Council staff carry out thousands of telephone welfare checks
Adult Social Care have been running a programme of welfare checks with vulnerable people across Norfolk. The programme has been carried out by 60 staff with the aim of finding out whether people are OK, or if they need help with food, medication, wellbeing support or essential household functions.
By the end of April, staff had contacted 14,500 people. The checks revealed that about 30% needed some form of follow-up. In some cases this was a referral for additional support from the district council’s community hubs (for food, medication, wellbeing or household issues), an urgent follow-up for safeguarding concerns or a physical 'doorstep check' to see why the vulnerable person wasn’t responding.
A number of public health staff volunteered to take part in these checks and have shared their experiences. One staff member said: “Working on the welfare calls has been a meaningful opportunity to engage with a large number of our vulnerable and shielding residents across the county during this difficult time. The overriding response has been one of great appreciation for the phone contact, especially from those residents who are going through the lockdown on their own and experiencing feelings of real isolation and loneliness. The experience has been extremely moving and rewarding, both on a personal as well as professional level."
Another said: “Making calls has been a humbling experience, you are speaking with people who are vulnerable and shielding. Most people tell you they are doing ok, getting by and are supported by family and neighbours. However, you do have calls to people who are unwell, anxious, on their own struggling with health issues and lockdown boredom or recently bereaved. For every call you must be friendly, curious, thorough, caring, reassuring and reliable to follow up on any issues."