NDHC’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic
Introduction of Covid-19 Officers with Specialised Training
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, NDHC’s Health and Safety Advisory team completed specialised training to become designated Covid-19 Compliance Officers within our organisation. The Covid-19 Compliance Officers are responsible for implementing required protection and mitigation measures to ensure the safety of all staff.
The Health and Safety Advisory Team includes the following members:
- Debbie Rooney, CEO
- Lisa Murphy, Service Manager
- Debbie O’Shea, Quality Lead/ Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Officer
- Miriame Belusi, HR Officer
- Caroline McCann, Service User Care Manager
The Health and Safety Advisory team is the first point of contact for all information relating to suspect cases amongst service users or staff. This designated team monitor all suspected, confirmed, or close contact cases of Covid-19 related to the organisation. Each member of the Health and Safety Advisory Team has a pre-defined role and set of responsibilities. The responsibilities of the Covid-19 Compliance Officers are time-sensitive and clear protocols have been established within our organisation for all Covid-19-related cases. The formation of a Health and Advisory Team and the implementation of clear processes has successfully minimised the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our services.
NDHC is dedicated to protecting the safety, health, and wellbeing of our staff and service users throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. In line with government regulations and guidance, the protective measures implemented by our Health and Safety Advisory team are evident throughout the office and within the community. Perspex screens were installed at reception; this acts as a protective barrier between staff and visitors. Face masks are mandatory within the office building and hand sanitiser is provided at all entry and exit points. We have implemented daily cleaning schedules with designated office staff disinfecting all handles, light switches, and other frequently touched surfaces every hour. Importantly, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is continuously provided to all staff which includes face masks, gloves, aprons, and goggles.
NDHC understands the importance of reducing face-to-face contact in mitigating the impact of Covid-19. In-person meetings have been replaced, where possible, by video conferencing calls and the sharing of physical documents has been reduced by the implementation of upgraded IT systems. Additionally, NDHC has adapted to working from home practices where possible, with administrative staff split between office-based and working from home teams each week. While the way we work may have adapted throughout the pandemic e.g., all staff have access to the specific equipment and technology if required to work from home, ensuring that our commitment to delivering high quality care remains unchanged.
Recognising NDHC Home Support Workers’ Dedication to Service
NDHC has long championed the important role of Home Support Workers in supporting individuals to remain living independently within the community. The unwavering dedication of Home Support Workers to the individuals they provide care for became increasingly apparent throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. The demands placed on Home Support Workers have never been greater than in the last year. Throughout the initial stages of the pandemic, when fears and uncertainty reached an all-time high, our dedicated staff continued to provide essential services in the community, without hesitation. NDHC wished to acknowledge the immeasurable contribution and resilience of our staff throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. All staff who displayed dedication to their role were presented with certificates for outstanding contribution to service, commemoratory pins, and a bouquet of flowers. These tokens of appreciation aimed to acknowledge the increased efforts from all in providing person-centred care, in often challenging and uncertain times. NDHC feels privileged to work with such committed professionals who in our opinion, are the unsung heroes of the pandemic.
Learning from the pandemic
These uncertain and challenging times may have adapted the way we work, but not the quality of care we deliver. NDHC has invested in research, which captures the voice of service users to ensure our services continue to be led by the needs of the community. During the initial waves of the pandemic, we conducted telephone interviews with older adults in receipt of our care. This was to monitor any reported declines in physical function or quality of life. Secondly, we conducted surveys with our home support workers, to gather their suggestions on how best to deliver physical activity prompts while maintaining a social distance. Finally, as we begin to emerge from the pandemic, NDHC supported research examining the overall health status, specifically muscle strength, among our service users. The findings from this research will inform the delivery of our care and the development of proactive multimodal community interventions that support ageing at home.