Read below or click here to see our CEO, Sara Livadeas, vlogging with Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire Council. We appreciate the vote of confidence in our services and it gave Sara the opportunity to show off all the wonderful work that our teams are doing.
To say that recent weeks have been a challenge is something of an understatement, but I’m really pleased to say that our residents, our families and our employees have really risen to the challenge.
We’ve learnt new skills, tried new ways of working and we’ve been supporting each other.
It was a very difficult decision to close our homes to visitors a few weeks ago, but we’ve been working really hard to support people to stay in touch with their friends and relatives using a variety of different methods. Some quite straightforward, liked the good old fashioned phone or learning to do video calls using Skype and Facetime. We’ve found that age is no barrier to using technology. Others, who can visit, do so face to face by talking through the window.
The Council have been very supportive and we’re grateful to the local community who helped us. Heart of Bucks gave us £5,000 grant to buy tablets which facilitate the video calls and we received more kit as John Lewis offered a discount.
We bought Google Chromecast sets which convert a TV into a Smart TV. Our Zumba teacher can no longer come into the care homes so she delivers her Zumba class through the television screen to our residents - a great way to ensure we don’t put on too much weight during lockdown!
Many of our regular entertainers come and perform music or sing in the garden. Helped by this beautiful weather, residents can sit on their balconies or around the edge of the garden, maintaining a safe distance and enjoy the concert.
I’m grateful too for the many donations and messages of support. School children have sent us cards and pictures, we were given chocolate eggs from Hazlemere Golf Club, High Wycombe Lions and Morrisons at Easter; while Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have been keeping us supplied with lovely flowers to cheer us up.
We’ve been delivering online training, not just to our new recruits but to existing employees.
We’ve maintained really high standards of infection control. We have good supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which we have learnt to put on and off safely. We follow all the government guidance but I have to say that keeping up with the constant changes hasn’t been easy.
We are very grateful to Ian Goodchild from The Print Lab who has supplied us with 175,000 masks and he’s literally around the corner from our headquarters in Aylesbury, so we are using a local supplier.
We are short of nurses in some services, so care workers have been learning new skills such as clinical tasks, taking observations and so on. We have set up telemeds in all our homes, which means we can communicate with doctors through a screen to save GPs from visiting. It’s not just clinical skills: our care teams have become hairdressers, cooks and entertainers. Some of them of actually moved into the care home to reduce the risk of infection.
I am really proud of the way that the whole team, the household staff, cooks, chefs, nurses, administrators and managers have all stepped up and I am in awe of them and the work they do to ensure that residents stay safe and well and life goes on as normal.