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CARE workers are doing absolutely fantastic work providing care to the most vulnerable people in our community. But what is it like for them and how are they coping?
Here Melksham Independent News chats to Abigail Needs, care manager with Four Hills Care who have 25 staff providing over 900 visits a week to provide care to around 40 people locally.
What does your work involve?
We are a domiciliary care company, so we visit our service users in their own home and support them with aspects of daily living. The areas we cover are Westbury, Warminster, Trowbridge, Melksham and surrounding areas. We currently cover roughly 900 visits per week. We supply support with personal care, shopping, hoisting, meal and hydration preparation, and emotional support.
How are you and your staff all coping?
We are fortunate to have a fantastic team of carers, and a great coordination team; all our employees maintain a positive outlook on what is happening – we have to, for ourselves and for those we support.
This is obviously a very challenging time for us but by working together we can get through most things. Our carers are extremely understanding toward the situation and are aware of the current situations with the lack of PPE and the Government’s guidelines toward this.
We have had a very supportive team of volunteers making face masks for our carers to wear to help to reduce the risk of spreading the infection. We have also had kind donations form Shine (The Cleaning Group) of hand sanitisers, and St Augustine’s and John Of Gaunt schools in Trowbridge have donated their PPE from their science labs to help us to get through the current situation.
We have unfortunately had to close the office for the time being but calls have been diverted to the on call phone, so we are still able to advise and respond when we need to.
How challenging have things been?
Very, with a national lack of PPE, some of our carers having to isolate and ongoing updates regarding Covid-19, it is easy to be pulled into a negative whirlpool.
I think the overall concern for our customers and carers is that of the community surrounding us. Making sure that everything we do is not posing a risk to anyone else, and making sure our customers receive the same quality of care that they have always received from us.
Although this is not the time to be focusing on finance, it is difficult not to be concerned, with businesses closing all around you. We have a duty of care to all our customers, and no matter how challenging things become, we have to continue with a smiling face.
Local councils and other care providers are offering support if and when we need it, we are also offering to help them as and when we can.
How are the people you help bearing up?
They remain as cheerful as ever, always telling us to help ourselves to drinks during the calls. They are self isolating to reduce the risk as much as possible, so when we arrive we are often the only people they see during the day, so there is rarely a lack of conversation.
A lot of people are clapping outside on a Thursday as part of the Clap for our carers campaign. What are your thoughts about this?
We are so overwhelmed regarding the community spirit for all the NHS and key workers. Our employees obviously do this job because they enjoy it, but it’s always nice to feel appreciated.