Lockdown Hardship Softened

The COVID-19 lockdown caught some businesses in the care sector, and other sectors by surprise. It came way quicker than most companies expected.

We sensed it was on the horizon and having that sense proved to be beneficial as it gave us a short time to plan. The big question for the Care First Group was how are we going to support our clients if the government puts the country into lockdown?

A fast pivotal change would be required as we would not be able to deliver a service via our hubs or centres, with these hubs and centres supported by our head office team, during a lockdown.

We couldn’t abandon our clients, and we couldn’t stop supporting families and carers, that is not in our nature. We wouldn’t walk away from our responsibilities. We would find a way to implement a new, partially untested, approach to support clients and their families/carers within 48 hours.

Fortunately, we had a foundation to build on. Let me explain; as part of our person-centred transition pathway for clients with more significant support needs, we have initially delivered a service in the home, backed up with remote support and gradually migrated the transitioning client into a hub environment.

In 48 hours the switch was made. Rather than deliver service via our ten hubs and three centres all supported by a head office team, we switched to provide a service in the home with the clients supported by the hub and centre managers. Our head office team is now providing support from their homes using phones and computer technology.

The hub managers are creating the clients learning and wellbeing activities under the guidance of the support team then delivering them via an email. However, where email isn’t possible by Royal Mail and home deliveries to the door. With the learning and wellbeing activities in place, the hub managers are providing regular telephone support and, in emergencies, running mercy missions helping out carers and families with food and resource deliveries.

Is it working?

The feedback from families says, as a temporary fix until the lockdown finishes, it is.

Our clients have enjoyed the interactions with our staff, and our client and families have enjoyed our staff bulletins detailing how lockdown is affecting them and how they are overcoming these challenges. There is a bit of community spirit building.

Parents and carers are sending in pictures of clients using the learning and wellbeing activities we have sent out, and they are enjoying the interactions. All of us are learning about our clients and their ability, with we support and encouragement, to adapt.

We are all pleased it is working and we are proud of the clients and families for working with us from a distance
Come back and visit this news section in a few days to see pictures and stories of clients completing learning and wellbeing activities.