At last it’s cool enough to think and therefore write this for you all – ‘phew what a scorcher’ seemed inadequate during the past days as the temperature rose ever higher.
Our loyal and gifted staff have worked hard to keep up with drinks and ice lollies to help our residents stay safe and hydrated. Homemade ice lollies also work well with children in the heat.
For the past fortnight we have been encouraging “through the window” visits for relatives on a very carefully distanced pre-booked rota system. This is a new experience for all of us and we have learned a great deal! Not least, to remind the resident of the visit, to remember to get the walkie talkie fully charged, to deal with late comers with courtesy and to ensure the other residents in our homes do not have their lives disturbed too much by the visitors as certain rooms become unavailable to ensure the privacy of conversations. Our homes were not purpose built!
We were concerned that our residents might find the visits distressing, although we had no real idea as to how this might be expressed. Jenny devised a happiness chart using emojis which has been encouragingly useful both before and after visits. It’s so simple to use and helps staff who are looking after residents. There has been some degree of anxiety from one or two residents, but not sufficient to need intervention by a GP: we have spent some time looking for things which have been tidied away in unusual places – a sure sign of anxiety, but that provides some amusement as well as we play a sort of hunt the thimble.
As long as the weather stays reasonable,“through the window” visits will continue. We realise there are draw backs, of course, but the coronavirus is a very major drawback which we want to continue to keep well away from both our homes!
So what will happen next?
We cannot suddenly create space in which to put up conservatories or find pergolas. What we are already devising is a way of working with screens as in many shops today. Plans are gradually coming into place, but with little or no guidance from the Government – the Care Sector seems to have been “forgotten” once again in the furore about exam results – we are being very cautious. We believe that this is not the time for complacency, but for vigilance.
We hope that you agree.
Chair of Trustees