One of the most important investments care homes can make at the moment is in their employees’ mental health.
The call comes from technology provider Planday which held a webinar recently entitled: ‘COVID-19 + Social Care: How to stay strong, safe and supportive’.
Planday’s partner manager for UK & Ireland, Kevin Ryan, says there are practical things care home managers can do to support their teams’ mental wellbeing.
“It’s great that mental health is being talked about and there is now a culture which encourages people to look after it and speak up when they need to. At work this also means the lines of communication have to be even more open,” he says. “Care workers are not only continuing to care for the people who need it the most, they are also potentially exposing themselves and their families to the virus which is a cause of enormous concern.”
Ryan adds that staff need to know there is support available and managers should keep in touch constantly with team members.
There was also a discussion on the opportunities COVID-19 has presented to hire new workers.
“The paradox of COVID-19 is that care homes’ reliance on agency staff has been reduced and there are other people who want to work in social care,” says Ryan.
“This is an opportunity for care homes to find and hire quality staff to start great careers in the sector and reduce a provider’s reliance on bank or agency staff. Care operators are saying they have a recruitment pool from which to draw, which is really exciting.”
Ryan says that the pandemic has also ensured the care home sector has begun to actually innovate rather than just talk about innovation.
“During COVID-19 digital tools have really stepped up to make the management of care organisations more efficient by, for example, minimising paperwork and tracking people in the building.”