The national ‘weekly clap’ for health and social workers has no doubt helped to boost levels of morale within the health and social care sector. However, workers and volunteers may need more practical help. This can be found in the numerous resources that have been produced to help workers and volunteers stay safe and well during the crisis. Many resources that are usually offered on a paid subscription basis are currently being offered free for a limited period. Now is therefore a good time to use these resources to boost your learning and self-development to learn how to stay safe and well. Listed below are some invaluable resources that are freely available for health and social care workers, volunteers and students:
For a basic introduction to coronavirus, Skills for Health offers a free introductory course which takes you through the origins of the virus and gives you basic information about the virus, infection management and different types of hygiene such as hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene.
For all the latest official news and updates about coronavirus, this Government website is a good place to start. Updates from the Government about the virus are regularly posted on this website in ‘press releases.’ Recent press releases include one about antibody tests for all NHS and care staff. There is a specific section on this website for coronavirus and it includes lots of guidance documents on specific topics such as ‘Advice for the social care workforce.’ This includes specific guidance on ‘mental wellbeing’ and lists ‘6 key steps to supporting your mental health.’ There’s also practical guidance at this site on topics such as how to get parking passes or concessions during the virus period.
The Social Care Institute for Excellence website provides a good range of Coranavirus related news, information and resources for the social care sector. This includes Government guidance but also some practical guidance such as a section on ‘Infection Control.’ In addition to practical tips, the guidance includes a video which demonstrates how you should wash your hands for effective infection control. The site also provides useful signposting to other resources such as a document entitled ‘Personal protective equipment (PPE) – resource for care workers delivering homecare (domiciliary care) during sustained COVID-19 transmission in England.’ This site also provides some useful e-learning courses such as ‘infection control and ‘dementia awareness’ both of which are free to registered ‘members.’ Registration is free.
If you’re after more clinical information about the virus, this link on the NHS website provides guidance on high risk factors for the virus, social distancing and guidance on how to stay safe and keep others safe if you live with someone who is at high risk.
To maintain your resilience throughout the crisis, visit this NHS site for practical ideas. This includes an ‘ABC guide’ of ideas for ‘maintaining and enhancing your personal resilience’ during the pandemic. The site also includes a useful ‘going home checklist that you can use at the end of a hard day at work
This is the site for Health Education England which contains useful learning resources for specific workers such as ‘Resources for health and social care support workers’. Access to many resources are currently free. However, if you want evidence of your learning for your CPD records then register (for free) on the site. At the site you’ll find learning sessions to help you deal with some of the more emotionally challenging situations that have arisen during the virus situation such as bereavement and end of life care. The ‘Emotional Support and Signposting’ session provides useful guidance, case studies as well as self-assessment exercises so that you can check your own understanding as you work through the session. Guidance to other sources of support such as the Child Bereavement Charity and the Counselling Directory are also included.
Taking care of your mental health during the pandemic is as important as looking after your physical health. For help to stay mentally fit and well, visit the site for the mental health charity, Mind. Here you will find practical advice on how to keep well if you have to stay home because of the virus and also information on ‘coping with going to work during coronavirus.’ Other topics covered include help to deal with ‘anxiety and panic attacks’, ‘bereavement and grief’ and ‘loneliness.’
Some children and young people are finding the social distancing from friends and school particularly difficult. At the NSPCC site, the dedicated section on coronavirus advice has some very useful advice on ‘taking care of children and young people’ during the crisis. It includes sections on how to talk to children who are worried about the virus such as how ‘talk about feelings and worries’, creating ‘structure and routine’ in the home and helping to give children ‘ a sense of control.’
Care Workforce app
The app offers ‘latest updates and advice’ signposting to other resources to help workers stay well and stay safe. For example, if you’re having trouble sleeping, the app signposts you to a ‘sleep improvement programme’ via Sleepio which is free for workers and volunteers in the care sector until December 2020. The app also offers the opportunity to interact with other users and share experiences and concerns. The app also gives you the opportunity to access ‘Discounts for Carers.’ You also have the option to sign up and can get discounts from popular retail stores.
If you prefer books but have a limited income, try audiobooks for free. At audible.co.uk you can ‘purchase’ an audio book for free for 1 credit during a 30-day trial. Just remember to cancel your membership before the end of the 30-day trial if you don’t want to pay a monthly fee of £7.99. Read terms and conditions carefully. Titles you might find useful are:
Mindfulness for Stress Management: A Beginners Guide to Expand Your Mind Power and Develop Mental Toughness. Kristin Plain. 2020. Audiobook length: 5hrs 1min. Published by Green Ivory Ltd. This book helps you to learn how to use mindfulness in different aspects of your life such as your relationships and stress management.
How to Stress Less in 2019 – Stress Management Techniques for Life. Robert Scott. 2019. Audiobook length: 3hrs 10mins. Published by Sandra Ramirez. If you struggle to manage stress at work or at home, this book can help you understand the nature of stress and learn techniques to manage it.
Master your Emotions. David Ford. Audiobook length 3hrs 38mins. 2020. Published by MP1 International Ltd. This book helps you to understand the nature of emotions and the impact they have on our lives. It also includes learning about ‘ways in which you can deal with people at the workplace.’
If you’re a student on the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Health & Social Care course you’ll find a chapter on ‘Infection prevention and control’ in the CACHE endorsed book ‘Extended Diploma in Health & Social Care.’ Linda Wyatt et al. 2020. Hodder Education.
Ruth McGuire is an Education Inspector with nearly 15 years of inspection experience. She has taught in both further and higher education. She is also a well-established education and training consultant, writer and freelance journalist. She is a Governor of an outstanding sixth form college and also holds board roles within the NHS.