Mar 18, 2024

What are some ideas to improve staff wellbeing in care homes?

Supporting staff so they can support residents 


The mental health and wellbeing of those working in care homes has always been one of the most important aspects of operating a care setting, and yet it’s always been one of the biggest challenges too. As recent economic factors have placed an even bigger strain on the wellbeing of care staff, who can often suffer from stress and burnout, thinking outside the box to ensure staff wellbeing is more important now than ever. So, we’re sharing some ideas to improve staff wellbeing. 


The impact of stress in the workplace for care home staff 

Some of the main issues behind stress and poor mental health and wellbeing for care home staff stem from the long and often unpredictable hours, the difficulty and demands of the job and the low pay that, as the cost-of-living crisis wears on, eats more and more into their standard of living. 

As a result of these factors and others like them, care home staff are facing issues like burnout, stress and the ill-health it can cause. This has a knock-on effect, as the staffing challenges that many care homes are currently facing, whether it’s recruitment of staff or retention of staff, are only made worse by either the lack of people who are looking at care as a viable long-term career or those who have been in care but are leaving the profession. 

All of this can ultimately impact the residents, because if staff are not supported in their mental and physical wellbeing, they cannot perform to the best of their abilities, and the quality of life and care of residents suffers as a result. So, what can care providers do to ensure the wellbeing of their staff and, as a result, ensure the wellbeing of their residents? 


Provide formal policies on support, safeguarding and overall wellbeing 

For a care setting, having an effective and transparent set of policies in place to address the health and mental wellbeing of staff sets a positive precedent for those working in care because it provides a clear framework for exactly how staff wellbeing should be supported and how any issues with staff mental health will be handled. 

Not only does it showcase to staff that the management of the organisation are taking wellbeing seriously, but it’s also an excellent strategy when it comes to recruitment of new staff, because you will be able to show them the framework already in place that will support them. Examples of what to include in a wellbeing policy are providing staff with the opportunity to talk about any issues, either in group or one-to-one sessions, promoting equality and diversity, promoting stress awareness training, providing reasonable adjustments for those with mental health issues, a policy on bullying/harassment and many others. 


Adopting an inclusive, whole home approach to wellbeing 

It can happen in any work environment, and the care industry is no different – staff may not feel like they are able to voice any wellbeing issues they might be having, or they may not feel comfortable about talking to their manager about any issues they might be having. This is why it’s so important to promote a positive work culture that is open, inclusive and supportive of wellbeing. For example, management can raise the awareness of wellbeing within the home by including the staff in decision-making when it comes to formal policies – allowing staff a significant say in how their wellbeing will be supported.  

Importantly, adopting an approach that involves the entire workforce of a care home in discussions about wellbeing, and providing a safe and understanding environment where they feel empowered to discuss how they feel or share their input on wellbeing policies, will go a long way to normalise conversations about mental health and to address any stigmas that might be associated with discussions on wellbeing, which may well be stopping people from discussing it in the first place. 

A whole home approach also means that the notion of an overly top-down system of dialogue is avoided where possible. While it’s important that management should support staff and be open to discussions and adjustments for wellbeing issues, relevant training is a good idea for all members of staff so the signs of stress or mental health issues can be spotted, raised and supported. In this, all staff members can support each other, and everybody in the home, whether care staff or managers, can be equally part of a supportive and inclusive environment where everybody is looking out for everybody else.  


Benefits and career progression 

It can often be the case that those working in the care industry are doing what they love and have a true passion for caring for the most vulnerable members of our society, but real-world factors get in the way and can sometimes result in them leaving the industry. People with true passion for care should be given every reasonable opportunity to thrive in the industry, and while it’s not always easy working on such razor-thin margins, providing a good work-life balance is crucial to the wellbeing of staff. 

Regular salary reviews, bonus schemes, putting on events, childcare vouchers or flexible working wherein staff have as much of a say in their rotas as is feasible, all of these ideas and more will go a long way to promoting not just a good work-life balance for staff, but it will go a long way to promoting your care home as a great place to work, and as such, you have a much higher chance of retaining and recruiting the best staff. And another crucial aspect of this is the promise of clear progression and training.  

In any job, no matter how much passion they have for it, it’s likely that most people will want to know that they have a path of progression along which they can grow, learn and take on more and new responsibilities, and care is no different.  

It cannot be emphasised enough that in order to present your care home as a place where the most dedicated and passionate people can come and work and be part of a community, offering them a clear trajectory of progression with a clear idea of the training on offer is essential.  

In many instances, people come to feel disillusioned with the care industry because there aren’t enough opportunities for progression and self-development, where people can look at care as a viable, long-term career. They see no chance for progression, and as a result mental health can suffer.  


Promote progression and development with our wellbeing training bundles! 

If you’re looking for training and development opportunities, whether it’s for staff or managers, the Oomph! Wellbeing & Activities Training for staff can give you in-depth and CPD Certified courses on every aspect of wellbeing care provision.  

The courses come in four bundles – The Wellness Essentials Bundle, the Creativity Bundle, the Leadership Bundle and the Exercise Bundle. If you want to find out more about how you can progress in your career in care, why not book a demo to find out more about the bundles, which are available through PCS LEARN.  

March 18, 2024

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