- 24 November 2020
- 6 min read
Covid Vs Care: The Covid Pandemic Through The Eyes Of A Care Home Manager
Keynote speaker, and British Care Award Winner, Ian Donaghy interviews Care Home Manager, Dave Wint, on the impact that the pandemic has had on his staff, his residents and himself.
Topics covered in this article
I Never Signed Up For COVID
I never signed up for COVID.
Who would have thought, the beginning of the year, that things would transform to the extent they were?
Just before COVID began impacting on us, I'd just done the provider's information return for CQC.
It was all about inclusivity, all about activities, all about getting out there, families coming in and engaging, other services coming in and engaging with us, and overnight, it stopped.
We were withdrawn from day services, I pulled our lot out early.
We're front line, we weren't furloughed, we're still coming in.
I had to do travel passes so that when they were getting stopped by the police, it were like during the old pit strikes, they were pulling them up for coming into work and they have to give them their ID and say, "Well, actually I'm frontline, I'm a frontline carer".
They came and the trepidation of my staff team, it's an unseen killer isn't it?
You know what?
We've got policies in place and we've got the support networks in place and it was lovely.
We sat having dinner the other month and there were a couple of people, just express staff team, they said, "Dave, we feel so safe coming to work".
What a testimony that is.
We must be doing it right.
But then you look at the residents, not being able to see the families.
I always used to brag, we've got an open door policy.
You say to parents, "Pick the phone up before you come, because chances are they'll be out, but drop in anytime. We've nothing to hide".
We've Got A Duty Of Care, We've Got To Keep People Safe
Currently in the second lockdown now, fighting to get the families so they can actually see the residents, because it's not right.
We've got a duty of care, we've got to keep people safe, but it's not right not seeing family.
Family's at the heart of everything and we at The Oaklands, the staff, we're like an extended family.
I've got elderly mums and they haven't got time on their side.
They haven't got time on their side.
This year, it's a last year and they just cannot afford it.
Just before the second lockdown, we had one individual, her mum's was the lone carer before her daughter came into the Oaklands and she'd always lived in the family bungalow and she's moving bungalow.
She said, "Dave, Can I have her home one more time at our bungalow before I move?".
So we risk assessed it.
We did it.
We supplied a staff member.
We went and we did that visit and I tell you what, the mum was so, so grateful.
So, so grateful.
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What do YOU think?
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Yeah, we got another parent and they suffer from mental health and not being able to see their son, it's impacting so great.
So again, I got the family to self isolate for a week, so I know it's squeaky clean at their end and we're squeaky clean at our end and off they went and they had three or four days.
The guy came back, different individual, but the mum, it rescued her.
It rescued her.
That's the COVID, taking away everything that we're about.
All our inclusion, all our activities, everything that we're about.
It's about real inclusion, not just sat on a day service bus, looking out the window on the way to the day service.
That's not inclusion.
Inclusion is getting in, getting in, mixing, mixing with individuals, mixing with friends, mixing with your peer groups, mixing with your families and just doing the things that every day, people take for granted.
The Worst Thing About It Is There's No End Date
COVID's taken that, it's stripped it.
It's that day-to-day pressure because you can't see it.
We're okay today.
Pray to God, we’re okay tomorrow because it can turn in the blink of an eye.
You know the worst thing about it is there's no end date.
There's no end date.
It's like running a marathon, it's 26.2 mile, you hit the wall but you know that the end's in sight.
If you could say to me, "April, we're going to be out of the woods, Dave".
I can pace myself then.
It's not knowing, it's enduring, it's exhausting.
I had a staff meeting the other day where I focused on the mental health of my staff team, because they've got all their own problems.
They're going home to their families, they're being deprived of seeing their own families, they're in little support bubbles, they're missing out, like I am, with the grandkids, but then they come in to work and you got that added responsibility of keeping our humble residents safe.
The COVID Pandemic Has Absolutely Devastated Care
We've got dark nights coming.
First lockdown, in middle of summer.
You could go home, top your tan up.
We're going to be coming to work in dark, we're going to be going home in dark.
It's absolutely devastating.
The COVID pandemic has absolutely devastated care.
It's devastated care.
I've got colleagues of other care homes, good care home, proper care homes and they've lost individuals.
I know the impact it's had on them staff.
I know their staff team, they're broken, they're broken biscuits.
Our residents are our family.
They're like our brothers and our sisters.
We're always professional, but you've got to let them in.
My heart's on my sleeve and I care.
I care about my residents and that weight of responsibility as a manager, it weighs very, very heavy.
If I can come out this COVID with all my residents intact, healthy, safe, well, then I'm not really bothered what inspectors make of me because I know I'll have done my job.
Let us know in the comments your thoughts on the Dave's experience and how the pandemic may have impacted your workplace - let's chat there!
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