We hear from an adult social care inspector about one of their Emergency Support Framework conversations.
You can find out more about our new monitoring tool the Emergency Support Framework (ESF ) on our website.
The Emergency Support Framework (ESF) call that sticks out for me? Well it involves glitter, it will all make sense soon I promise.
The call was with a residential care home without nursing supporting people living with a learning disability or dementia. The residents have lived there for most of their adult lives and are so happy and content. The problem staff faced when the pandemic started was how do you help residents understand COVID-19 and the changes it is going to make to their everyday lives? These residents are vulnerable, and their world has been turned upside down overnight. The home knew a one-size-fits-all approach would never work, especially now, and that true person-centred care would be essential to keep people happy and safe.
My first questions were ‘how are you supporting people who use the service to understand what’s going on? How are you supporting people to do infection control?’ I did not expect the answer I got! The home had been supporting people to do hand washing exercises by adding glitter to the water to represent germs. They then supported people to wash their hands with and without soap. Without soap the glitter sticks to your hands, with soap it all comes off — meaning the germs had gone! People loved doing this and it has become a daily occurrence, with residents even asking to do it for fun.
People had been supported to make and decorate hand shapes which have been put up and down the corridors at the service. Every two metres one hand has a piece of coloured cotton wool put on it to represent the germ. This use of visual aids has helped people keep to social distancing guidelines in a safe and engaging way.
The home is a family and the residents love to shake hands, so they have been taught about the ‘two metre’ elbow bump (exactly what it sounds like!) to help ease anxiety and retain the closeness to staff in a safe manner.
One resident liked to visit a day service and do activities there. The service was no longer operational but rather than let that fall away the manager talked to them and asked, ‘what can we do to help you?’ The solution not only helped that person but the residents too. They made a weekly timetable to accommodate all the activities of the day centre which staff supported. Some of the quieter residents even got involved and it has made a massive difference to emotional and mental wellbeing.
Of course, some residents still wanted to go out but rather than deny this they worked with them to come to an agreement and understanding. Staff accompanied them and demonstrated how to stay safe by using hand gel, staying 2m apart and avoiding busy places. The impact has been incredible and has maintained their freedom.
I have found because the ESF is not an inspection and a report is not produced, providers are comfortable to discuss their challenges with the knowledge that the summary created is for their own records.
For me this example shines a light on just some of the good work that is happening in homes right across our country. Our social care workforce is dedicated to keeping people they care for safe and for that I sincerely thank you.