Care workers throughout Halton have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic looking after residents in care homes and in their own homes.
Council social care staff and those employed by private care agencies are at the forefront of the fight against the virus. They play a vital role in supporting communities and have continued to work to the highest standards to protect vulnerable people despite the restrictions in place.
In Halton there are around 1,500 people who work in the care industry. They support around 600 of care home residents, and hundreds more receive domiciliary care (in their own homes) and care in supported tenancies.
During the pandemic staff and care providers have been supported by the Council working in partnership with the local NHS through the use of technology and with access to wellbeing resources. Priority testing was quickly put in place for social care staff and people living in care homes.
Care homes have enthusiastically taken on board the use of technology to help residents stay in contact with their families, with ipads being used for online chats. This has been welcomed by residents and families, as well as the regular 'window visits' that take place – one home even enabled a couple celebrating their Diamond Wedding Anniversary to raise a glass through the window!
In addition, NHS Halton Clinical Commissioning Group has provided all care homes with an additional laptop to support video consultations with GPs as well as medical equipment such as thermometers and pulse oximeters.
Each care home has also been set up an NHS email account so medical information can be shared securely with health professionals and additional face to face training has been provided by the NHS in areas such as infection, prevention and control, the correct use of personal, protective equipment and swabbing.
A mental health and wellbeing resource pack was also provided to support staff, residents and their families facing a difficult, challenging and emotional time. As well as mental health support, the pack, which is regularly updated, also contains information on staff resilience, suicide prevention and bereavement support.
At Easter, the Council's Adult Social Care department showed their appreciation by giving every care home resident and staff member an Easter egg, delivered by the Council's transport team.
Cllr Tom McInerney, the Council's Executive Board Member for Social Care, pays tribute to the borough's unsung heroes for their commitment and dedication during these unprecedented times.
"My heartfelt thanks got out to all the borough's care workers whose dedication and commitment to protecting the people they look after is incredible, and in this crisis this is more evident than ever.
"We are all looking forward to the day when this crisis is over but, in the meantime, we are reassured by the tremendous efforts of those who are charged with keeping some of our most vulnerable residents safe and well.
"Our vulnerable people receiving care either at home or in care homes can be reassured that even in these most trying of circumstances, care workers are continuing to provide a compassionate and professional service to those they look after. They often go above and beyond the call of duty and deserve our thanks and support."
Michelle Creed, Chief Nurse for NHS Halton Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group said:
"We would like to say thank you to all staff working in the care sector for all that they are doing. The incredible commitment and compassion they have shown to their residents under difficult circumstances has been inspirational. In the NHS, we have worked incredibly hard to support them along with our colleagues in the local authority and we will continue this support for as long as is needed."