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Caring during a world pandemic

Case study giving insights into how caring during a world pandemic can be delivered with compassion by a staff member at Premier Homecare

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caring during world pandemic

An insight at working as a carer in the community during the Corona virus outbreak.

Looking after the elderly and most vulnerable people in their homes is part of my job as a care worker. I work for Premier Homecare, who are based in North Bristol and has a great team of employees. 

Both the office staff and the carers like me that work in the community pride themselves to offer outstanding care and support to their clients. The recent Corona virus outbreak has put us under significantly more pressure and brought new challenges to the team. However, we are ready to fight back to protect our clients and ourselves from this new enemy, which is claiming so many lives and putting the world on hold.

News Strategies have been put into place to protect our clients and carers:

Looking at the impact of Covid-19 in Europe and how serious the situation in countries like Italy and Spain, prompted a very quick review of how the Company operates and could keep going during this challenging time.

Some of the most significant changes have been:

Premier Homecare office was rearranged to provide social distancing and only authorised staff allowed in. Carers need to phone in when in need of more paperwork and PPE and wait outside/in their cars.

This is to make sure that the office can continue to work efficiently and limit the risks of illness among their staff. 

  • Thorough hand washing when entering and leaving client’s houses, gloves to be worn at all times and full PPE kit provided to be worn.

Limit our outings as much as possible. As care workers working with vulnerable people, we have been told from the very start to self isolate and avoid crowded places to limit the risk of contracting the virus.

  • Clients are not allowed to go out with their carers until further notice, so we need to make sure that we help as much as we can people that previously had an active social life, to feel less lonely and isolated.
  • Do extra shifts to cover illness and keep providing care if you are able too.

The importance of care workers and what we do

I have worked as a carer for 5 years now, and I find this job both as much rewarding as it is challenging. No two days are the same, and you often deal with the difficulties of looking after people with Alzheimer, Dementia and complex health issues. We also provide end of life care, which is often very emotional for us.

On the other hand it’s such an honour to provide care and support to the older generation, listen to their stories, provide companionship and make a real difference to their daily lives in the final stretch of their journey.

From zero to hero:

To be a good carer you need, first of all, to have a caring attitude, empathy, patience and be resilience if you want to make a difference in someone’s life when is most needed. We go through extensive training before we can work independently: First Aid, Manual Handling, Medicine Administration, Dementia Awareness to name just a few, and we are often the first to spot the signs when someone is not well; reporting to medical professionals on a regular basis and writing important reports. And yet, our job is often overlooked, underpaid and the care sector chronically underfunded. We fall into the “low skilled” category, and under the new immigration scheme, migrant workers such as myself, probably would not be granted entry, leaving a massive gap to fill in the care industry.

However when the lockdown begun, 4 weeks ago, we were called key workers, and it has been great to see our efforts and dedication being recognised and more appreciated: 

The Clap for the NHS and key workers on Thursdays is always very touching for me, as well as being able to go shopping at the supermarkets during the allocated times for Carers and NHS staff.

I sometimes get given priority in the queue as well when I wear my uniform, and one of my colleagues was applauded and given the drink she was going to buy for free at a petrol station!

I personally hope, that once we go back to normal and resume our daily lives, the importance we had during this world pandemic won’t be forgotten. And we can change the way we value the people who have helped the country stay afloat during this difficult time, whether they are carers, bin man, NHS staff, delivery drivers etc..

Of course key workers like me feel scared and often worry about being more exposed to the risk of catching the virus, but I believe that the one thing that we have in common amongst us in the frontline, especially in the NHS and care sector, is dedication and the willingness to be there for people when they need it the most.

I am very grateful to Premier Homecare for providing us with all the necessary PPE and very clear guidelines to follow during this difficult time, but unfortunately this is not the case for others in this line of work which is very worrying and has already cost the lives of many doctors and nurses.

So Remember, not all heroes wear capes and have super powers! They wear simple uniforms and look very ordinary, but they are not afraid to rise to the challenge even when the enemy it's invisible and shakes us to the core.

Laura Pelliccia-Hedges