Senior caregiver, Suraya Alvi, from Home Instead Stockport was one of five key workers from the care sector who were invited to join a Zoom call with HRH, The Duke of Cambridge recently.
Prince William wanted to find out directly from those on the front line of care what their experience of working during COVID-19 was like, how it had changed the way they delivered care and how the job affected their wellbeing.
Speaking directly to HRH about her experience of caring for older people throughout COVID-19, Suraya, 42, said: “The main thing we face is uncertainty from clients. We aim to reassure them that we will still provide the best level of care regardless of the pandemic.
“The main aspect is keeping people safe in their homes at this time and providing that level of care that we did before but just with the added PPE and handwashing.”
Suraya spoke about the emotional turmoil it can bring for both clients and caregivers as the situation can be a strain both physically and mentally.
“The support from the office has been fantastic,” she said. “We have a support system at the office and wellbeing sessions, and you can always pick up the phone and chat to people. The office sends us thank-you notes and leave gifts on our doorstep, it’s lovely. The main thing is keeping well emotionally, and it can be really tough.”
Suraya talked about how she had been enjoying cooking at home with her 21-year-old daughter and how it benefitted their mental health during this time.
HRH even took some time for light-hearted discussion and asked Suraya what her daughter had been cooking with her.
Suraya answered: “We’ve done gyoza, Japanese dumplings, have you heard of them?’ to which HRH replied “no, that’s very exotic, I’ll have to google it!”
Ending the call, HRH added a thank-you to all the care workers and their colleagues for the ‘fantastic job’ they were doing. “It’s hugely appreciated and acknowledged,” he said. “I hope we see a shift in attitudes towards the care sector and an appreciation for all the wonderful things you all do.”
The call was set up by the Care Workers Charity which exists to support current and former care workers with one-off crisis grants and advice.
Karolina Gerlich, executive director of the Care Workers Charity, said: “The call was a fantastic opportunity to shine a light on the amazing work of care workers and we really appreciate Suraya’s input from a home care point of view. HRH really took time to find out what it was like working in care, hear some of the challenges and recognise the important job our care workers do.”
Martin Jones, CEO of Home Instead Senior Care UK added: “Thank you Suraya for being part of this incredible opportunity to talk to Prince William and represent not only Home Instead Stockport but our network of 9,000 caregivers UK wide.”