The Covid-19 pandemic has been tough for many people and professionals. One area is those organisations working across the care sector and we would like to take #ThankYouDay (Sunday 4 July) as an opportunity to reflect on some of the great work that has taken place.
In Barnsley, the care sector is a vibrant place – made up of unpaid family carers, organisations such as home care services that help people to remain at home, shared lives carers, personal assistants, day services providers, and of course the many charitable organisations.
We are proud that we have all worked together as a community during this pandemic – supporting each other through these tough times.
As a council, we responded quickly to the challenges, providing financial support and ensuring access to PPE. We also created support networks across health and social care; places where care home managers could turn to for information, advice, and guidance as well as emotional support.
Feedback from one care provider said: “You have provided support, practical help and constant communication. The way you have supported services pay paying for voids has been very impressive and has provided a lifeline to colleagues who could have gone under.”
In amongst all of the challenges we have had we have been able to implement an increase in the care sector through weekly fees enabling the sector to implement a pay rise for care staff.
Barnsley was proud to be one of the first areas to reopen services such as day services for people with a learning disability, recognising how hard the pandemic has been felt by carers and keen to ensure people did not lose any skills and confidences around independent living.
We kept in touch with carer organisations supporting them with digital devices to ensure they could stay in touch and play their part. We also redeployed laptops into care homes to help families keep in touch and supported care home managers to respond to guidelines regarding visiting.
Our social workers continued to support people in the community and together across health and care, we created a safe means of discharging folk from hospital safely procuring additional beds to do so.
Our community and voluntary sector, through all their great support, helped to reach those that perhaps can be hidden from us – helping them with basic essentials such as access to food and medicines and just a friendly face – that made such a difference.
We’ve worked closely with leaders in the sector and healthcare colleagues to ensure that vaccinations were delivered as soon as possible alleviating any concerns as they were made known, so it’s great to say that to date 88 percent of care home staff have received their first dose of the Covid vaccination and 78 percent have received their second dose.
We continue to monitor vaccine uptake in a range of ways, with any services displaying lower take up offered targeted support to increase their numbers.
Wendy Lowder, Executive Director Adults and Communities, said: "It has been a tough time, but we are all very proud of the Barnsley Spirit – as a community we supported each other and will continue to do so as we recover from the pandemic and look to a brighter future."