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COVID-19 Update from Father Hudsons Care

Care teams look to the future as they adapt to life after lockdown

Bungalows

The Coronavirus pandemic has been a difficult time for many, and for St Catherine’s Bungalows and Day Service, it has brought significant changes to daily life.

Both services provide daily support for adults with a range of disabilities and complex care needs through personalised care and meaningful activities. They work to empower their residents and service users to live fulfilling and happy lives of their choosing by providing the right support to enable them to do so.

The clients who attend Day Service and the people living at St Catherine’s Bungalows were used to enjoying active social lives and taking part in activities they wanted to do. However, when the lockdown occurred, this meant that such activities had to pause. The Day Service had to temporarily close to protect the health of the vulnerable adults who attend.

Despite the restrictions, staff from both teams persevered in finding new ways to support their clients during the most difficult times. The managers from both services have shared their experiences.

 

Helen Anson, manager of St Catherine’s Bungalows, writes:

For us, since easing of the restrictions, life has been no different as we continue to care and support our residents in the same way.

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We have become more innovative using technology to help the residents stay inContact with their family members. I have even carried out reviews using ZOOM with residents and families.

Our residents are not accessing the community, as they are in the vulnerable category and staff have to wear PPE at all times when supporting them – this would look odd out in the community and draw attention to the resident.

It was extremely difficult for staff to work wearing PPE through the summer. Life as a support worker is very different today compared to this time last year. Staff can no longer sit with a resident and share a cup of tea or slice of cake. Mealtimes used to be a social experience for all, but now residents have their meals first and staff take a quick rest break when they can, which has to be away from where the residents are.

We all spend a lot of time putting on and taking off PPE – staff can go through 25-30 different sets of PPE each shift and are constantly washing their hands – we are all so much more aware of infection prevention and control.

Staff are weekly tested for Covid and residents are tested every 28 days. If a resident has to go into hospital for an overnight stay or longer, they have to isolate for 14 days upon their return.

We have organised lots of different activities to help curb the boredom and monotony of each day. Activities also help to keep a fun element in the residents’ home and staffs’ role.

/media/news/library/paul---quiz.jpgWe have been very well supported by our residents’ family members who have understood why there have been restrictions on visiting. I meet with a group of family members weekly via ZOOM, where I update them on any changes. Families have joined in our challenges too and helped us by sending care packages in particular when we were finding it hard to get hold of toiletries at the beginning of lockdown.

I do think the Staff team – House Keepers, Support Workers, Admin Support and Senior Care Leaders – have been amazing, not only adapting to a new way of life but also keeping all our residents safe and well and adapting to a new way of working.         

 

Karen McPherson, manager of St Catherine’s Day Service, writes:

When the centre closed in March due to lockdown, we started providing telephone outreach to service users’ families, along with shopping and drop offs of anything they needed. One of the drivers even delivered a birthday cake to a service user who was shielding as they were unable to purchase a cake or the ingredients to make one.

While the centre remained closed, residents from the Bungalows and our Domiciliary Care team were able to use the sensory room and to meet with family members in private when visits were once again permitted. 

We started to do outreach work from the start of September to our service users. Staff pick up clients from their home and take them to local beauty spots and for walks and sometimes do different activities whilst out in the park. We have visited places like the Lickey Hills, St Nicholas Park in Warwick, and Coombe Abbey.

We also offer support to our service users that live at St Catherine’s Bungalows, doing activities with those that would normally attend day services. 

/media/news/library/simon-parents-and-martha.jpgIn later September we were pleased to welcome some of our service users back into the building. For the clients that come into the building, we offer activities of art and craft, sensory room, gardening, music, and baking. We have separated the building into bubbles, and we remain in those bubbles. Staff are working really hard in all areas during these strange times.

Our drivers now help with staff transport, gardening and outreach when we need a driver.

I am very proud of all of the staff who have shown great strength of character throughout this period and have continued to offer care in all areas where they have been needed. I am also very proud of our service users who have had no support from outside carers and have been at home with their parents or carers. They have coped incredibly well and have adapted to the new way of how Day Service is delivered. I am particularly proud of how they have adapted to staff wearing full PPE. It must have been especially hard for those who depend on reading someone’s facial expression to help communicate when staff have part of their face covered in a mask. Some have found it very funny and have laughed at staff in masks, and everyone has accepted it as a sign of the time and know it is to keep everyone safe.         

 

As the guidance around coronavirus continues to change, both staff teams are ready to adapt as needed to ensure the safety and happiness of their clients. Whatever happens, they are committed to providing the best possible care and support. Father Hudson's Care is proud of all adult care staff who continued supporting our residents, tenants and clients throughout the pandemic. 

 

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