Jewish Care’s World Social Work Day conference saw 120 people from across 84 organisations in health and social care, joining the online webinar. Inspiring and thoughtful presentations were shared on the theme of Recovery, Reform and Reflection, with first-hand reflections from those experiencing and working in health and social care.
After a welcome from Jewish Care CEO Daniel Carmel-Brown, Professor Martin Green, CEO of Care England, the largest representative body for independent social care services in the UK, gave an insightful presentation on the challenges ahead and of the contribution that social care makes to society and to the wellbeing of the growing number of older people in the UK.
Professor Martin Green OBE, said, “It’s particularly good to be talking to you at Jewish Care, because when we reflect on what’s the future might hold, and what the current position is, I really don’t think we should underestimate the impact you have not only on the people you support, but also on their families, friends, and communities.
“Every time I come to a Jewish Care service, I see the quality of the care, but also the quality of the built-in environment and the way, in which you constantly strive to be absolutely at the cutting edge of brilliant design and great quality and I know you will never let your commitment to quality and to delivering life-changing services slip, and that’s why you are so respected and so well regarded in the social care sector.”
He talked about the challenges in social care, including the cost to organisation’s like Jewish Care to continue to provide excellent services, when the gap between the real cost of care and the underfunding from Government, has increased since the war in Ukraine, the rising costs of energy and inflation. However, optimistically adding, “social care has an enormous history of achievement and delivery, and we must never let the current situation which is challenging and difficult, be a barrier to continuing to deliver that wonderful and vital support to our communities.”
Looking to the future, the CEO of Care England continued by talking about the importance of planning for care, saying, “People are going to want more flexibility in services, and they want to know what the pathway of support is going to be, so we’re going to see far more continuums of care. Jewish Care are a fantastic example of an organisation that has that pathway in place, and you have a really good opportunity to build on that, because you see people as people, and you know that putting in the support at the right time can enable them to maintain their independence for as long as possible. I’ve been really impressed by Jewish Care’s new facilities where you’ve got supported living and residential in the same complex. This really enables people to make transitions, but still maintain the familiarity in the friendship networks and their connection with staff. That’s something that Jewish Care really excels at and it’s something where you have a blueprint that could be extended throughout.”
Director of Education (Learning and Teaching) and Consultant Social Worker at the Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Paul Dugmore, followed, looking at the importance of reflection for social workers. Rabbi Junik, Jewish Care’s Pastoral & Spiritual Lead as well as Moshe Teller, Jewish Care Art Therapist at Shalvata, the therapeutic arm of Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre, turned their attention to the importance of personalisation of care.
People that Jewish Care has supported, and staff, shared their experiences of the impact of the pandemic and the benefits of support and working together. Rachel Pegrum, Jewish Care ‘s Head of Social Work, Safeguarding and Mental Health, closed the conference, sharing her pride in working in the social work profession, with a sense of care and compassion, in a person-centred way to meet the needs and enhance the well-being of others as a community, even as we continue to face challenging times with the cost of living crisis, the Ukraine war and the need for social care reforms.
“I’d like to thank our keynote speakers and all of those who have joined us today from the health and social care community to come together to celebrate successes and talk about working in the sector. It’s important to reflect and take care of our own professional and personal wellbeing. We make a huge contribution as social care to adapt and seek personalised solutions, using our social work values and to consolidate community partnerships to seek the best outcomes and to improve the lives of the individuals and communities and support people to live life they want to live.”
One Jewish Care client, who was interviewed for the day said, whose husband is living with Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia has been supported Jewish Care’s Family Carer’s Team, which is part of Jewish Care’s Social Work and Community Support Team, said, “I’m extremely grateful and always will be.”
And another client added, “When my wife was operated on for a terminal brain tumour, I didn’t have anyone to communicate and coordinate with until I met a member of the social work team at Jewish Care, who became my go to person along the journey. Once I had that person I could talk to, it was marvellous to know there was support.”