Staff at a Fenland care home complex have been praised as “incredible” by bosses as they continue the fight to keep the coronavirus at bay.
Aliyyah-Begum Nasser, Director at Askham Village Community in Doddington, cannot speak highly enough of the staff who man the group of five specialist care/rehabilitation centres on the site off Benwick Road.
“We have been extremely lucky so far in keeping the virus out of Askham. That is partly down to the pre-planning and getting ahead of the curve by putting the homes into lockdown a week earlier than the Government guidelines.
“It was a hard decision to make to advise relatives and friends they could not come in for visits. Seeing their family and friends is very important for our residents, it is one of the things they look forward to most, so it was hard to tell them they could not have visitors. We would not be human if we did not worry about the risks, this is a care home after all and the clue is in the title – care home.
“Staff were advised to behave as if they have the virus and are asymptomatic – that means still coming into work, but being extra diligent in taking all the necessary precautions like using PPE and following strict hygiene protocols including washing their hands – all the things the Government is advising people to do to keep safe.
“For our staff it is even harder as they worry 24 hours a day about what might happen if the virus gets into Askham. Fortunately we have plenty of PPE as we put in a large order from China before lockdown – again thinking ahead and getting what we needed rather than relying on the Government.
“As well as stopping visitors we have also stopped socialising between the five different complexes. Normally everyone would interact with each other, no matter where they live in the community village, but now they are restricted to their own block.
“Staff have been brilliant in helping residents stay in touch with their families and friends using Skype, Facebook and other social media – something many of our residents would not have dreamed of using before. Families are also sending in letters and photographs.
“We are part of a support network made up by care providers across Cambridgeshire. We meet every week via Zoom and members of the local clinical commissioning group and the Care Quality Commission normally attend too. It has been a huge support, we not only have great comradery offering each other comfort, but also useful support like clubbing resources together and advice on best practice.
“The silver lining to all this is the innovation we have had to use at Askham to keep our residents safe and entertained. I know it could change at any moment, but every day we are virus free, I look to the sky and say thank-you – what more can you do? I’m just so grateful to our incredible staff. I have run out of ways to say thank-you to them for all that they are doing – picking up extra shifts and covering for each – they truly are tremendous and we are lucky to have such a team.”