3rd place COVID-19 category - 'KeepWellNHS': Supporting NHS workers and their local communities - a response to COVID-19
Project lead - Eleanor Powell (University Hospital of Wales)
Project team - Kathleen Shelley (University Hospital of Wales)
The ‘KeepWellNHS’ initiative launched just as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across Europe towards the UK. We braced ourselves for the storm as the shocking headlines and uncertainty of what we were seeing and hearing intensified. We recognised the immensity of the forthcoming challenges associated with an imminent pandemic and the resilience that would be required of a workforce to withstand this challenge.
We felt strongly that a resilient workforce requires both mentally and physically healthy individuals. Much of the local and national efforts in preparation for COVID-19 dealt with strategy, logistics and physical resources but very little was being done in preparation for the mental and emotional strain that would inevitably be felt by the service providers themselves.
The aim of KeepWellNHS was to create a virtual shelter – a peaceful and positive online space and community that boosted morale and provides mentally, as well as physically nourishing resources for individuals and thus, strengthens the overall organisational (NHS) staff wellbeing.
The objectives were multi-fold. Firstly, to showcase the good work, good will and good news from NHS departments and other organisations across the UK in response to pandemic-wellbeing. Secondly, to collate a wide range of mental- and physical wellbeing resources. And finally, to support the local independent businesses in South Wales that looked after our workforce during the pandemic and make our community what it is.
The resources are all located on an easy to access mobile-friendly website (https://keepwellNHS.com) and are linked to the widely accessible social media platforms Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (@keepwellnhs), which are regularly updated. It is open access to all multidisciplinary healthcare providers in the NHS as we were certain that the impact of this pandemic would not only be wide-reaching, but long lasting.
Given the sudden and unprecedented nature of the pandemic, no baseline measurements or surveys took place. The best method of assessing effect and impact in this setting, therefore, is that of online engagement.
Beneficial effects on wellbeing
The initiative launched March 2020 to the following reception:
- To date, the KeepWellNHS website has received 16,458 all-time views.
- The highest period of engagement was seen from April-May 2020 during the peak of the pandemic (~11,000 views).
- A recent increase in activity was seen in January 2021, reflecting perhaps the delayed effect of those now seeking support in the wake of the pandemic.
- The website also has 225 current subscribers who have opted in for notifications of new articles.
To date, KeepWellNHS has 1217 followers on social media. In addition to links with other anaesthetists nationally, we have also successfully reached out and made links with a number of other Royal Colleges and national bodies, e.g., Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal Pharmacological Society and The Royal College of Physicians.
We have received formal feedback in the form of comments and messages on the website and social media platforms. Examples include:
‘This resource is fantastic. I am currently a shielding GP trainee and have really benefited from the meditation resources and feel linked in with other HCWs’
‘I think what you guys are doing is ace – just what is needed right now. Please keep it going once this is all over’
‘Going to massively promote this. So important and such a professional website’
‘Fantastic resource and a huge amount of work. We would love to get involved…’
KeepWellNHS intends to continue to the wellbeing of our colleagues by furthering our reach through further social media campaigns and collaborations (detailed later).