HARD-WORKING staff from the city council’s adult social care teams have been contacting thousands of people to offer support during the coronavirus lockdown.
As well as making sure that the 3,600 people who currently receive support at home are able to manage safely, social care staff have called more than 1,600 people known to be at very high risk to make sure they have access to food, medication and regular social contact.
The city council’s social care teams have also been helping carers, giving them advice on how to stay safe when providing care, how to get personal protective equipment (PPE) and making sure they know how to claim any additional benefits.
Special arrangements have been made to support people who cannot attend a day centre. More than 300 welfare calls have been made to the families of people with complex needs that usually attend the council’s Hastings Road Day Centre.
This is on top of the department’s regular work, which is continuing throughout the coronavirus crisis, and includes supporting nearly 1,000 people who live in residential care and helping nearly 500 people with a learning disability or mental health issue to live independently.
Support to help people home from hospital is available seven days a week, 12 hours a day. The council’s social care department also provides round-the-clock direct personal care to hundreds of people, using protective equipment.
In addition, the social care commissioning and contracts team has been offering support, guidance and emergency protective equipment to the many independent care homes and care companies that deliver these essential services.
Adult social care staff are taking on different jobs to ensure critical services can continue. Staff are running the new social care coronavirus helpline, capacity has been boosted in the LeicesterCare community pendant alarm centre and support offered to care homes in the city.
A recruitment campaign has been developed for more care workers; city council staff from other areas have been trained to provide extra caring support, and nearly 180 volunteers have been recruited and trained to help in care homes and with call handling, home care and driving.
Deputy city mayor Cllr Sarah Russell, who leads on social care, said: “I’m tremendously proud of the way our social care staff have responded to the coronavirus crisis, quietly and confidently getting on with their jobs. They’ve gone above and beyond to meet the challenges of this lockdown, while continuing their ‘business as usual’.
“As well as the extra support they are providing, they have ensured that crisis responses and safeguarding concerns raised about adults or children during the lockdown have been addressed promptly and rigorously. They know it’s crucial to provide support to our most vulnerable residents at this time, and they are absolutely committed to this goal - our door is open.
“I want to thank all of them for all they are doing. When I clap for carers on a Thursday night, as well as applauding the NHS, I am applauding them.”
Some people are particularly affected by the lockdown. Social worker Alison Earle, from the council’s adult mental health service, explained: “People with significant mental health issues are already socially isolated, often without contact with family or friends. The lockdown has heightened their sense of isolation.”
Colleague Sam MacDonald added: “Much of our work has been around providing emotional support and reassurance through telephone contact. The ability to reach out to someone, even by phone, has been received positively, with people reporting feeling less lonely and more hopeful about the future.”
Enablement officer Orla Murphy works with people who have mental health problems or learning difficulties. She said: “Guiding and supporting people through a difficult time has been rewarding, and makes me feel really proud of the work I do to improve people’s lives.”
If you or someone you know needs additional help because they’re worried about having enough food, they’re suffering financial hardship or they’re feeling lonely and isolated, contact the city council’s crisis support email address – C19support@leicester.gov.uk