We have all now just come out of a national pandemic. 2020 will always be remembered for COVID 19 and how a virus which is unseen by the human eye paralyzed whole nations. For most of us life as we knew it stopped. We had to slow down, adapt and make changes. Some of us slowed down completely, for others life, as we were used to it, came to an absolute halt.
Here at Simblija Care Home we too had to face a different reality. It was a reality where residents could not have any visitors and a reality where staff had to live here on lock down to protect the vulnerable. Suddenly all the services the residents were used to having had to stop and we had to find a way to make them happen. We were also faced with another challenge and that was the challenge of loneliness. We were aware that some elderly were getting depressed as they were not having visits anymore from their loved ones. They missed the life line they had with the outside world. It felt like we were protecting them from a deadly virus only to introduce them to the virus which is just as deadly, that of loneliness and isolation which can lead to depression. So we put our thinking caps on and started to work hard as a team to help the residents through this.
With the help our events and activities manager we started to plan something for the elderly every day. We planned activities including those where we did beauty days for the elderly and did their hair and nails. We did music therapy through percussion sessions with different instruments, whilst we organized other activities like bingo. Birthdays were always a source of celebration and staff were involved to make these days memorable. We could not replace family but we could fill in a bit of the void on these special days and also connect with family and friends virtually. However we also wanted residents to keep in contact with their relatives or loved ones and in turn for the relatives or loved ones to be reassured that they were well. So we organized video chats with all residents, and we were the first to implement window chats for some kind of contact to be kept. Yes, there was no touch, and yes it is not the same like sitting next to someone and hugging the, however it was a way of some sort of contact and communication. It was also a way of putting either party’s mind at rest as they saw that each was safe. Along the way we laughed with them and we cried with them at times…..
The beauty of challenges are that sometimes although they are difficult and seem unsurmountable they also lead to beautiful outcomes. What this period has shown us at Simblija Care Home was that when the team was needed to step up they did. They did so through a lot of sacrifice, by staying away from family and friends and showered our residents with love and affection, whilst keeping on giving care in the most professional way. We did everything to keep our residents safe and happy and did not leave a stone unturned to try and give them quality of life during such a frightening time for them. It was not easy but we did it and we became stronger……stronger as a team and stronger as a care home. During this time represented our core values which are care, compassion and competence.
Ms Charmaine Attard