During the Coronavirus pandemic many people have suffered, lost and sacrificed. Throughout this dark time there have also been certain individuals and groups have shared some light. We recently learnt about the lengths one of our clients have gone to in order to safeguard those in their care. The Management and the Staff at Court House Retirement Home in Cheddar (Somerset) made a huge commitment and sacrifice. 8 weeks ago they took the decision to move into the care home in order to reduce the risk to their residents. To sacrifice contact with family in the face of uncertainty takes a special calibre of carer. The decision was made to reduce the risk of staff contaminating the home as they came in and out for their shifts, instead they literally moved into the home. The team at Redcrier are really impressed with the selflessness shown by the staff at Court House and wanted to acknowledge the positive news by sharing this overview written by the Registered Manager of Court House:
“We at Court House, as well as the rest of the country were watching closely as the coronavirus story was unfolding in China and then Italy, it soon became apparent that we were not going to escape it.
Things were then changing daily and increasingly we all realised that was going to affect all of our lives although at the time none of us would believe in our worst nightmares to what extent.
We realised our environment was a ticking time bomb as far as the virus was concerned, with 23 residents between 90 and 106 years old, mostly with the underlying health issues that were being talked about.
We started preparing as best we could, buying in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) but everyone was having the same idea and we were struggling to buy alcohol hand gel.
People were starting to panic buy foods and toilet paper, having 29 toilets we were starting to worry about running out as you can imagine we do use a fair amount.
We then held a meeting with my management team and decided that we must stop any visitors coming into the home to try to minimise the risk of infection coming in.
This was Wednesday 18th March, this was difficult for the families as they know when they would see their elderly mums and dads again (or ever if the infection came in !)
We set up skype and facetime to aid communication.
Again as the days went on, more bad news was being reported and we hearing of 500, 600, 700 deaths a day and we were starting to hear stories of people locally having and dying from the virus.
We also starting hearing of care homes locally with cases and national stories of care homes losing 10-20 residents to the virus.
I immediately called my top team together and after a chat for about 15 minutes we realised that we had no choice but to shut up shop.
We realised that our Achilles heel was the staff coming in and out to work, they would go home, we were worried about their families distancing habits etc.
It was too much of a risk and as I said the decision made itself.
We needed a few days to talk to staff and to ensure we had rooms, mattresses and bedding as well as other supplies before we locked the gates.
I did have 3 empty rooms which I could have filled but decided not to as this was unfolding as I did not want to put a strain on the staff, so these were ideal places for the staff to sleep.
All of the workforce knew that this was what we needed to do and although there were some staff that couldn’t come in due to child and other commitments, 12 people agreed to do it.
The staff had the Easter Bank Holiday weekend to spend with their families and we locked in last Tuesday morning.
I was leaving my wife, along with my 22 year old & 4 year old daughters on the outside which was very tough.
My eldest daughter looks after our social media, I just ping her photos from the inside and she puts together some great Facebook and Instagram posts to keep the resident’s families & friends as well as interested people in the outside world informed of what is going on.
My Brother James also stayed on the outside so he could source supplies for us.
We held a residents meeting and explained what we were doing and the residents were so relieved, it was being reported daily about how the care Homes were the biggest risks and how many were dying in them. Residents families were equally happy and were grateful for the sacrifices we were making.
We are now nearly weeks into the lockdown, none of us have been able to go home to our families but things are going well.
The first few days were very emotional, but we are all actually really enjoying it and even more so in the knowledge that for now our residents are as safe as they could possibly be.
We are small in numbers, down to 9 staff members now, but are such a tight knit team, we are all working hard but so well together.
We have our chef Gary with us who is delighting us on a daily basis with his wizardry in the kitchen, this is really helping to keep us going.
We have had great support from the outside with local people making masks and scrubs for us and people dropping off cakes, wine, sweets, pamper products, paying for take-aways for us….the support has been incredible.
So 52 days and counting”.
Court House Retirement Home