This resource has been developed with staff working in care homes and domiciliary care. The aim of the resource is to help staff to explore what is needed to help manage and thrive in what is a complex, dynamic and sometimes difficult health and social care environment. We hope you will enjoy this resource and see it as your ‘go to’ that affirms your importance, acknowledges the significant challenges in your role and gives you tools to relax, restore and recalibrate!
This resilience resource was initially developed with care home staff and has been adapted in response to evaluation and feedback to extend the reach of the resource across social care. The resource was developed with funding from The Burdett Trust for Nursing and updated with additional funding from the Public Health Agency Northern Ireland Research and Development Division.
Christine is Professor of Nursing (Education) at Queen’s University Belfast with an international reputation in care homes and dementia research. As a Registered Nurse, Christine has many years’ experience of working in care homes caring for older people including those with dementia. In her research, Christine uses participatory methods such as co-design enabling the voice of residents, families and staff to be heard. She has led the development of several digital resources for staff in care homes. Christine is also a qualified yoga teacher in Vinyasa Flow and Yin yoga. More information.
Anita has a background in nursing and nurse education. She is a mother of four and returned to academia and completed her PhD in 2020 looking at public health approaches to palliative care. In her roles as carer and also supporting her daughter as a care assistant working during the acute phase of the pandemic, she became aware of the continuing challenges on the care home sector. She was delighted to take up the post as Research Fellow in this most important area of health and social care.
Gary is a senior lecturer (education) at Queen’s University Belfast. He is a registered nurse with significant clinical and academic experience in care home nursing, frailty, dementia, delirium & palliative care. Gary holds the title of Queen’s Nurse (QN) and was named as Nurse of the Year by the British Journal of Nursing in 2016 for his work in dementia palliative care within care homes.
Derek is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery in Queen’s University Belfast. He is mental health nurse who has a major interest in dealing with trauma, from his clinical work via EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) therapy but also in his teaching and research. Through his work he has experienced how the COVID-19 pandemic has been traumatic for many of us, but in particular, for staff in the care sector. He brings this project many years of experience in caring for and treating people who are traumatised.
Gillian is a Lecturer in Chronic Illness in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queen’s University Belfast. Gillian has a BSc in Adult Nursing and currently has 14 years’ experience of healthcare research. She contributes to the teaching in undergraduate and post-graduate modules. Her field of research focuses on chronic illness, specifically on communication and decision-making for family members and the frail elders, in particular for individuals affected by dementia. She is also interested in enhancing the provision of support for family members focusing on the availability of peer support facilities and specifically online peer support interventions, developed through co-design.
Daniel graduated as a Registered Nurse in 2012 and has since devoted his work to the care home sector. Daniel has worked in a variety of roles from a Staff Nurse to Home Manager, progressing later to regional and national support positions. Parallel to his work, Daniel completed a Masters in Advance Practice in QUB. Presently, Daniel is the Director of Quality Assurance and Governance for the CWC Group (independent residential care). Daniel is passionate about quality of care and the empowerment of care home teams to truly exceed in the provision of special and meaningful experiences for residents.
Helen Noble is a Professor in the school of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s University Belfast. She completed the 'Integrating Mindfulness and Compassion (IMC) Qualification’ and the 'Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Teacher Training’ with Mindfulness UK and is a listed MBSR teacher. Helen is also a nurse, educator and academic, leads an innovative programme of Mindfulness Compassion for PhD students and has developed a programme of mindfulness related research. With an expert interdisciplinary team, she is exploring the impact and effectiveness of the Compassionate Mindful Resilience (CMR) programme recently developed by Mindfulness UK.
Oonagh is an Art Psychotherapist and Yoga teacher and has been working in the creative field for nearly 30 years. She has worked in education, the NHS, prisons and many charities throughout Northern Ireland, mostly focusing in the areas of child and adolescent mental health. She became a yoga teacher in 2018 and now offers Hatha, Vinyasa flow and Yin yoga practices. Oonagh is also an artist who specialises in mixed media, painting and printmaking at Boom Studios in Bangor, Northern Ireland.
Ann Marie is the Manager of a 49-bedded Private Nursing Home. She trained as a Nurse in the Mater Infirmorum in Belfast and worked in England post registration. Ann Marie has spent the majority of her career in the private nursing home sector and is now manager of the care home that she completed her work experience in at 17 years old. She has front-line experience of how Covid 19 impacted the sector taking away many of the normal coping strategies which allowed them to connect with each other and their community.
Alabi Omowunmi Zainab is from Nigeria, West Africa. She started nursing in 2011 then proceeded to the school of midwifery completing her degree in 2021. Omowunmi developed an interest in geriatric care from visiting her grandmother. After relocating to the UK in 2021 she joined a nursing home amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and has experienced first-hand the toll the pandemic has taken on this important sector and its staff.
Linda is a regional manager covering 7 care homes in NI. Having been a nurse for 33 years there has been no tougher time to be working in care homes than through the Covid pandemic. A high level of resilience has been demonstrated in how staff have managed and adapted to these stresses and challenges. I feel passionate that my colleagues who provide a vital service to the most vulnerable in society are supported and helped to feel valued whilst also looking after their own mental health and wellbeing.
Aisling is a graduate in Leadership and Management for Health and Social Care Services. She has over 20 years’ experience in managing the operational and contractual requirements for both Domiciliary and Residential Care Services in Northern Ireland. She is responsible for a learning disability residential home within CWC group (independent residential care). CWC group identified that staff resilience has been excellent throughout the pandemic but that staff would require a level of support both during and coming out of a pandemic, with the need for self-care, a work life balance and support being identified as key aspects.
Aileen is Head of the Service Care Home Support Team at the Southern Health and Social Care Trust. The Care Home Support Team is a multidisciplinary team made up of nurses, social workers, allied health professionals and administrative staff. The team supports the care of older people who are residents of the Trust and in permanent nursing and residential care home placements. Aileen worked closely with Care Homes during the COVID-19 pandemic and is acutely aware of the demands on Care Home staff and the extraordinary efforts that they make in order to care so well for residents.
Many thanks to care home staff and regional managers, and to the project advisory group for their support in developing the resource.
Thank you to the Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland that welcomed us into their care home network meetings at various stages of the resource development.
A special word of thanks to the care home nurses and domiciliary care workers who joined our focus groups. Your contribution has helped make this a more responsive and meaningful resource.
A special word of thanks to:
Dr. Donald Macaskill, CEO Scottish Care, for his contribution to this resource and for championing the sector and providing a compassionate and empathetic voice in the very frightening and sometimes dark times of the pandemic.
Thanks also to the Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISSC) who have supported this work and Mr. Paul Rooney, social care lead, who provided an insight into the work of NISCC in developing capacity and capability to ensure recognition and value of social care workers within the health and social care system and more broadly within society.
For sharing your expertise so readily, many thanks to:
Thanks to our student interns Elaine Todd, Stacey Spence, Zoe Skillen, Tea Brown and Sophie Hill.
Thanks to the team at Morrow Communications for their expert work and guidance in developing this resource.
This resource has been developed by Queen’s University School of Nursing and Midwifery in partnership with: