Research project investigating Covid-19’s impact upon care home staff

Investigating the impact of care home staff during Covid-19

With Covid-19 continuing to have a devastating impact upon care homes across the UK, new research aims to shed light on the pandemic’s emotional, mental and professional impact on staff members. 

Exploring the impacts 

Though Covid-19 has affected every sector, its impact upon social care has been strongly felt – 17,422 care home residents died from Covid-19 from February 2020 to June of the same year.

These high numbers has been attributed to the slow response to the risk and reality of the pandemic in care homes, as well as underfunding and under-resourcing of the social care sector.

While work is being conducted to identify the lessons learnt from the beginning of the pandemic, the impact of Covid-19 and the resultant deaths upon care home staff has yet to be fully explored. 

Emotional and professional challenges

Professor Joanne Brooke and postgraduate researcher Sandra Dunford are conducting a project to assess how Covid-19 has impacted care home staff.

This includes how it has affected them emotionally, as well as how it has changed their practice and responsibilities.

Joanne is already conducting another research project on Covid-19, investigating how social distancing has affected the elderly, and hopes that this new research will make a positive difference.

“I have worked clinically within care homes, and understand the importance of family members and engagement with local communities to ensure residents remain connected to society,” Joanne explains.

“However, with the unprecedented restrictions due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, care home staff have been providing both care and social support for residents, as well as communicating with their resident’s families.

“There remains a need to understand how these changes have impacted on staff, especially with the high mortality rate in care homes.”

A three-phase approach

The research is set to be delivered in three phases.

Phase one will involve in-depth interviews with care home staff to gain an understanding of both the positives and negatives of providing care for residents.

These questions will enquire about an average workday prior to the pandemic, how Covid-19 changed the way they work and how it has impacted them as an individual.

Phase two will build upon that and garner an understanding of the impact of changes to clinical practice, while the third and final phase will seek to develop an intervention to support care home staff both emotionally and with their daily practice.