On 14th January, CMM hosted a free Zoom webinar on behalf of the National Care Forum, calling on all providers to share their experiences of COVID-19.
Liz Jones and Julienne Meyer (Policy Director and Research & Development Adviser respectively) of the National Care Forum (NCF), presented an insightful webinar to discuss the findings of the LESS COVID: Learning by Experience and Supporting the Care Home Sector during the COVID-19 Pandemic report. Funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust, the report was created in collaboration with the University of Leeds and Nurturing Innovation in Care Home Excellence (NICHE) Leeds
A clear purpose
The webinar began with an informative pre-recorded presentation, introducing the research as well as its motivations, methods and ultimately, its outcomes. Liz Jones had co-narrated the presentation with Professor Karen Spilsbury of the University of Leeds, who explained that the NCF’s fundamental aim was threefold. Firstly, to lead research into the experiences of frontline care home and NHS staff during COVID-19. Secondly, to share lessons learnt from working in the pandemic and explore strategies to overcome presenting issues. Finally, to co-create useful resources to ensure continued learning and improvement in the sector.
The report’s method identified two phases of work, which Professor Karen Spilsbury continued to explain. Outcomes would first be led by a series of interviews with frontline care home and NHS staff to obtain an extensive understanding of the clinical presentation and illness trajectory of COVID-19 in older people; what worked well, or what more was needed, for care and treatment; and lessons learnt for supporting infected older people to recover or die well. It was then stated that the second phase of work involved consultation with senior operational and quality managers in care homes to determine both the impact and relevance of the first phase’s findings, and strategies for managing the risks associated with COVID-19 in care homes for the benefit of all, namely residents, relatives and staff.
Dissecting the report
At this point, the narrative shifted towards summarising key findings from the report and Professor Karen Spilsbury posited seven themes used to categorise outcomes:
- Clinical presentation: COVID-19 does not always present as a cough and fever in older people.
- Unpredictable illness trajectory.
- Managing symptoms and providing supportive care: no ‘magic bullet’.
- Recovery and rehabilitation: promoting physical, cognitive and emotional wellbeing post-virus.
- End of life care: being prepared and supported.
- Infection prevention and control: ensuring relevance, preventing complacency and promoting confidence among care home staff and residents.
- Promoting partnership through cross sector working and support.
The report’s conclusion was dominated by an urgent call to action. Much like the report’s fundamental aim, the call was also threefold, demanding decisive action from key stakeholders in the nation’s COVID-19 response – namely the sector, Government and researchers and funders. The report calls for the sector to impart its knowledge in order to thrive, for Government to fulfil duties that are beyond the control of the sector, particularly in the creation of sufficient policy and guidance, and for researchers and funders to target their work towards those whom it will directly impact – care home residents, their relatives, staff and care provider organisations.
As the webinar drew to a close, the presenters opened the floor to questions from those in attendance. Several talking points were raised, generating an extensive conversation about the personal experiences of attendees. Both Liz Jones and Julienne Meyer responded to questions, citing relevant conversations they had been part of since the report’s publication.
Finally, a brief poll was launched to those in attendance to obtain some quickfire feedback about the usefulness of the report. The responses were unanimous in favour of a ‘useful’ verdict whilst also validating the necessity of the report itself, due to 100% of respondents agreeing that the report’s findings reflected their personal experiences.
For more information about the LESS COVID report and to access the full research findings, visit www.nationalcareforum.org.uk/less-covid