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What keeps me awake at night… Robert Martin, Anchor Hanover

Robert Martin, Managing Director of Care Services, Anchor Hanover

As England’s largest not-for-profit provider of care and housing for people in later life we do all we can to ensure our residents receive quality care so they can lead fulfilled lives.

Our incredible social care workforce plays a crucial role in making this possible. They go above and beyond, day in day out, to make sure our residents are happy and well supported.

At Anchor Hanover, we recognised during the early stages of the pandemic, that we needed to be innovative, making sure there were lots of practical resources readily available and accessible to support our residents.

We adapted swiftly to meet the challenges that the pandemic presented, developing, and accessing new resources for residents in our care homes as well as easy to use options for colleagues supporting them.

Our #BeKindToOneAnother initiative, the brainchild of a wellness co-ordinator at Anchor Hanover and led by care home managers helped our residents remain in touch with their local communities. Encouraging them to send letters, pictures, and poems to residents to lift spirits.

Maintaining our resident’s physical and mental wellbeing has also been crucial and last summer we hosted our very own Summer of Sport: a special tournament encouraging physical activity in all our care homes.

The pandemic has led to some positive transformation in our care homes with the development of ‘Virtual’ resources and embracing technology. However, we are in no doubt that there are significant challenges that our sector continues to face, the main one being keeping people connected to relatives, loved ones and wider communities through the pandemic. The last year has been incredibly difficult for everyone, as an organisation we take great pride in our care homes being an integral part of the community, we understand the importance of people having social relationships and connectivity with those closest to them, and that we are all frustrated by the current situation.

The solution is complicated as it involves a variety of measures that all come together to improve the situation for people living with us- the use of technology to stay connected, a number of visiting types such as partitioned, window, garden and more recently close contact visits with testing and infection control measures. Vaccinations are providing us with another step towards close contact visits, but it remains early days as we now focus on the second dose of the vaccine. We continue to work closely with relatives, loved ones, health professionals and are involved in the discussions around finding ways for visits to take place safely.

The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the true value of the social care sector, many social care workers have made sacrifices to their own lives to ensure the same level of care and support continues to be delivered.

Social care is firmly in the general public’s consciousness with much more awareness that there needs to be a positive, permanent societal change.

At Anchor Hanover we intend to build on this momentum. The demand for care beyond the pandemic will grow along with the need to provide high quality care and support. We will be ready to meet those challenges. Ensuring resident safety and wellbeing remain our priority and we will continue to recognise our workforce. We hold regular colleague awards and will continue to make sure their hard work is recognised through external initiatives and sector awards.

Recognising the profound contribution of our social care colleagues is crucial to inspiring a new generation of people to join our workforce and shinning a light on the exceptional care we provide.

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