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Staff move into care home to help protect residents from Covid-19

April 22, 2020

Nine staff at the White House, a 22-bed care home, in Teignmouth, part of Centrum Group, have temporarily moved into the home to protect the home’s 17 residents from the Covid-19 virus.

When care workers and domestic staff at the home realised that they could not guarantee social distancing as the residents all have dementia, they decided to move into the home to minimise the risk to the residents. They have now been living at the home for a month.

Registered manager Demelza Lamport Coles said it was the care assistants who fronted the idea of moving into the care home.

“A lot of the staff came to me collectively and said this is something we should consider,” said Demelza.

The staff have converted the offices and one of the residents’ flats into makeshift bedrooms with camping gear. They also have a caravan on site which was donated for the period of the lockdown in by a local person in case anyone wants quiet time.

The team are quite multi-disciplinary taking on various roles being a small specialist home. The registered care manager has joined the team leader and five care staff, doing night shifts twice a week, the domestic and maintenance co-ordinator is the cleaner and cook for the home. Staff have developed a rota so that they have two days off and share the work load.

The initiative has meant the nine staff members are unable to go home and see their own families. Many of them have had to make arrangements for other family members to take care of their children in order to do this.

Katie Smith, who has started working as a care assistant at the home only recently, said she was nervous about the lockdown, but she is remaining very positive.

“The positive of us all being here is the residents all seem a lot calmer. Seeing the same faces each day has made a massive difference,” said Katie.

“The thing that keeps me going is the staff and the residents, because it’s just like one big family living together.”

Sorelle Martin, domestic and maintenance co-ordinator at the White House, echoed this. “We all try and keep each other’s morale up- the residents have fun with us as well. They seem very calm – most of them are eating better,” said Sorelle.

The team at the White House have organised video calls to connect residents with their families. The care assistants are still working their regular shifts to ensure they all have well-deserved breaks from work.

Centrum Group director Tushar Shah said it was heart-warming to see staff put the needs of residents ahead of their own and move into the care home to self-isolate.

“The crisis is a challenge for all of us, however those living with dementia will not be able to understand the concept of social distancing and self-isolation,” said Mr Shah.

“The only way the staff could protect and care for our residents was to move in with them. What has been really positive is how the lock-in to the home has allowed the residents and carers to develop a stronger bond. “We always knew that care staff were superheroes, but this pandemic has brought the best out of all key workers in society. For this, our residents, their families and local community are really grateful for their sacrifice and dedication.”

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