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Care and rehab group calls for change in perceptions of social care sector during pandemic

May 12, 2020

A Cambridgeshire care community is calling for a change in perception of the social care sector, saying it is concerned about the narrative amidst the Covid-19 pandemic which, it says, fails to do justice to the variety of care encompassed by the industry.

Askham Village Community, a specialist rehabilitation and care group near Doddington, has called for more nuanced messaging around social care, with much of the reporting around the care industry’s experience of the pandemic failing to convey the diversity within the sector or to accurately reflect the degree to which it is coping.

Askham hopes that a fairer reflection of social care will reassure residents and their family members and staff that there are positive stories and there are some real successes to celebrate.

Aliyyah Begum-Nasser, operations director at Askham Village Community, said that although there were people living and working in care homes who had suffered from Covid-19, there were many, many more who continued to enjoy peaceful, comfortable times – owing in no small part to the staff working in social care.

“Much of the generic messaging however, presents care homes as places of risk, depicting them as under resourced, with residents consequently under protected,” said Ms Begum-Nasser.

“The sector is full of people who are doing their very best in the face of enormous challenge. Some have been struggling and these are the ones who, understandably, are making the headlines. However, there are many people in care homes who are continuing to live happy, fruitful, positive lives, supported by staff who care for them and who are keeping them safe. We fear though that this aspect is being lost within the wider messaging.”

Ms Begum-Nasser said that, at present, the biggest challenge care homes face was keeping staff motivated and supported to stay rational, to continue to come to work, to feel valued, and to feel protected.

“If we do this right – the rest will fall into place,” she said. “It’s fantastic to see carers included in the weekly round of applause and to see social care put on a par with health care, however some of the messaging serves to undermine this positivity, which then runs the risk of care staff feeling hopeless, emotional, undervalued and unsafe.

“Of course, PPE is rightly in the spotlight and does play a huge part in reducing the threat of Covid-19, however we all have a part to play in overturning the prevalent view that care homes are places that are high risk and unsafe. My experience of the sector, not just at Askham but beyond, is that they’re places of happiness and comfort. By pulling together and recognising this, we can help our social care superheroes to keep it that way.”

A family-run business for over 30 years, Askham Village Community provides specialist nursing and care for the very young to the elderly, offering day visits, respite or long-term care, goal-focussed rehabilitation, and continuing reablement support.

Aliyyah Begum-Nasser

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