Nursing Opinion

Nursing in care homes during the Coronavirus

Jocelyn Caballero, Senior Registered Nurse at Brunelcare’s Deerhurst Care Home

I started my nursing career in 1991, nearly 30-years ago in the beautiful Philippines, where my specialism was helping and supporting acutely unwell patients. I worked in the capital, Manila, on the mainland West coast. I worked in Manila General Hospital for a total of eight-years and I loved every second of it.

I moved from the Philippines to the UK in April 2001 after being offered a job at Brunelcare. I was keen to progress my Nursing career in a Care Home setting and bring with me a wealth of knowledge to the charity.

I’m now a Registered Senior Nurse and Deputy Manager at Brunelcare’s Deerhurst Care Home, located in Soundwell, Bristol. I have been with the charity for nearly 20-years and am helping, caring and supporting elderly people living with a dementia.

My favourite part of my career is spending good quality time with our residents and ensuring their well-being is the best it can possibly be. It’s a real shame, that only now, during the Coronavirus pandemic, people seem to recognise the huge efforts of Nurses and Careers from across the sector. Delivering excellent, quality care for elderly and vulnerable people isn’t something new, we’ve been doing this for centuries, with the same amount of passion, enthusiasm and want to care as we have today. We’ve not improved our services, we’ve simply adapted them in this time of need and I think it’s important that people remember that.

How my role as a Senior Registered Nurse has changed since Covid-19

As a Nurse working in a Care Home, my day-to-day role during the Coronavirus has changed considerably. From having to follow the latest Government advice, down to the uniform we wear, we have to ensure we wear full PPE, masks, gloves and sometimes aprons when administering medication to our residents. As some of our residents are living with a dementia, they sometimes struggle to grasp an understanding of the wider world, why their loved ones haven’t been visiting and why the people that care for them are in masks. It’s now my role to explain this to them and make sure they aren’t unsettled about circumstances or scared by the news they may hear on the television or radio.

It’s also been different at the home as you’re unable to interact with the families and friends that come to see their loved ones. You spend years building these relationships with people and for now, and for the safety of our residents, they aren’t allowed to visit. Instead of families visiting their loved ones, we have taken measures into our own hands. We use technology such as Whatsapp, Facetime, email and even simple telephone calls to connect families.

We also have to look for symptoms of poor health in our employees and residents and conduct twice daily temperature checks to ensure temperatures are staying at a normal level, this, was something we didn’t have to do before the virus. Another stark difference is our weekly GP rounds, this is now undertaken virtually, with a GP on an iPad, speaking to our residents to ensure they’re okay. Usually the GP would visit our Brunelcare sites, but unfortunately, this is no longer an option.

The difference in Hospital Nursing and Care Home Nursing

I have had eight-year’s experience working as a Nurse in Manila and have 20-years experience of working as a Senior Registered Nurse within a Care Home, the main difference is, getting to really know the people you care for. There’s such a turnover of patients within a hospital setting, you still deliver quality care with a passion, yet are unable to deliver a person centered approach like you are in a care home setting. At Deerhurst we take the time to really get to know our residents, their life-history, likes and dislikes, families and hobbies, in a hospital setting you simply don’t have enough time to do this. Patients are gone before you can get to know them.

The different in Nursing practices from the Philippines to the UK

Our nursing qualification in the Philippines is a four-year course, the training is rigid and strict and you must be able to pass the board by demonstrating you’re an expert in all areas, such as Surgical, Physciatric, Community, Pediatric etc. There isn’t an option to do just one specialism like there is in the UK. This is why I felt so confident in my ability when I secured the Nursing role at Brunelcare, I was able to do everything. Another difference is that in the Philippines we are able to insert cannuales and diagnose patients on their symptoms alone due to the high cost of laboratory testing. In the UK, you have to hold a certificate to administer a cannula and of course tests for patients can be done fairly easily. I can only imagine that the hospital where I used to work has been very busy with Coronavirus patients, luckily, at Deerhurst Care Home, we had the all clear from our Coronavirus testing on Friday. (29th May 2020).

If any positives, any at all, could be taken from the pandemic, I would have to say it’s bought the team at Deerhurst even closer than we were before! The employees show a greater appreciation of each other and the families have been incredibly supportive and grateful for us keeping their loved ones safe.

 

 

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