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Post-pandemic changes that will remain
What will be the legacy of the pandemic for the social care sector and what changes will stay in place when the pandemic is finally contained?
In its role as a best practice leader, Quality Compliance Systems (QCS), a major provider of content, guidance and standards for the social care sector, sought the views of several of partners including the National Care Association (NCA), the National Care Forum (NCF) and the National Activity Provider’s Association (NAPA), plus Care England, not a partner of QCS, but a leading industry voice in the care sector.
One of the key sea changes of the pandemic has been the care sector’s willingness to embrace technology more than ever before. Daniel Casson, Care England’s Digital Transformation Advisor says that there are two key points that providers must consider when utilising technology.
“Technology must create value for the carer, the service user and organisation too. But, care providers must be aware that technology can only be implemented successfully if it is seen in the bigger picture of focusing care around the person. It should be deployed not purely to drive efficiency: ultimately, it must contribute towards ensuring that the person being supported can enjoy a better quality of life. So, the question care providers should always ask is, ‘how is the service going to use the time saved to provide even better care?’” (see the full interview with Daniel Casson here)
Liz Jones, the NCF’s Policy Director says that while the social care sector has consistently worked hard to deliver the best possible IPC measures, it will need to demonstrate “the same nimble and responsive spirit displayed in the pandemic” to counter new IPC challenges.
She explains, “One of the biggest longer-term changes that I can see is likely to revolve around the future design of care settings. COVID-19 will make us re-evaluate the importance of outdoor space, the need for state-of-the-art ventilation systems and the benefits of the smaller ‘household’ model. And, alongside this, consideration about future-proofing other aspects of design for residential care settings.” (See the full interview with Liz Jones here)
But what about the people who work in the care sector? Hilary Woodhead, the Executive Director of NAPA believes that the crisis has really highlighted the value of activity providers/coordinators.
She says, “Resourceful, resolute and brimming with ideas, they were a one-stop-shop for activity provision. They kept service users connected and engaged, raised morale and embraced technology and they shared their ideas with other care homes… Looking to the future, the hope is that the sector, having witnessed the invaluable work that activity providers do, will professionalise the role.” (See the full interview with Hilary Woodhead here)
Viewing the sector through an even wider lens, Nadra Ahmed OBE, the Chair of the NCA thinks that there has been a radical change in perception as to how the public now understands the social care sector.
She explains, “People have experienced the enormous gap in resources between the health sector and the social care sector… As a nation, we have a unique opportunity to effect lasting and potentially transformational change. We must take it… The option to do nothing would be a failure to ensure quality social care provision for future generations.” (See the full interview with Nadra Ahmed here)
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