Theresa Fitzsimmons, Manager, Buckreddan Care Centre

How have you been able to keep a focus on  what matters to people during COVID? 

During COVID-19 it has been much easier to focus on what really matters to the residents. This has been possible due to the reduction in footfall through the care home. Relationship care has been the priority at this time, utilising our facebook page and twitter to keep families aware of what is happening within the home.  We have also made great use of video calling to allow residents to see their loved ones. Staff have become much tighter and every member of the team has pulled together to ensure the spirits of the residents are raised. We have had many fabulous donations from residents’ families and members of the community. A real sense of community spirit is evident. Positivity from everyone has raised staff morale beyond expectation and this  in turn has been reflected in the spirits of the residents. 

What have you had to do differently and what made this possible? 

We have had to engage with families in a very different way via telephone, social media  and video calls. We have also had to be very innovative in the activities provided during  this time. As we have been unable to support our residents to attend outside activities,  we have been supported by amazing members of the community in bringing outside activities to the home.  

We have had BBQs & Mocktails when the weather has been kind to us. We have had an  outside DJ, and outside singer, and a visit from “The Queen”, who joined our Thursday  evening #clapforcarers. We joined with Carer Alliance on Friday afternoons at 3pm for  their weekly #1SongSingaLong. Our residents and staff have also become great at TikTok  videos.

An amazing outcome for one particular resident with the use of doll therapy was priceless  and captured on video for her family who very kindly allowed us to share this on our  facebook page for almost 500k people to have access to watch and learn from. 

What have you noticed that has been better? 

We have had more time to spend with residents due to reduced footfall. This has been beneficial to staff and residents. We have however been fortunate so far and have not had an outbreak of C-19.  

Assisting residents to video call and face time their families has helped staff develop more mutually appreciative relationships with relatives. We have learned more about the dynamics of family relationships, and the importance of these to the wellbeing of individuals. This has allowed us to get to know more about residents, families and their relationships. 

Appreciation of what care is delivered in care homes has also been greatly increased. 

How did this make you feel?  

This has made us all feel much more appreciative of what matters most to our residents.  It has also made us fell much more appreciated. 

What have you learned through this?  

We have learned that people are what actually matters at the end of the day.  

Paperwork is important, I agree, however this should not be given more recognition or  made more important than the delivery of care. The compassion, the way care is  delivered and the special relationships that staff develop with the people they care for all  need to come first.