Healthwatch together with Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SPFT) and Carers Support West Sussex have hosted three monthly webinars for relatives and carers with loved ones in Care Homes.

These will enable conversations and connections established at our Sussex wide event in November (Staying Connected with loved ones in Care Homes during the pandemic) to continue.

Quote from someone who attended our first webinar:

'Matt & I really enjoyed the last webinar in January, and we did ask quite a few questions.

Our close relative, Willow, has a severe learning disability and can no longer communicate or speak her wishes. Although we understand why lockdown has happened, it has had an enormous effect on us as a family & Willow herself. She can't see us or communicate with us and must feel abandoned (Zoom doesn't work).

For you as a Healthwatch team to bring together the various departments for discussion is a real bonus.'

So far, we have spoken to over 150 local people about:

  • the vaccination programme and visiting
  • the impact of long-term restricted visiting/separation from loved ones is having on families
  • what the system should be doing to support relatives and family carers

What have we heard?

There is a contrast between local care home in their approach to visiting. We have heard how hard some care homes are working to help family carers stay connected to their family resident. Sadly we have also been touched by families accounts of a lost year without seeing their relative in a home and in some case having great difficulties in getting staff to communicate with them.With this insight, we are going to continue to push for people to work together to look at appropriate ways of enabling connect and support families where they experience continued challenges.

Matt & I really enjoyed the last webinar in January... For you as a Healthwatch team to bring together the various departments for discussion is a real bonus.
— An attendee from our first webinar

Guidance on care home visiting

Visiting is a central part of care home life. It is crucially important for maintaining the health, wellbeing and quality of life of residents. Visiting is also vital for family and friends to maintain contact and life-long relationships with their loved ones and contribute to their support and care.



Support to Relatives and Family Carers during the COVID-19 Pandemic

In our latest report, we share the key themes that emerged from the discussions from the webinars and our recommendations for what happens next. 

Read our report

Programme for 19th July 2021 - Reconnecting with Relatives connected with Care Homes
West Sussex Care Home Webinar 1 (27 Jan 2021) - Notes
West Sussex Care Home Webinar 2 (23 Feb 2021) - Notes
West Sussex Care Home Webinar 3 (24 Mar 2021) - Notes
Family Carers Template letter to Care Homes (Word doc)
Healthwatch West Sussex Care Home Webinar #3 (Recording of webinar 24.03.2021)

Library Service Support for Care Homes and Family Carers

Find out how West Sussex Library Service can help you stay in contact with your loved one in a care home. You can also find online singing and reminiscence sessions to watch at home, as well as wellbeing and bereavement support.

Read more

Supporting a safe return of family and friends to Care Homes

The government has recently published new guidance on care home visiting. Read more about the new guidance here.

Read more