Covid19 - bringing out the best in people

If you haven’t seen it before, the film, The Day After Tomorrow is definitely worth a watch.  When global warming triggers the start of another ice age, it brings out the best in those struggling to survive.    

What’s that got to do with social care?

I can’t help reflecting that the pandemic has also brought out the best in people.  The characters in the film have a moral core that makes us root for their survival and appreciate their noble, selfless behaviour.  The significant impacts such as risk perception, conceptual and behavioural changes all occur.  This is not dissimilar from what we have seen during the pandemic, particularly in terms of the strength of our communities.  There has been a real desire to help and support people who are struggling at this difficult time - our neighbours, our friends, our families, our colleagues and our loved ones.  Let’s learn and reflect

We launched the adult social care Stories of Promise tool in July 2020, gathering examples of good practice during the pandemic.  The examples provided have personalisation and co-production at their core, in other words, responding to Making it Real. 

What type of case studies were provided for the tool? 

Keeping people connected has been the most popular theme with many people not being able to attend traditional day services or see their family, friends and loved ones during lockdown.  We have seen a raft of solutions which connect communities such as fitness clubs, arts, crafts and film clubs, intergenerational relationship building, pen-pals and vegetable growing lessons all online.  Often the solutions have been co-produced with people who access care and support themselves, organisations making actions speak louder than words.

A range of digital innovations have been emerging at an accelerated speed such as the Omi Vista Mobii Projector implemented by Shropshire Council, a device containing over 700 games which can be projected onto the walls/floors/tables and enables people to interact and have good fun, social distancing of course!  And we’ve seen artificial intelligence solutions which really concentrate on gathering information for prevention, and wearable devices which monitor vital signs to reduce hospital admissions. 

We ’ve examples of improving information and advice such as Books Beyond Words, who translate words into pictures for people with learning disabilities.  The East of England Strategic Migration Partnership worked with other organisations to ensure covid-19 information and advice was available in over 60 languages, so people who do not speak English understood the impact of the pandemic.   We have seen pockets of enhanced support for our carers. 

The list is not exhaustive and all the examples have the jigsaw pieces of a good case studyTake a look for yourselves, the collaborative responses and new initiatives illustrate how organisations and communities can come together at a time of crisis.   

What will happen the day after tomorrow?

From what we have learnt from our case studies, it is certain that there will be a day after tomorrow. We will need to continue to draw upon the work we began during the pandemic including:

  • Person-centred care at the heart of everything we do
  • Keeping solutions community based and local but working in partnership and co-productively to achieve this
  • Growing, investing, nurturing and valuing community-based innovation and support
  • Concentrating on prevention solutions that reduce crisis
  • New models of care in our own homes supported by technology and the workforce
  • Enhanced information and advice
  • Looking after our unpaid carers
  • Valuing our workforce – paid and unpaid
  • Narrowing the health inequalities divide
  • Working in collaboration and planning our current and future care markets with people, communities, housing, planners, education, health and social care
  • Developing digital solutions which enhance connectedness and wellbeing, bridging the gap between those who have technology and those who do not

The Social Care Futures vision sums it all up, “we all want to live in the place we call home with the people and things that we love, in communities where we look out for one another, doing the things that matter to us“.  That has to be the social care future we are striving for today and the day after tomorrow. That will require us changing the narrative away from money and integration and striving to do the right thing for people – taking that leap of faith.

It’s been a pleasure to learn so much from organisations who have given their time to provide stories of promise.  I hope this resource continues to be of use to people working in and accessing care and support within the sector.


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