COVID-19: A carer's perspective

What's it like working on the front line of the care sector in the midst of a global pandemic? We asked one of our care home managers to give her perspective.

 

Frightening. Exhausting. Inspiring. Unbelievable. It’s hard to find words to describe life during a global pandemic. No-one has experienced anything like it before. Everyone has their own individual hopes and fears. Lockdown has made home life unrecognisable for many, and it is no different for those living in Parklands and Burnbank. For those of us working in the care sector, though, there has really only been one way to respond. Keep Calm and Carry On.

Of course, many aspects of day to day life in our homes have had to be modified, adapted or suspended. Hygiene protocols are even more regular and thorough than usual. Staff change into and out of their uniforms at work to reduce the risk of carrying the virus into the homes. There are no visitors coming in and no trips outside are allowed.

   

Ensuring that residents and their families are able to remain in touch has been a priority. FaceTime calls have proven to be an effective and popular means of achieving this. Our activities coordinator and care staff have been going above and beyond to provide a program of stimulating, entertaining and healthy pursuits to cater for the interests and abilities of everyone in our homes.

Senior management are in touch with all the homes daily to ensure that every practical measure is in place to keep carers and residents safe and well and maintain the quality of life that they deserve.

Relatives have been incredibly supportive, understanding of why visiting can’t happen at the moment, and offering to help in any way they can. Our wider community has also got on board, with Buckie Thistle supplying us with juice and sweets, and Subway dropping off sandwiches to the homes. A huge thank you to everyone who has had us in their thoughts and contributed to the effort to keep life going.

I have nothing but pride in the way the Parklands family has pulled together and risen to this unprecedented challenge. We absolutely are all in this together. Our routines may have changed, but the values and standards that underpin our practice have always been in place. That is the beauty of the person-centred approach that I and everyone who works for Parklands have been trained in. That is why, in spite of the vulnerability of our residents, the fears and frustrations of their loved ones, and the understandable anxieties of staff coming in to a group environment and then returning to their family homes, we feel prepared for and committed to meeting the challenges that the COVID-19 crisis has so suddenly and unexpectedly thrown up.

Denise Risk - Manager, Parklands & Burnbank Care Homes