Each week, we receive dozens of stories from care workers and managers across the country as they battle to provide the best care and support possible amid this crisis. These stories are remarkable – like the people behind them. Many of them are uplifting. Here are just a few of our colleagues’ heroic, kind and increasingly widely-appreciated efforts.
Front line workers take the initiative …
Extraordinary times call for extraordinary behaviours. And we’re seeing that, up and down the UK, in the generosity, sacrifices and resourcefulness of our care workers, managers and of the wider community. Care workers are risking their health and giving up family unity and holiday time in order to carry on looking after clients. They are, without fail, “putting the service users first,” says Hannah Marsh, regional manager, Midlands. Their mindset is that “if we get it, we’re young and fit enough to fight it off,” says Hannah. Her message echoes similar stories of bravery from across the country.
Hannah Ford, extra care manager in the Salford area, manages 350 clients across six care schemes – including 25 people with high needs. Without fail, “staff are going above and beyond,” she says, coming in early, staying late, doing additional calls and extra shopping trips out of hours. At Bourke Gardens, in Manchester, two clients with confirmed COVID-19 are in hospital, six are in isolation, and four staff are off. The rest are stepping up, including by helping deliver dozens of meals to Bourke Gardens customers in their rooms, as the restaurant has shut down.
The nationwide shortage of masks and protective equipment is placing additional stress on care workers and managers at precisely the time they are needed the most. “One of our clients had symptoms, but we couldn’t go in, it was awful,” recalls Hannah Ford. The urgent need drove her to join a local managers’ network in Salford to appeal for help. It worked: a local care home offered 100 masks, which Hannah collected and distributed to help make up the shortfall.
In Leith, Scotland regional manager Lynne Hewitt ordered 30 face masks from enterprising local citizen Conal Kelly, who had begun making them from home. “He was giving them away to help local health and social care groups,” she reports. Lynne’s team – like all the others across the nation – need more face masks. But for now, “it’s enough to keep those care workers who are at-risk out there,” she says. Not a single care worker on Lynne’s team has refused to make a visit because of fear of contagion. “They have a bond” with those they are taking care of, Lynne reports.
There was further fierce community spirit from the Leith gin distillery, which has re-purposed its operations to produce hand-sanitizer. “They are giving the hand-sanitizer out in lovely glass gin bottles, because that is all they have got,” says Lynne. Lynne procured five-for-a-pound small plastic bottles at Pound Land which she fills up for her care workers, telling them to return when they need re-filling.
These enterprising, community-driven production lines are already vital in supporting the most vulnerable, and will continue to be. So will all the extraordinary extra miles that care workers and managers are putting in. “I’m working seven days a week from 6am, and still getting calls at midnight,” says Hannah Ford. She is not alone.
If you have a story please let us know: Covid19response@candchealthcare.co.uk