UNDER pressure care homes in Wigan Borough are being offered training in end of life care during the coronavirus crisis from Wigan and Leigh Hospice.
The charity is offering training free of charge to all 22 nursing homes and 31 residential care homes in the Borough to help them deal with the challenges of the outbreak.
Support is also being offered to Atherleigh Park mental health unit in Leigh – which will soon have a dedicated COVID-19 unit – to train up their nurses in the key elements of good end of life care.
Debbie Jones, Hospice in your Care Home manager for the hospice, said: “Care homes are under incredible pressure at the moment as they battle to keep their residents safe and care for those who either have confirmed COVID-19 or are displaying symptoms, so have to be isolated.
“Combined with that, some homes have new staff who may not be used to caring for dying residents, and are dealing with staff shortages caused by sickness or the need to self-isolate.
“The training we usually offer in end of life care has been adapted to the specific practical issues facing care homes during the coronavirus crisis, such as identifying the symptoms of COVID-19, managing respiratory problems and promoting spiritual needs.
“It’s early days but the feedback I am getting so far is that the homes appreciate that they haven’t been forgotten and the reassurance offered by the training – especially in practical subjects such as care after death and discussing patient wishes for end of life – has been well received.”
Weekly online meetings are being held with the care home managers or senior staff and video training sessions are held twice-weekly on topics including symptoms at the end of life, dignity in death, caring for the staff’s own wellbeing and comfort rounds (in which residents’ comfort is regularly checked on throughout the day).
The Hospice in your Care Home Team has been increasing the number of homes it offers support to over the last 4 years, however during the current pandemic they will be offering access to these training sessions to all care homes in the Borough.
Jar-Jireh Care Home
Tracey Gandesha, Care Manager at Jar-Jireh on Springfield Road, Wigan, said: “We at Jah-Jireh have all been so moved by the training we have received from this dedicated team. Being trained by those that are so compassionate and dedicated, has motivated my staff to want to bring these new skills into our work place. Their knowledge is not just in their heads but it’s rooted in their hearts and that’s why we have all felt so moved.
“My staff are enjoying this training so much that they are joining in in their own time. One staff member said Tuesdays and Thursdays have become her favourite days of the week because of being able to join in this training. Families have loved the comfort round we have introduced for residents at end of life and we now put a poster on doors when a resident is at end of life, ensuring a peaceful environment for them and their families.
“Most of our 47 residents want to be with us when they are at the end of life and the training and support we receive from the hospice has given us all the confidence to care for our family at Jah-Jireh. Staff have understood the importance of helping residents to plan for their future care and I feel that many of our staff are capable of helping those in our care to complete this with the right approach, with empathy and dignity.”
In the coming weeks, Hospice in your Care Home team are planning to extend their programme of education, to offer more frequent training, and will work closely with Wigan Council and Clinical Commissioning Group to identify any ongoing learning and support needs.