UndersTanding the distinct challenges for Nurses in Care Homes: LeaRnIng from COVID-19 to support resiliencE and mental wellbeing (THRIVE)

Presenter: Diane Bunn (School of Health Sciences, University of East Anglia, UK)

Abstract for the International workshop on COVID-19 and Long-Term Care systems: What have we learnt and what policies do we need to strengthen LTC systems?, 6 and 7th December 2021

Abstract:

Context: Nurses practising in care homes are often the only trained nurse on shift, undertaking leadership roles while also supporting residents with complex clinical needs. 

Objectives: To explore Nursing and Midwifery Council-registered nurses’ experiences of working in older people’s care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to collaboratively develop theory-informed approaches for their ongoing and future support.

Methods: Interviews (completed) focusing on how COVID-19 impacted on nurses’ resilience and mental wellbeing. Workshops (in progress) to collaboratively develop theory-informed approaches for ongoing support. 

Results: 18 nurses were interviewed, March-July 2021. Preliminary findings indicate that nurses developed enhanced clinical skills which they found rewarding. Many nurses in leadership roles were responsible for assimilating and sharing rapidly-changing guidance, but this had to be balanced against their need to provide direct care due to staff shortages. All nurses provided emotional support to staff. They rarely accessed counselling services themselves, instead relying on support from other care-home nurses inside and outside their workplace. As leaders, many of the nurses spoke about the emotional impact of having to manage relatives’ expectations and make decisions on whether a relative could be with a dying resident.

Implications: Ongoing workshops are further exploring the potential personal and professional isolation of care-home nurses to co-develop guidance on types of support that might best increase resilience and wellbeing now and in the future.  Support for nurses will likely benefit other care workers either directly through wider roll-out, or indirectly through improved mental and physical health of the nurse leaders.  

Co-authors: Diane Bunn, Kathleen Lane, Linda Birt, Kristy Sanderson, Jason Corner, Andrea Deakins, Ellice Parkinson (School of Health Sciences, University of East Anglia)

For more information:

THRIVE: https://www.uea.ac.uk/about/school-of-health-sciences/research/projects/understanding-the-distinct-challenges-for-nurses-in-care-homes-learning-from-covid-19-to-support-resilience-and-mental-wellbeing

Funding for this study has been provided by the Burdett Trust for Nursing (https://www.btfn.org.uk/grant-programmes/)

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