Everyone has had to adapt during this coronavirus crisis that the country, and the world, is facing. Carers across the UK face a difficult job but Buckinghamshire-based Ashridge Home Care are going above and beyond to make sure that carers and their clients are well looked after.
The team has embraced technology to continue its work and indeed recruit additional carers and support the huge increase in new client enquiries. Care homes are currently not the go-to place for care, people are afraid and care home providers are understandably not taking in new clients. This means home care is currently the safest option. There are 13% confirmed COVID-19 cases within care homes currently with only 0.1% confirmed cased across 21 providers of live-in care. Care at home is the safest option and it is not surprising that the demand is increasing.
Ashridge Home Care Founder and MD Trudi Scrivener says there is only one way to get through this and that is to invest in support to carers and safe delivery of care to clients.
The head office team is working remotely from home and they have hence increased their virtual communications with their carers to include twice weekly organisational meetings via Zoom, one for live-in carers and one for visiting carers. These generally include an update on the latest government advice and introduce their latest motivational themes for the week including videos from external experts who have generously given up their time and expertise. Motivation has been key to making sure that the carers really feel valued for the fantastic job they are doing. For example:
- Local and highly reputable Home Economist, Jane Brinkworth, launched Ashrilicious Food Lovers group online for the live-in carers to learn new easy, nutritious meals to cook for their clients as well as featuring an online Q&A option so if a carer can’t access ingredients she suggests good alternatives. The group share photos of food and are encouraged to make mealtimes special. One carer tried the Pizza Express dough recipe and made passata from scratch for a lovely home cooked Italian meal. Whilst another recreated a favourite restaurant setting with their client.
- Since Podiatrists are not making home visits, Footloose Footcare, a qualified local footcare practitioner shared a video helping carers to learn basic footcare and how to wear appropriate protective equipment with mask and gloves, to ensure their clients who can no longer attend appointments are still looked after.
- Zest Yoga, A Tring-based yoga business, shared a ten-minute yoga chair routine (pictured) to enable carers to keep moving, mobile and help with circulation.
- And frontman of Spandau Ballet, Tony Hadley, recorded and shared a morale boosting message to boost team spirit.
Ashridge is communicating with its carers more than ever before. The carers are supported through increased telephone calls and increased virtual catch ups. Zoom has been a great way for carers to talk to each other about the challenges they are facing and share ideas for keeping their clients from feeling lonely.
A closed private Facebook group where carers all share daily pictures to give each other ideas of activities to do with clients to keep everyone’s spirits up, ranging from the head office team clapping for the NHS with their families every week, announcing live online events such as Singing for the Brain or new national theatre and cultural events showing live online.
Birthdays have been celebrated online as well as sharing presents left on doorsteps. Carers are sharing challenges online too, ranging from making a walking frame bag sewn from a tea towel to decorating a window with a huge rainbow. One carer set up Skype on her client’s computer so she could talk to her best friend of 68 years for the first time during lockdown.
And nature is proving a popular photographic theme as many share pictures of gardens and nature walks for all to enjoy as spring has sprung. Clients love their gardens, that they have nurtured and tended for years, sharing photos with others gives great pleasure to everyone.
Making sure that care is being delivered safely is a challenge when head office staff are unable to visit clients in their home to do the required monitoring, but at Ashridge Home Care additional oversight is possible through the online care monitoring system in place. Increased monitoring of tasks like administration of medication is happening to ensure that any potential risks are picked up immediately.
Visiting hourly carers are supporting the live-in carers by collecting shopping and prescriptions, and running errands, to reduce exposure for live-in carers who may have vulnerable clients. Live-in carers are also no longer using public transport but there is a small team of drivers available to them should they need lifts.
‘I am so proud of how the team have pulled together. It’s amazing how innovative everyone has been and the ideas just keep on coming. Our first priority has to be the care of our clients and that our carers are getting the right support to help them. But we are having lots of laughs and an enormous amount of kindness is being shown on a daily basis,’ says Trudi Scrivener, MD and Founder of Ashridge Home Care.
Agata Stepien, Care Manager added: ‘There have been so many brilliant ideas from the team and it’s been so great to see them shared on Facebook. We still have capacity to care for more elderly and vulnerable people so I would urge anyone who is worried about a loved family member to simply give us a ring for an informal chat.’
As time progresses and the UK is still in lockdown, many families are considering their options to ensure elderly relatives are safe and looked after. Enlisting the help of a live-in or visiting carer is a safe and efficient solution. Please check www.ashridgehomecare.co.uk, tel: 01494 917344 for an informal chat or email firstname.lastname@example.org.