PTSD training for Hertfordshire's care home sector in wake of Covid-19 pandemic

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Staff are now to be offered training to spot the signs of PTSD

Care homes in Hertfordshire are to be offered training in ‘post-traumatic stress disorder’ (PTSD), as staff come to terms with their experience of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over the past four months, staff across the care sector have taken extraordinary steps to care for the frail and the elderly – often in distressing circumstances.

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They have had to take on additional duties – often in PPE – as residents suffered with the cruellest symptoms of the virus.

Coronavirus stock imageCoronavirus stock image
Coronavirus stock image

And in some cases they have comforted anxious residents, who were no longer allowed visits from their families to prevent the spread of the virus.

Some have themselves suffered with symptoms of the virus, in some cases as a direct result of their work.

In recognition of the immense strain that has been put on the sector during those months, staff are now to be offered training to spot the signs of PTSD.

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The move emerged at a meeting of Hertfordshire County Council’s joint overview scrutiny and health scrutiny committee on Thursday (July 16).

And following the meeting the council’s executive member of public health and prevention Cllr Tim Hutchings said: “Clearly care home staff have had a difficult job over the pandemic – there’s no question abut that. And that will have affected people in different ways.

“And this is part of an ongoing effort to make sure we can do whatever we can to make their lives as easy as possible.”

Recognising the ’emotionally challenging’ nature of the work and the ‘highly stressful situation’, Cllr Hutchings said it would have an impact.

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“We do recognise that it does have an impact – and some people need help,” he said.

“Like any mental health condition, they need to understand that they need help – and have the right to ask for that help. Hopefully this will reinforce that message”

As part of the online training, a series of seven sessions will address stress and resilience and the prevention of PTSD amongst care home workers.

It will be largely delivered by the Hertfordshire Care Providers Association and director of public health Jim McManus.

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And it will be designed to create a network of resilience and well-being champions in care homes who can work with others.

These resilience coaches will be able to then deliver one-on-one coaching sessions and to to work with staff to create ‘well-being action plans’.

But they will listen and signpost to other services, rather than give advice.

Commenting on the provision, a spokesperson for the Hertfordshire Care Providers Association said: “HCPA are delighted to be working in partnership with Public Health Hertfordshire to give a much needed self-help service to our sector.”

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