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Bucks care home staff 'at last' recognised for hard work

The Chief Exec of the Fremantle Trust says staff have done an amazing job during the lockdown.

Published by Dan Gooding at 12:02pm 4th May 2020. (Updated at 3:54pm 4th May 2020) 4-minute read.

Bucks care home staff 'at last' recognised for hard work

We've heard a lot about the tough situations in care homes, but one Buckinghamshire group say adapting to the crisis has highlighted how much carers care.

The Fremantle Trust's Chief Exec, Sara Livadeas wanted to share how they have had to adapt during lockdown.

She told us:

"We've had care workers decide to move in, others start doing hairdressing.

"I had no idea that so many of our care workers could turn their hands to hairdressing skills.

"The really brilliant thing about the workforce is that they have come up with their own ideas, so the teams in each location have really adapted and worked together tremendously."

window visit, 100 year old Joan
100 year old Joan getting a window visit

The Trust have also created a new role, called a Support Worker, so we have benefited from some of the people who have been furloughed locally or people who want to volunteer.

They have come to work with us in a more generic support role, helping out with all sorts of things.

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New ways to connect

105 year Eileen on Whatsapp with her daughter
105 year Eileen on Whatsapp with her daughter

Residents have had to get used to the new situation as well, as friends and family can't visit.

Sara added:

"So they are using different methods of staying in touch, like Familygram, video calls...

"I saw only yesterday some of our residents who were playing Scrabble using Skype, so they were connecting with people outside the home.

"We have also had people singing. One chap used to be a member of a choir and his daughter and her friends called up and they sang together over video chat."

Tablets bought with money from Hearts of Bucks - Carey Lodge
Tablets bought with money from Hearts of Bucks - Carey Lodge

Community foundation Hearts of Bucks gave the Trust a £5,000 grant which was used to buy tablets for residents, and a Google Chrome set has enabled Zumba lessons to be taught live by an instructor.

It was “very difficult” to close the care homes to families but through the use of technology and social-distancing solutions, residents have been finding ways to stay in touch with their loved ones.

scrabble with Skype
Scrabble with Skype

A 100-year-old lady called Joan is visited almost every day by her daughter, son-in-law and their dog, who talk to her through her window and from a safe distance.

Another resident, 104-year-old Eileen, uses WhatsApp regularly to communicate with her family.

Recognition at last

Care worker - Hairdresser

As we clap for carers each Thursday evening, it has meant more of us are acutely aware of the role care staff play in our communities.

Although teams have had to adapt, Sara told us the current situation means appreciation at last for what they do:

"I am in awe of the work the teams are doing.

"They are the people who really care, but I have to say that this is not so unusual.

"They work in care services because they care, managing infection control, supporting people at end-of-life, they support families.

"What they are doing is really, really normal and I am really pleased that it is at last being recognised."

Sara told us she believes this situation will change how they work in the future.

Sara delivering PPE to one of homes, Fremantle Court
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