A care and culture consultancy group to the health and social care sector has issued support and advice on how the industry can maintain meaningful connections and wellbeing during these unprecedented times.
Meaningful Care Matters has offered essential advice to care environments across the UK, Canada, and Australia, that are dealing with the challenges of providing care during mass isolation in an attempt to protect residents from the coronavirus outbreak.
With the current pandemic affecting the health and social care sector globally, Meaningful Care Matters has outlined ways in which the care community can combat this difficult period of heightened infection control, social distancing, social shielding, and self-isolation with the following advice:
Keep Calm and Know Fact from Fiction – the prolific amount of information in the media can lead to panic and hysteria. There is a lot of misinformation that is being circulated, so go to reliable sources such as government websites to make sure you know the right information, to glean facts from fiction and follow the right advice.
Provide Emotional Support – don’t underestimate the resilience of people and the people we are privileged to care for – many have lived through wars, natural disasters and other epidemics before. In saying that, offering emotional support may make people feel worried or anxious, especially if they live with a dementia. Discuss news headlines openly and freely, alleviating any feelings of concern that may have arisen, but focus on the positives and root messages in kindness and what matters to the lived experience collectively, as well as individually.
Stay in Regular Contact – social distancing doesn’t mean we can’t talk to people regularly. We continue to discuss our day and reminisce on the moments that matter as well as creating new meaningful moments. We need to focus on the good, after all, there is goodness if we choose to see it and embrace it. Many older people are quite proficient in using tablets and smartphones. Videoconference applications such as WhatsApp, Zoom, and Skype can be very helpful. We live in a technological age, don’t assume that older people will not embrace this! Let’s send messages and photos via email, text messages, and video postings. Who knows, some people in care may even embrace the age of Twitter and Instagram.
Give Practical Support – make sure that people can get the necessary things they need. Let’s not just focus on the obvious like groceries and medications, but also look after the matters of the heart and create connections through emotional support. For community organisations, let’s be in this together! Join the many informal community support groups out there where we can shop for each other, drop off a meal, order a takeaway for a neighbour, or even pick some flowers to let others know they are thought of and are important.
Supporting those who Care for Others – Let’s care for the key workers, acknowledge their self-sacrifice and say thank you. Order coffees (where possible), send a takeaway pizza, or look for opportunities to send heart-warming, meaningful acknowledgment that matters. We will get through this and be much more connected if we do it together.
Get Creative – at a time where it may not be possible to go to places in person, get creative about how to support meaningful engagement and occupation. Encourage the sharing of creative ideas and remember to celebrate them in style and boast them loudly. Ultimately, try to normalise life in a situation that is anything but normal.
Peter Bewert, Managing Director of Meaningful Care Matters, said: “The current coronavirus pandemic is a matter of concern for everyone. We know that older people (over 70) are particularly at risk and have been advised by government and health officials to undertake social distancing, shielding and isolation measures to help reduce the transmission and impact of the virus.
“In the midst of this, it’s essential that we maintain meaningful connections, now more so than ever. Let’s continue the kindness, compassion and meaningful moments as we continue to do what we do best, care. We always have made moments matter and we will continue to create meaningful moments during these uncertain times.”