Coping with Covid in Care Homes: Doveleigh Care staff talk about the challenges and the rewards

  Posted: 30.04.21 at 13:19 by Philippa Davies

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Last month we took a look at the crucial role played by Doveleigh Care’s domestic cleaning staff in keeping the homes Covid-free.

In this article, we’re turning our attention to an assistant manager, Stacie Mcgrory; a deputy manager, Sally O’Sullivan; a senior carer, Rosie Geale; and a care assistant, Lucy Selley. We asked them how their normal duties had changed during the Covid pandemic, what have been the most challenging aspects of their work and what have been the most rewarding. We also asked them what had helped them to cope.

Assistant Manager Stacie said: “My usual and normal duties pre-pandemic were supporting the team to carry out outstanding care; well, this is still very much the case during the pandemic. We have all had to adapt to changes, be this PPE or adapted visiting, temperature checks and additional cleaning.

"That has been the most challenging aspect, but it has all been worth it and now is the new normal. The most rewarding thing has been knowing that through the whole team’s hard work we have remained Covid-free and that has been something to be proud of. Also, helping individuals engage and try new things like Skype and Zoom.

"What’s helped me to cope is the team and the individuals we support - knowing we are making a difference a day at a time to their lives is worth any struggle or difficulty.”

'The changing rules have been a challenge'

Deputy Manager Sally O'Sullivan

Deputy Manager Sally said: “My normal duties include running a shift and managing the home in the absence of the manager. I have found that the changing rules have been a challenge and supporting families with this has been hard.

"The most rewarding thing is that now we can now have visitors and seeing the smiles on their faces. I am proud that we have remained Covid-free. Everyone has worked hard with this.

"What has helped me to cope is knowing that I do everything to the best of my ability when I am on shift to enable us to remain Covid-free. I enjoy supporting staff and helping them where I can.”

New procedures for visits

Senior Carer Rosie said the restrictions on visits had made the main difference to her role during the pandemic.

Rosie Geale with activities co-ordinator Trevor Hunt

She said: “When we could once simply welcome family through the door, it has suddenly become a little more clinical with following new procedures and this of course can take time. Also, the wearing of more PPE during the working day and lots of cleaning! Keeping an eye on which rooms need cleaning due to visits and making sure visitors are all tested before they walk through the door.

"The most challenging aspect has been the mask! When you are moving around so much and your face, expressions and communication is such a big part of the job, the mask can make this more challenging, for not only you but the people in your care. Smiles are massively important in our role and the mask has obviously changed that!

"The most rewarding thing has been seeing the joy on the residents’ faces when they have a visit or a Skype call from family that they have not been able to see in such a long time! But for me it’s always the little things, such as sharing a joke with them or chatting about a shared interest. I think humour is important and having good banter with someone can simply make their day. And mine!

"I’m lucky enough to have a garden which I have spent a lot of time in, growing whatever I can! This has made for some lovely conversations which the residents. I’m a keen runner so this has been happening, but also keeping a positive spirit up even though it has not been an easy time for anyone. All of that has helped me to cope.”

The learning curve of adapting to wearing masks

Care Assistant Lucy Selley

Care assistant Lucy agreed that the wearing of masks has been particularly challenging: “They can be quite uncomfortable at times, mostly on hot busy days. Masks have also made communication between staff and residents difficult, especially with residents who are deaf/hard of hearing and would usually rely on lip reading. But I think it’s a learning curve we’ve all tackled well.

"The most rewarding thing, personally, is my job in general. I love what I do and I know that at the end of each shift I can leave work with a smile on my face knowing I’ve done well. I’m grateful that I was (and still am) able to work during the pandemic as I know a lot of people unfortunately lost their jobs.

"I have loved the sweet little gifts/gift boxes we have received from our management team and boss for our hard work. It’s nice to know our hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. The main thing that has helped me cope is my colleagues and everyone I work with. I’ve only been at Arcot for just over seven months and everyone has been so welcoming and supportive which has made work 100 times more enjoyable. I feel extremely lucky to have an amazing work family.”

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