff during this period has been essential on both practical and emotional levels.
During this period there has been increased collaboration with local health services to provide support to each other and ensure that service users receive the best possible care. This may continue in the future.
Recruitment of Staff
There have been many initiatives to support the recruitment of new staff into the sector and encourage returners during this period. This has been essential to ensure that the number of support workers has been maintained.
Improvements to the recruitment process have included faster DBS and emergency checks, in addition to access to rapid online induction training.
Undoubtedly the increased focus on the care sector and the challenges presented to it will mean changes to care home jobs in Basingstoke. This will likely include increased training requirements covering infection control and its management. It should also mean continuing increased focus on the importance of support workers and this can only be seen as a positive approach in the long term.