Lockdown has meant different things to different people, of course, but many of us have likely spent it with a spouse or family members of whichever generation, or maybe flatmates. We know these people well, for better or for worse, and it has generally felt familiar and possibly reassuring in a time of great uncertainty.
Well, spare a thought for all the Live-In carers supported by Trudi Scrivener who owns and runs Ashridge Home Care and who, along with her staff team, has also been nominated for a Covid Hero Great British Care Award.
These carers, who might normally be a few weeks on and a few off, have given up their own lives to stay with their client. Last year, some had not been home to see their own families in more than five months. Trudi and her team quickly responded to obvious issues:
“One of the biggest things is that our Live-In carers would normally use public transport so we now have drivers for them. It’s remarkable that so many decided to stay put because it was the safest thing for their client, resulting in less than 1% suffering from Covid. It was hugely appreciated by us and clients’ families who were so worried. So, it has been really important to keep reaching out to let them know we’re there for them. I’ve gone on socially-distanced walks with them when it’s been possible and that’s something I’ll carry on with post-pandemic as it’s been really nice.”
Walks and daily communications aside, rotas were set up for visiting carers to do the supermarket shopping for Live-In carers as well as picking up prescriptions. Trudi herself shopped and also organised vital medicine for a carer to be collected from her client’s pharmacist. And yet, practicalities have been only half of the story:
“The biggest challenge is looking after the Live-In carers who have been so cut off from their own world and isolated with their client. We have made contact with them every single day to pay them special attention. And this is where technology has helped incredibly, devising ways to motivate and keep spirits up with, for example, competitions, videos and private chat groups.”
But Trudi and the team didn’t stop there; they milked every single contact they could think of and because the pandemic has so often brought out the best in people, it didn’t take many asks before Tony Hadley from Spandau Ballet made a video to cheer on the carers. Jane Brinkworth, home economist working with celebrity chefs on Saturday morning TV devised special recipes and nutritional advice for carers while Zest Yoga created chair exercises.
For so very many of us, we have a lot to thank Eric Yuan for (yep, he invented Zoom). It has radically transformed communication and been a huge pandemic positive.
“We will definitely be keeping some of the changed practices: before March last year, no one had even heard of Zoom and now video calls are just standard. It has been brilliant for so many reasons but most especially how it has impacted the level of interaction with clients, families and staff. It’s such a great way to get all the disparate family members together to discuss mum or dad which has never really been logistically feasible before. Their increased involvement due to technology has been a great positive. It’s just so helpful and reassuring for families.”
And what of the Covid Hero nomination?
“It feels a real privilege – recognising the whole team and especially our carers. This last year has really highlighted the vital, skilled and professional work they do. It’s such a nice way to say thank you to them.”