There are very few positives that can be taken from the global coronavirus pandemic, but at the very least, hardworking healthcare professionals and those that care for the vulnerable are finally getting recognition for their bravery and dedication.

Times of crisis have a way of revealing people’s true characters, and a recent story from the UK stands a prime example of the value of aged care staff and an incite into the amazing bonds that they can have with their residents.

This time last week, eight aged care staff made the selfless decision to move away from their homes and loved ones and remain ‘locked-in’ with their residents to minimise the risk of spreading the virus.

The staff will be working 12-hour shifts for at least the next four weeks of lockdown and will not receive any extra pay for remaining separated from their own children, partners, and parents.

The eight staff will be caring for 23 aged care residents who are living at the Bridgedale House aged care home in Sheffield, England.

All residents – who are aged between the ages of 65 and 96 – are currently living with dementia, but the majority are unaware of the danger of the coronavirus or the sacrifices being made by their brave carers.

Over the last week, two of the carers who are ‘locked-in’ have celebrated their birthdays in the nursing home, receiving best wishes from loved ones over the phone.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, one of the carers shared her reasoning behind the move to be ‘locked-in.’

These residents are like our second family,’ explained Sarah-Jane, 23. ‘We want to do everything we can to protect them.’

With relatives being barred from visits since March 13 and a looming lockdown, Sarah made the decision to create a WhatsApp group among staff and see if anyone would be willing to volunteer to lock themselves in.

With less than 24 hours to pack and say their goodbyes, all staff members at the small nursing home made the decision to move into the home to minimise the risk of infection.

As staff brought their home duvets and bedding in to feel more comfortable in their new home, life for the original residents has basically continued on as normal.

Every morning carers Sarah-Jane Clark, Maria Mantu, and Katie Wright wake and dress the residents while chef Mark Beck prepares their daily meals.

Kitchen and domestic assistant Mandy Boyce helps to serve the meals, while deputy manager Lynsey Wright oversees resident activities like flower-arranging and chair aerobics.

And night carers Kirsty Scott and Sarah Willis take over during the evening to give the rest of the team some well-deserved rest.

All eight of the ‘locked-in’ staff are sorely missed by their loved ones, sharing stories of tearful conversations with children and worry about their own elderly parents – some of which have pre-existing health problems.

The families of the residents have been showing their support for these amazing carers by sending flowers, cards, and messages of support, alongside other thankful members of the public.

Deputy Manager Lynsey Wright shared her reasoning behind moving into the home, echoing the same sentiments as many other aged care staff who receive personal fulfillment from working with vulnerable people.

‘It’s not exactly the best-paid job in the world, but we’re not in it for the money. It’s something I enjoy doing and it’s incredibly rewarding,” said Ms Wright.

Aged care and disability staff may not receive the same level of accolades or acknowledgment as healthcare workers, but the job they do is just as important and rewarding.

At a time where selfless attitudes and compassion are sorely needed, there is no better profession to set an example for the rest of society.

 

Photo Credit – iStock – Dean Mitchell

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