The COVID-19 pandemic meant the world had to shift to new ways of working overnight to protect society’s most vulnerable people. Those in front-line roles have always had to balance their responsibilities alongside those of the people in their care, and the pandemic added a greater level of responsibility and pressure.
Our workshop was designed specifically for those working in caring professions – police, emergency response, care homes, hospitals – and provided the opportunity for professionals to come together, reflect on their experiences, and learn adaptive tools to support their wellbeing in the future.
Gwent Regional Partnership Board was one client who recognised that care home managers across their regions were feeling the impact of the pandemic long after it stopped being daily news and national lockdowns had lifted – staff were tired; the virus was still a threat to those in their care; support staff vacancies were harder to fill increasing pressure on the rest of the team.
The Gwent Regional Partnership Board was established in 2016 as part of the Social Services and Well Being Act (Wales) to help improve how health and care services are delivered. This includes supporting the wider wellbeing and resilience of the social care workforce in Gwent. The Gwent Regional Partnership Board recognises that a resilient and healthy social care workforce leads to better outcomes for our citizens who require care and support.
We were asked to deliver a workshop that enabled GRP’s care home managers to recognise and respond to the wellbeing issues experienced within their workplaces. Alongside the priority of managing wellbeing, there are other challenges, including staffing and budgetary restrictions, which meant teams were becoming disengaged.
Building on previous workshops we have delivered for the teams, which focused on boosting resilience, managing personal wellbeing and reflective networking, we designed a workshop to fit their requirements with tools they could take back to their teams.
We recognise that the pandemic has created spikes in anxiety, mental health issues, and physical and emotional fatigue, across the world. This has been particularly prevalent within the caring professions. It is not unusual that people in caring roles find themselves ‘running on empty’ and emotionally drained. They may fall victim to burnout, compassion fatigue, or simply find it difficult to switch off when they get home.
Our one-day workshop was designed to:
- Introduce participants to the concepts of compassion fatigue, secondary trauma, and burnout.
- Explore the contributing factors that can leave people feeling vulnerable
- Help participants develop an early warning system to identify and address signs of compassion fatigue before they ‘go into the red’.
- Explore the importance of healthy transitions from work to home.
- Help participants reconnect with the why and the rewards of their work.
The Head of Service from each local authority joined to thank the attendees for their work and to recognise the sacrifices that had been made through the pandemic. They stayed to hear feedback from participants on what can be done to support their teams going forward
We delivered a series of in-person workshops in which over 50 private care homes and local authority managers from across the region attended.
Our facilitator is experienced in creating the conditions to ensure participants felt comfortable sharing their experiences and contributing during discussions:
“The trainer was very personable, friendly and engaging and made everyone feel at ease helping us to open up and confront challenging issues”
“Excellent course and amazing facilitator who took the time to engage with everyone”
One of our aims in bringing people together was to boost the network across the region and to learn from each other:
“Speaking to professionals from other disciplines was also valuable to help to understand the pressures we’re all under as a workforce and helped us understand each other’s pressures and responsibilities”
We have since delivered the workshop virtually and in-person as a half-day and full-day session with other local authorities, police forces and emergency response teams.
“The session was excellent. I’ve recommended it to my colleagues”.
“It was a very involving, engaging training….. active encouragement was required throughout which helped to keep me engaged”
“Our care home, domiciliary care managers and responsible individuals were at the forefront of supporting and caring for our older and most vulnerable citizens throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. They did a wonderful job despite the unprecedented challenges they faced. However, protecting residents, adjusting to changes in government guidance whilst managing the expectations of families and supporting their staff teams had a significant impact on their wellbeing.
The Compassion Fatigue and Secondary Trauma workshop provided the opportunity for managers and R.I.’s to reflect on the challenges they faced during the pandemic and develop strategies to aid wellbeing and build resilience. The workshop also provided the opportunity for attendees to reconnect with the rewards of their work and the positive difference they make to the lives of those they support. The workshop was very well received by all who attended”.
Chris Hooper, Gwent Regional Partnership Team