As we emerge from Covid, at Westward Care we will never forget what social care staff went through during the pandemic – and what they continue to go through every day. Their dedication to our residents and their families has been incredible and we will never be able to thank them enough.
During the pandemic, we made sure that our staff have felt listened to, valued and cared for. We ran Mindfulness webinars, delivered food parcels to support staff and their families and regularly surprised staff with treats, self-care packages and thank you cards.
But we know that our staff have had an incredibly difficult eighteen months – and we can only begin to understand what they went through. And so, as part of our strategy of continuing to help and support our staff, our Managing Director Peter Hodkinson put an open call out to all staff to meet with him for an informal catch-up.
These catch-ups weren’t supervision or appraisals, but rather a safe and comfortable space for all staff to share their experiences of caring for residents during Covid-19. They’re also a space for staff to honestly suggest ways in which Westward Care can continue to support staff through the difficult winter months.
Rather than a conversation, Peter was there to listen. To hear first-hand from staff, in their own words, about what happened during the height of Covid, how that made them feel and how they coped and continue to cope with the effects of working with many vulnerable people during the pandemic.
So far, twelve staff have met with Peter to tell him about their experiences. Peter has been bowled over by how all staff went above and beyond for our residents and their families – and how they coped in the face of extraordinary, ever-changing – and sometimes scary - circumstances.
Staff have fed back to Peter that teamwork and support for each other is what has helped get them get through this national state of emergency. However, the impact physically and mentally of dealing with outbreaks alongside the ongoing hyper-focus on infection control and ensuring all procedures and safety measures are followed effectively has added additional stress.
The informal catch-ups for staff to share their experiences are part of a continuing process to make sure our staff feel valued, respected and understood – and Peter’s door will remain open for those who want to share what they went through during the pandemic.