Significant positive impact by Western Trust’s Care Home Support team16/04/2021
The Care Home Support Team model was developed as a PHA regional transformation initiative, and commenced in the WHSCT late 2019.
This a small nursing team that support Independent Care Homes in the Western Trust area through provision of education/training/advise/guidance. Their key goals are to enhance End of Life care, prevention of avoidable hospital admissions and to improve care for residents through a tailored education program.
Following the COVID-19 Pandemic emerging in March 2020, a new support model for Care homes was developed rapidly. The Care Home Support Team quickly adapted and changed their roles, they became the Single Point of Contact for all Care Homes and moved from Monday to Friday working to seven day cover. This included coordination and provision of PPE, Infection prevention and control advice, management of an outbreak, workforce monitoring/Staffing support, rollout of Covid Testing –National Testing Initiative & Outbreak testing, and provision of additional clinical equipment. They were central to the care home vaccination program for both care home residents and staff.
In addition to all this they have built strong relationships with the care home managers and staff, they provide peer support, guidance and when needed emotional support and friendship.
Paula Devine, Community Locality Service Manager, has been to the fore in leading the Care home Support team response.
“It took a huge effort by everyone and it was very stressful and overwhelming at times. I was so impressed with the willingness of staff in particular in the Care Home support model to do whatever was needed to keep everyone safe. They all worked together and supported each other. This was successful because of good communication and strong working relationships and support from the whole organisation. I am very proud of what we have all achieved, they are all my WTHeroes!”
The team continue to work very closely with the care homes and plan to build on this to maintain strong relationships and partnership working with continued regular engagement.
The team now have an enhanced insight into the challenges within the Independent Sector and this experience has highlighted the importance of their input and the need for dedicated resources to continue this support and develop the training/education and monitoring schedule.
Meet the Care home Support Team:
“My name is Paula Devine, prior to Covid 19 I was a Locality Service Manager in the community. In response to the pandemic a dedicated support model for Care Homes was needed, and I was asked to lead and develop a response service for the Western Trust (WHSCT) area. This was fast paced and challenging due to the rapidly changing picture, we had a limited number of staff who had to very quickly adjust and change their roles and adapt to new ways of working. We were all challenged with these pressures alongside personal fears and anxieties. It took a huge effort by everyone and it was very stressful and overwhelming at times. I was so impressed with the willingness of staff in particular in the Care Home support model to do whatever was needed to keep everyone safe. They all worked together and supported each other, this was successful because of good communication and strong working relationships and support from the whole organisation. I am very proud of what we have all achieved, they are all my WTHeroes! #InThisTogether”
“My name is Pamela Monaghan I commenced my post as Clinical Nurse Advisor in September 2019 to provide training and support to Care Homes. Throughout Covid this role has adapted and reached into various areas of need within the Care Homes as they arose. My main link through the pandemic has been with Care Homes in the Northern sector providing a wide range of support as needed which sometimes was just a listening ear at times were some had felt that they didn’t know where else to turn. I feel I have been on the Covid journey with many staff and developed friendships which may not have been formed otherwise.”
Claire Ann Jardine
“My name is Claire Ann Jardine I recently took up the post as Clinical Nurse Advisor with the Care Home Support Team. I joined the team during the commencement of the Covid vaccination programme. My current role is supporting Care Homes in the Fermanagh Area in which I have quickly formed good working relationships. I have been able to offer continuing support and advice in these difficult changing times.”
“My name is Helen Mc Connell, I am the Care Home Support Team Manager, when the covid pandemic started my role changed dramatically, at each stage of the pandemic brought a new challenge eg PPE, the provision of swab kits, Testing, Staffing, IPC training links, involvement in vaccination rollout. The main challenge was when care homes went into outbreak, the fact the care home had someone there who they could speak to and get support I know meant a lot to them, as they often mentioned this. This was very emotional at times as I really felt for residents, their families and the staff during what was a hugely challenging time. This close involvement with the care homes has strengthen the relationship we have with our care home colleagues, which is so important as we all look to the future.”
“My name is Siobhan Devine I am the Admin support for the Care Home Support Team. My role has diversified since the start of the pandemic. I have found myself with many roles in particular assisting with unavoidable staffing shortfalls. Fortunately, our team were able to help assist them with as much staff as we could source and sometimes just a shoulder to lean on when they needed it the most. Although I have felt, the pressures as everyone throughout the pandemic I feel it has brought our team closer together and I have so much admiration for each one of them as they have all went over and beyond their roles to support the Care Homes. I feel I have adapted well with any challenges that has arisen within my role during this time and I welcome the opportunity to continue to be a part of such a valuable team within the Western Trust.”