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Supporting health and social care providers in Devon

Tips for supporting your staff

  • Check on basic needs: Check in with staff to make sure they are looking after their basic needs. Are they getting enough sleep or becoming fatigued? Are they eating/drinking? Are they staying connected with others or becoming withdrawn?
  • Promote self-care: Check in with staff as to what they are doing to attend to their self-care needs and maintain a good balance.
  • Be mindful: Staff members may be affected by and dealing with other challenges in their life –financial, domestic violence, childcare issues, elderly parents, family members who may be at high risk of contracting the disease or who are unwell.
  • Encourage use of coping strategies: Ask staff about what coping strategies they find useful when they are feeling stressed, and how they recognise when they might need to use them. Encourage and support the use of coping strategies if you see the signs that someone is starting to struggle, and don’t hesitate to signpost staff to other support services if/when you think they need it.
  • Say no: All of your staff are extremely dedicated and will want to give their all 24/7in these difficult times. Although it may be difficult to balance shifts and rotas, for the benefit of the staff member you made need to say ‘no’ and make them take time out to reduce individual burnout.
  • Be visible and available: Have regular contact and communication with all staff –those in work as well as those unable to be at work currently.
  • Listen: Listen carefully to what staff are saying to you and fully understand and respond to this. Give them the time to speak to you, hopefully without the interruptions of phones, emails or by others.
  • A little praise goes a long way: Saying ‘thank you’ or praising someone for something specific they have done can boost feelings of self-worth and self-efficacy in employees. Being specific about what you are praising or saying ‘thank-you’ for makes it clear you have noticed what they have done well.
  • Give time and space: People need time to adjust to new circumstances and re-adjust when ‘normality’ resumes. Model empathy, compassion, and kindness. In pressured situations the risk that everyone becomes less compassionate and empathetic, and more irritable is heightened. Amongst the crisis, it is even more important to remember to model compassion and give encouragement and positive feedback to staff.
  • Promote connectedness: Remind staff we are all in this together it is a group experience and not one we are facing alone. Advocate talking things through with others to lessen the feelings of distress, anxiousness, and isolation. Consider following some of the ideas listed under “Ideas for team and peer support” to promote social connectedness.
  • Credit: Thanks to the Isle of Wight Ethics Group for the support framework “Guide to supporting care providers and social care staff (2020) which has been used to develop these tips.
  • Think about yourself: It is important that you take care of yourself and look after your own wellbeing. Take time to think about your own emotional needs and what support you need. Be open, honest, and kind to yourself with how you are feeling. Even though you’ll want to be there for your service and staff, all good leaders need to recognise when to take a step back to have a break, rest, and recharge. Have other relieve and support you. This also models good self-care to your staff and psychologically permits them to rest too.

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