A nurse from Tean hopes social care workers will get more recognition as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lucy Salt, 28, started work at Barrowhill Hall – her first job in the care sector – just three months ahead of the national outbreak.
“Before this happened, I think care homes were forgotten,” said Lucy. “Now, I think there’s more awareness. I hope people will have more respect for us and the job we do.’’
Day-to-day care of more than 60 residents at Barrowhill Hall changed in advance of the pending pandemic.
Strict infection control measures were put in place. Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and checking their own and residents’ temperatures became mandatory for all staff.
“As a nurse I am used to minimising infection but the pandemic changed things completely,” said Lucy.
Because our residents are living with dementia they don’t all understand why things have changed, why we’re wearing masks or why they can’t see their family.”
Keeping residents and staff safe continues to be the priority for Barrowhill Hall.
The home closed its doors to all but essential visitors two weeks ahead of government recommendations. It introduced hand sanitising at the door as well as a disinfectant mat for staff to walk through.
Resident safety is priority
Through close liaison with Public Health England, managers at the home act on the very latest guidance. Staff check their temperatures before starting care and residents’ health is closely monitored.
Lucy, a former respiratory nurse for the NHS, believes the events of the last three months have brought her and her colleagues closer together.
“Everyone’s worked as a team. They’ve all been really supportive of me. I have a two year old little girl at home and I was worried about keeping her safe, but everything has been done to protect us and the residents.’’
The community has given Barrowhill Hall a huge amount of support. Encouraging messages have been posted on social media and donations including masks, hand creams, and treats for residents and staff, have been sent in.
Lucy hopes their recognition of care workers will continue.
Every day is different
“I may not work in a hospital setting but I am still a Registered Nurse, and social care is a brilliant place to work,” said Lucy.
“I’m thankful to the NHS for the experience it gave me but here I can build relationships with the residents. I’ve got time to talk to them and to hear their stories. And every day is different. I love it.”
“These are unprecedented times but Lucy has coped amazingly well,” said home manager, Matthew Whitfield.
“As well as being caring, you have to be adaptable in a care setting. I’m proud of the way Lucy, and her colleagues, have supported one another and have responded to the demands placed on them’’