Carers need caring for too … a focus on wellbeing

It’s the most wonderful time of the year … when we choose a theme for our annual advent calendar.

We’ve run a calendar every year since 2013 and in the past, after taking soundings from colleagues, we’ve created calendars with themes including #WhyILovetheNHS, our longest-serving staff members to link in with NHS70, celebrating award winners and delving into the secret lives of staff behind their uniforms.

This year, we did consider a focus on lovely fluffy and not-so-fluffy pets, after all, most people enjoy a cute dog, cat or even raccoon pic judging from Tiktok, but there was something else that called to us from all our interactions with colleagues over the past two years: the theme this year had to be wellbeing.

The pandemic has taken its toll on people working in many sectors and health and care has been particularly affected as staff (and volunteers) have risen to meet the often-changing needs of patients, adopt new guidance and procedures for example around infection control, changed where, how and who they work etc and borne the emotional burden both of dealing with COVID and of the backlog effect this has had on other types of care.

Many in our #1BigTeam have made personal sacrifices to care for patients or support those who do and the cumulative effective of all of this means staff can feel very tired.

The carers need caring for too. We have an intensive programme of support for wellbeing at UHP which includes an online Support Hub signposting to all the help available, wellbeing walls on wards, a number of interventions and a number of ‘Wellbeing for All’ charitably-funded posts including psychologist support.

We have just started training our first cohort of Health and Wellbeing Champions because we know that peer support makes a positive difference and we know that, more than ever, how staff feel and look after both themselves and each other, is critical.

So this year, when you click on the link to ‘open’ the door on the UHP online advent calendar, what you will find is a member of staff sharing their tips on how they keep their wellbeing bucket topped up. They will share helpful tips on keeping both mentally and physically well. They may also share how they used their Wellbeing Day this year – every member of staff was given an extra day’s annual leave as a small thank you in recognition of their extraordinary efforts.

Thank you to all those staff members who have come forward to share their tips. You can find our advent calendar via the link below and we will be sharing this every day via Daily Email and on social media too using the hashtags #UHPAdvent21 and #Healthwellbeing

Please do check back each day in December to find out who is behind each door and what their wellbeing tips are and please share these as widely as you can if you think they would be helpful to colleagues or friends.

It’s just a small way we can all support each other.

Amanda Nash

Head of Communications

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