How the RCN Foundation can support staff with Long Covid

This week’s blog is written by Deepa Korea (@deepa_korea), RCN Foundation (@RCNFoundation) Director

About the RCN Foundation

The RCN Foundation is an independent charity and grant-maker. We were set up in 2010 when the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) separated its charitable activities from its trade union and other activities. Our purpose is to support and strengthen nursing and midwifery, to improve the health and wellbeing of the public.

The Foundation supports nurses, midwives, nursing associates, healthcare support workers, student nurses and midwives, and retired nurses, midwives and healthcare support workers in the following ways:

  • supporting individual members of the nursing and midwifery team by making grants for hardship and education
  • investing in the nursing and midwifery professions to improve patient care by funding nursing-led projects in our priority areas
  • championing nursing and midwifery through activities that raise the profile of the profession and strengthen public understanding of its contribution to improving the nation’s health

The RCN Foundation supports staff and the professions across all nations of the UK, in both health and care settings. Our help is available to any nurse, midwife or healthcare support worker who needs it, irrespective of whether they are a member of the RCN or not.

Benevolent Service

The RCN Foundation Benevolent Service exists to help nurses, midwives and health care support workers who are facing financial hardship. It provides grants and signposting support. We also work with partner organisations called Entitledto, which provides benefits advice, and PayPlan, which provides regulated debt advice.

In 2022, those who received advice were on average better off by around £6,444 per year. 95% of grant recipients reported that they were more in control of their situation following support from the Foundation.

Over the past few months, our Benevolent Service has dealt with several cases where Long Covid was a key factor. Through our support to individuals who have Long Covid, we have picked up a number of issues. These include that some have continued to work despite having the condition, that many felt uncertain about the future, and that agency nurses were particularly affected by loss of income. Furthermore, many of the issues faced by those seeking our grants and support have been exacerbated by the cost of living crisis.

David (not his real name) is a nurse with Long Covid who received a grant from us. He told us:

“I was infected with COVID-19 in while at work, caring for 4 positive patients on the unit I was in charge of, which then led to a number of other health conditions arising concerning my lower bowel. I ended up with COVID related fatigue and lower bowel inflammation leading to Diverticulitis.”

Whilst being unable to work, David was also in the middle of a prolonged house sale and was significantly in debt to friends and family in order to keep financially afloat. The Foundation was able to provide a grant of £1,000 to support David whilst he tried to get his life back on track.

We know that it can be hard to ask for help, especially when you’re used to helping others. But everyone can feel overwhelmed, stressed and worried, especially about money. So if you feel that you need some support, please get in touch with us. You can find out more about our Benevolent Service here.

Deepa Korea, RCN Foundation Director

Author: Alison Twycross PhD RN

Chair - Supporting Healthcare Heroes UK; Editor-in-Chief - Evidence Based Nursing; Former Deputy Dean and Professor of Children’s Nursing

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