A new report from the Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) Insight Group highlights how the first phase of the coronavirus pandemic affected people who use care and support services.
The Insight Group brought together TLAP partners and allies to build an understanding of the impact and experiences of COVID-19 on people accessing care and support (including unpaid family carers). With a focus on personalisation, the aim was to identify what worked well and to highlight areas that people found difficult, both generally and in relation to their care and support.
The report is based on a rapid evidence review, collecting and collating a large amount of research, data and intelligence, contributed by TLAP partners and other organisations. This collaborative approach has seen organisations willing to share what they know for a common purpose.
The TLAP Insight Group report found that people working in social care have done their very best to respond to the pandemic. However, existing problems with social care, such as lack of investment, and practices that do not support personalisation, were exacerbated.
The experiences of people accessing care and support (and unpaid family carers) was mixed. While some reported proactive, flexible and personalised approaches to their care and support, others fared less well. Unpaid family carers took on significant additional caring responsibilities, leading in many cases to increased stress, financial burden and risk of burn out. Families with a relative living in a care home experienced loss of contact and fears for their loved one’s safety.
Emily Holzhausen, Director of Policy, Carers UK said, 'This important report shines a light on the huge pressures faced by carers and their families during the first phase of the pandemic where support structures fell away almost overnight. It also gives us the key ingredients to make a difference for people needing care and their families as we face winter with COVID-19 on our doorstep.'
The findings from the rapid evidence review and recommendations detail where and how care and support need to change to become more personalised and co-produced.
There is a need develop an understanding of what government (local and national), and business, can and should do to create the conditions for community support to flourish and be sustained, so that everyone and every place is included. This means taking practical action to address care and health inequalities.
Clenton Farquharson, TLAP's Chair said, 'This report underlines the experience of people being a part of continual learning about COVID-19. We started with a lot of unknowns, which allows us to be ‘forgiving’ and generous about omissions, as long as they are not repeated as we move through the next difficult phase of the pandemic.'