A new report from the Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) Insight Group highlights how the first phase of the coronavirus pandemic affected people who use care and support services.
The group has brought together TLAP partners to build an understanding of the experience of COVID-19 on people accessing care and support, including unpaid family carers.
With a focus on personalisation, the aim was to identify what has worked well, and to highlight areas that people found difficult, both generally and in relation to their care and support.
The group found that people working in social care have done “their very best” to respond to the pandemic, but existing problems with social care, such as lack of investment, and practices that do not support personalisation, were exacerbated.
The experience of people accessing care and support (and unpaid family carers) was mixed. While some reported pro-active, flexible and personalised approaches to their care and support, others fared less well.
Unpaid family carers took on significant additional caring responsibilities, the report found, leading in many cases to increased stress, financial burden and risk of burn out.
Emily Holzhausen, director of Policy at Carers UK said “This important report shines a light on the huge pressures faced by carers and their families during the first phase of the pandemic where support structures fell away almost overnight. It also gives us the key ingredients to make a difference for people needing care and their families as we face winter with Covid-19 on our doorstep.”
The findings from the report and recommendations detail where and how care and support need to change to become more personalised and co-produced.
It shows there is a need develop an understanding of what government – local and national – and business, can and should do to create the conditions for community support to flourish and be sustained, so that everyone and every place is included. This means taking practical action to address care and health inequalities.
Clenton Farquharson, TLAP chair, said: “This report underlines the experience of people being a part of continual learning about COVID-19. We started with a lot of unknowns, which allows us to be ‘forgiving’ and generous about omissions, as long as they are not repeated as we move through the next difficult phase of the pandemic.”