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Keeping connected: open and transparent communications in the time of Covid-19

2 June, 2020

A statement jointly released by the Relatives & Residents Association and the National Care Forum sets out shared expectations and good practice relating to the importance of clear, open, transparent and regular communications during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Vic Rayner, executive director of the NCF, which represents not-for-profit providers, said the pandemic had created huge challenges for the people who live in care homes, their friends and families and care providers.

“Given all the uncertainty and anxiety that we are all facing, it is more important than ever that there is a culture of clear, open, transparent and regular communications during the Covid-19 crisis between care providers and the families of their residents,” said Ms Rayner.

“We know that regular, clear, open communications between care providers and the families of their residents are always immensely important and in the new COVID-19 world, they are even more critical.”

Relatives & Residents Association director Helen Wildbore said it was clear from calls to the association’s helpline that this was a distressing and agonising time for older people using care services, for their families and friends, and for staff.

“Our helpline is hearing from callers concerned about the wellbeing of their relatives in care, and for families who are not receiving information and updates from their relative’s care home,” said Ms Wildbore.

“This can compound their anxiety. We know that care staff are working incredibly hard under extremely challenging circumstances, and that the lack of adequate testing is making this rapidly changing situation all the more difficult to manage. Keeping residents and their families updated on the situation in the home and steps taken to manage the virus will ensure an information gap doesn’t create unnecessary fear or anxiety. Open and honest flows of communication are central to good care. At a time of such uncertainty for those in care and their family, they are all the more critical.”

The joint statement, which can be read here, has been endorsed by the Care Provider Alliance, the Care Quality Commission and Skills for Care. It sets out shared expectations and good practice relating to the importance of clear, open, transparent and regular communications during the Covid-19 pandemic between care providers and the families of their residents.

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