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Psychological first aid: has it helped care home nurses in the pandemic?

RCN Foundation will fund study into effectiveness of PFA for staff in the care sector
nurse with a care home resident, both wearing face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 poses extreme emotional challenges for nursing teams working in care homes

A nursing charity wants to find out how effective psychological first aid has been in supporting nursing staff in care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The RCN Foundation has announced 30,000 in research funding on the issue and is inviting applications from individuals or organisations wishing to conduct a study.

The successful applicants would evaluate psychological first aid (PFA) and its impact on nursing teams in care homes.

PFA is used globally to deliver psychosocial care to people during and in the immediate aftermath of emergencies.

The World

COVID-19 poses extreme emotional challenges for nursing teams working in care homes

nurse with a care home resident, both wearing face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic
People living and working in nursing homes have been among those most affected by the coronavirus pandemic Picture: iStock

A nursing charity wants to find out how effective psychological first aid has been in supporting nursing staff in care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The RCN Foundation has announced £30,000 in research funding on the issue and is inviting applications from individuals or organisations wishing to conduct a study.

The successful applicants would evaluate psychological first aid (PFA) and its impact on nursing teams in care homes.

PFA is used globally to deliver psychosocial care to people during and in the immediate aftermath of emergencies.

The World Health Organization and United Nations have supported its use in response to coronavirus.

Psychological first aid sessions are designed to provide practical care and support and are delivered by a trained ‘psychological first aider’.

Exceptional challenges have taken their toll on care home nurses

Deepa Korea, director of the RCN Foundation

RCN Foundation director Deepa Korea said: ‘Residents in care homes have been some of the hardest hit during the pandemic, and nursing staff have been at the forefront of providing outstanding care during this exceptionally challenging time. This has inevitably taken a toll on the psychological well-being of care home staff.

‘By focusing on the efficacy of PFA, this research will not only make an important contribution to the body of evidence, but hopefully provide an enduring legacy in relation to the most effective way to provide support to the nursing team in the future.’

Online training in psychological first aid

In June, Public Health England announced free online PFA training for staff and volunteers at the forefront of the COVID-19 response.

The programme aimed to provide front-line staff with resources to take care of their own mental health and well-being as well as supporting others.

The RCN Foundation says PFA training is available from a number of UK providers.

The closing date for applications to the research project is 11 January 2021.

A survey of care home nurses published in August by the Queen’s Nursing Institute revealed the challenges staff faced during the first wave of the pandemic.


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