#AllTogetherNowWF – Alexa

The COVID-19 has been a difficult time for everyone, but through it communities have come together and people have gone above and beyond to help those in need.

#AllTogetherNowWF showcases staff and residents alike who have gone above and beyond during this difficult time.

Alexa Lethbridge

Alexa Lethbridge is a social worker based in Whipps Cross University Hospital Integrated Discharge Team

In response to the Coronavirus outbreak Waltham Forest is working with Whipps Cross Hospital to discharge all patients as soon as they are clinically safe to do so to help free up to at least 15,000 beds across the entire NHS.

What is your role?

I am part of the Integrated Discharge Team, as well as progressing discharges from the hospital, I support individuals who are unable to return home from hospital for a variety of reasons and require a ‘step-down’ care facility.

What is step-down care?

George Mason Lodge is Waltham Forest’s step-down facility based in Leytonstone and is accessed from the hospital for people who require support before they move back home or to another permanent care facility, the step-down resource could be needed for various reasons such as rehabilitation, safeguarding or extra care. Once patients are discharged from hospital and admitted to George Mason Lodge, I will then work with them and often with their families as well as other professionals to develop an exit strategy that is right for that person.

How has the hospital discharge process changed during the Covid-19 outbreak?

The Coronavirus Bill is temporary legislation which has been brought in to protect public health and increase NHS capacity, strengthen social care and support the public. The Bill has meant that many processes and systems have had to change to ensure that essential services are enhanced and can continue to function, we are now discharging people within 1 to 3 hours or as soon as it is medically safe to do so.

The hospital wards are liaising directly with other teams including the Integrated Home Supported Discharge Team and our Bridging Services in order to meet the timings and are working hard to carry out various assessments to decide if people can return home or to a care type facility.  Home should always be considered as the first option and I believe that people should return home wherever possible.

How do you work with the families of patients?

Families are following the government shielding measures which is what we recommend but there is a lot of fear around, we want to reassure and educate families that they still can be involved and that we do need their support sometimes with things such as settling people back home which may mean transporting them from hospital.

What is your daily working life right now?

It has changed significantly, we are currently adapting and trying to keep up with new developments on a daily basis, many of our assessments are being completed using other methods, where possible there are fewer face to face assessments with service users – and the advent of digital services are definitely coming into their own using tools such as Teams and other visual technology such as Skype, which can sometimes bring about its own challenges especially when using this medium with some older people.

What is it you like about working in care?

I have been working for Waltham Forest for the past 23 years and still enthusiastic about my job as a social worker.  In the last two years my role has been to work with mainly older people, a key part of this is being an advocate for them and ensuring that the person has a voice in how they wish to live their lives. A knowledge of the services available to people is also essential so that the right services are offered to them at the right time, rehabilitative resources and prevention is crucial. Home first should always be a consideration, especially for older people, home as well as family can often become the most important asset in their lives, engendering a sense of belonging and purpose which is imperative for a person’s wellbeing. During my time as a social worker I am constantly humbled by people’s own resilience even in the face of great adversity at times- that’s why I do what I do!

What do you like about working for the borough?

Waltham Forest is a great borough to work for, there are a lot of staff with so many years’ experience and crucial skills needed to be a social worker.  I’ve had great managers and great mentors.

Thank you to our adult social care staff for their dedication to supporting our vulnerable residents in Waltham Forest during this time.

Originally published by Waltham Forest
URL: https://www.walthamforest.gov.uk/content/alltogethernowwf-alexa