Social workers helping to #stopthespread in Oxfordshire

Meet mother of two Amy Snell - she is one of the county council’s social workers who have gone above and beyond to support those who need it during the COVID -19 pandemic while taking her own precautions to #stopthespread.

Amy, 32 from Cholsey, is a newly qualified social worker and is part of Oxfordshire County Council’s City Hospital team at the John Radcliffe. Usually, she works on the wards with healthcare staff.

She assesses patients in hospital, organising any voluntary or care support that a person needs to ensure a good outcome for them when they leave hospital. This involves problem-solving to get people back to their own home or occasionally may also involve supporting them to find somewhere safe to live where they’ll thrive.

Both she and her colleagues in the team have taken steps to #stopthespread and protect people in our communities.

The Covid pandemic has of course been a very busy time in hospital discharge services with the social care teams supporting over 1050 people since the pandemic began. From wearing PPE and maintaining strict social distancing, to adapting how they assessed individuals, the team made several changes to how they work.

Amy explained: “Before Covid, we would usually see patients and their families face to face, so we looked at other ways in which we could communicate effectively that would also keep everybody safe.

“We have been speaking to patients and their families over the phone, via WhatsApp, or on video calls. In some instances, we have even communicated with patients via handwritten messages, so they have been able to write back to us. These ways of working have allowed us to have a personal touch, continue to work as usual, while keeping us, and our service users, safe.”

While Amy and her team are meeting with service users face to face, they do so with full PPE, wash their hands regularly, and try to maintain social distancing as much as possible.

They are also working together with health professionals via virtual multi-disciplinary team’s and continuing to work closely with health and social care professionals in the system to coordinate care.

The team have also implemented a rota so that they can continue to socially distance.

“As a team, we’ve been able to introduce an office rota so we can safely socially distance. Along with PPE, this has meant we can go into the hospital to speak to one another, ward staff and see our service users on the wards.” Amy commented.

So far, by bringing in these steps, the hospital team have also been largely able to avoid any Covid-19 related illness, allowing them to continue working at full capacity.

Amy has also found the team’s positivity have also helped them to succeed during these difficult times.

“There is a nice team vibe in the hospital team of coordinators and social workers, and I am lucky to work with some nice, lovely people who are always there to listen when things might get tough” she noted.

Amy’s career to date

Amy initially did an Access to Nursing course at college, but later decided to apply for a social work degree instead.

She was accepted at Oxford Brookes and three years later she qualified. She is currently in a supported year, which all social workers do when they first qualify.

Follow the guidance

We all have a vital role to play in keeping Oxfordshire safe and in preventing local outbreaks. Make sure you follow these simple steps to keep safe and stop the virus spreading. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available

Wear a face covering on public transport, in all shops and in places where it is hard to stay away from people. Like Amy, with your support, we all have a part to play in our goal to #stopthespread