Carers in Huntingdonshire have been keping residents spirits up

Ferrars Hall Care Home in Huntingdon, The Marbrook Care Centre in St Neots and Fields Lodge Care Home in St Ives, all agree that one of the biggest challenges they face during this pandemic is keeping their residents in good spirits.

Mother’s Day was a particularly difficult day for many, as there have been restrictions in place for visitors within care homes even before the UK lockdown.

This meant many of the residents were not able to see family members and loved ones and in some cases it was difficult to explain the complexities of the current situation.

Hannah Mills, customer relations adviser at Ferrars Hall care home, in Huntingdon, said: “The biggest challenge was explaining to residents, why their families were not able to visit them.

“Some of the residents were upset and we had to explain to them, that we could not allow them to visit at this time to protect both the resident’s health and their loved one’s health.

“Mother’s Day was particularly difficult for many.

“We had to restrict visits from Monday, March 16, so, in effect, we have been on lockdown to protect the residents here at the care home.

“A lady called Karen Bateman kindly donated an ipad so that the residents here could face-time their family members and that way they can still get to see them.

“This made the residents feel better and worked really well.

“We are well equipped with PPE equipment and feel very blessed that we haven’t had any staff shortages at the moment.

“To keep the residents spirits up, we always make sure we have some music on in the care home, they can also watch films and we also have well-being co-ordinators who arrange different activities to keep spirits up every the day.”

The team at Fields Lodge care home, in St Ives, were also working hard to keep a sense of normality and enjoyment for residents living in the home.

Mother’s Day posed some difficult challenges, as residents were not able to enjoy the usual visits from their families.

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However, the home team rallied round with home manager Linda Martinez and lifestyle lead Sam Shepherd to support residents to make their calls.

The care home said over the course of six hours, they ran numerous face-time and Skype sessions giving families and residents the chance to chat and exchange good wishes, and all the ladies were presented with a bunch of daffodils.

Home manager of Fields Lodge, Linda Martinez said: “My whole team has been brilliant.

“Yesterday the chefs cooked more than one hundred doughnuts so everyone could celebrate doughnut day.

“We will be running a wine tasting session for residents; we certainly have a very packed schedule of events coming up.

“We do have some team members self-isolating and it’s not easy but we’re all pulling together and making sure residents are comfortable and have plenty to do.”

The Marbrook Care Centre in St Neots has also said it had some team members who have self isolated but are coping in terms of their staffing levels.

The care home have said ‘team Marbrook are like an army, they are determined, committed and selfless’.

Lesa McAnulty said: “For us care providers the challenges are on a different scale and the main concern is that everyone in our care falls within the ‘very vulnerable’ group.

“We protect them by having the very best infection control processes in place.

“However, we still have 100 plus staff in and out of the building plus visitors, who we have now restricted.

“This current offensive comes from an army of microscopic life forms floating in the air, hiding under our fingernails, in our hair and anywhere else they fancy hanging out.

“The best cleaning and hand washing practices can minimise risk, but it is impossible to ensure that we can maintain a virus free environment, but we are doing the very best we can.

“The concern for our residents’ welfare is the main issue but other things that occupy our mind when we go to bed are concerns about supplies of essential medical products, food, medication, soap and hand sanitiser, gloves and masks..

“Maintaining staffing levels which are safe and competent despite the large number of people needing to stay home is a major but not insurmountable challenge.”