Support for Local Care Homes and NHS Staff

A wide range of actions have been taken to support the safety and wellbeing of care home residents and staff across Forth Valley during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cathie Cowan, Chief Executive of NHS Forth Valley acknowledged the excellent partnership working, led by the two Health and Social Care Partnerships and supported by the NHS Board, at a recent Board meeting which took place by teleconference.

NHS Forth Valley has carried out an initial assessment all 66 care homes in the area to ensure local staff are aware of infection control procedures and the safe use of PPE. A daily care home meeting, chaired by Jennifer Champion, NHS Forth Valley Consultant in Public Health Medicine is now taking place to identify and address any emerging issues or concerns. A multi-disciplinary Outbreak Mobilisation Team has also been established to respond to and manage any future outbreaks of Covid-19 in local care homes. Dedicated mobile testing teams have been established so that appropriate infection control and isolation measures can quickly be put in place for any care home staff or residents with positive test results. Local care staff have access to nursing, medical and pharmacy support as well as ongoing public health advice to help prevent the spread of infection. The two Health and Social Care Partnerships in Forth Valley are also working closely with NHS Forth Valley to support local care home staff and ensure they continue to receive regular supplies of PPE from local hubs.

NHS Forth Valley Board members were updated on the work underway to support local care homes at a recent meeting, which took place by teleconference. Commenting on the progress which had been made, Janie McCusker, Chair of NHS Forth Valley, said: “I have been impressed by the level of partnership working which has taken place over the last few weeks to support local care home staff and ensure they are able to safely care for residents during this pandemic.

“We will continue to work with partners to closely monitor the situation to ensure we are ready to respond to any emerging issues or concerns. I’d also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to local care home staff who are working tirelessly to provide high quality care in very difficult circumstances.”

Board members also heard about work underway to support the health and wellbeing of local staff across NHS Forth Valley. A tailored programme of services and support has been developed including psychological support, coaching, telephone and peer support. Local staff also have access to wide range of practical advice, information and resources to support their mental health and wellbeing.

Robert Clark, NHS Forth Valley’s Employee Director, said “While it’s vital that we maintain urgent and essential health services for local patients we also need to ensure we look after the health and wellbeing of our staff.

“I’m pleased that local staff not only have access to a wide range of internal services but can also access support and advice from Trade Unions and Professional Bodies. I’d encourage all staff to make use of the wide range of services and support available and make time to ensure they look after themselves and their colleagues during this challenging time.”