A Telling Experience - report from TLAP Insight Group

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 “This was undoubtedly an anxious – if not frightening – time for everybody, but it specifically impacted upon those who accessed care and support and the people who provided the care”.

A new report from the TLAP Insight Group highlights how the first phase of the coronavirus pandemic affected people who use care and support services. 

The group, known as TIG, has brought together TLAP partners and allies to build an understanding of the experience of Covid-19 on people accessing care and support (including unpaid family carers), looked at through the lens of personalisation. The aim was to identify what has worked well, and to highlight areas that people found difficult, both generally and in relation to their care and support.

The report is based on a rapid evidence review, collecting and collating a large amount of research, data and intelligence, contributed by TLAP partners and other organisations. This collaborative approach has seen organisations willing to share what they know for a common purpose.

The TLAP group was initially established with the aim of investigating the impact on people in Care Act Easement areas. It was not possible to build a comprehensive picture of Care Act Easement activity and its impact through this review. The scope was therefore extended to include the wider impact on people accessing care and support and unpaid carers across all council areas.  

Key findings

People working in social care have done their very best to respond to the pandemic. Existing problems with social care, such as lack of investment, and practices that do not support personalisation, were exacerbated.

The experience of people accessing care and support (and unpaid family carers) was mixed. While some reported pro-active, flexible and personalised approaches to their care and support, others fared less well. Unpaid family carers took on significant additional caring responsibilities, leading in many cases to increased stress, financial burden and risk of burn out. Families with a relative living in a care home experienced loss of contact and fears for their loved one’s safety.

Emily Holzhausen, Director of Policy, Carers UK said “This important report shines a light on the huge pressures faced by carers and their families during the first phase of the pandemic where support structures fell away almost overnight. It also gives us the key ingredients to make a difference for people needing care and their families as we face winter with Covid-19 on our doorstep”.   

Looking forward

The findings from the rapid evidence review and recommendations detail where and how care and support need to change to become more personalised and co-produced.

There is a need develop an understanding of what government (local and national), and business, can and should do to create the conditions for community support to flourish and be sustained, so that everyone and every place is included. This means taking practical action to address care and health inequalities.

Clenton Farquharson, TLAP Chair said “this report underlines the experience of people being a part of continual learning about COVID-19. We started with a lot of unknowns, which allows us to be ‘forgiving’ and generous about omissions, as long as they are not repeated as we move through the next difficult phase of the pandemic”.

The report will be of interest to all those who are committed to creating a new and better form of social care.  

About the TLAP Insight Group