How nursing homes and frail care centres are staying safe

LOCKDOWN: Berea Gardens Retirement Foundation’s Stirling Lodge has implemented strict measures to keep staff and residents safe
Picture: MATTHEW FIELD

Not all people are affected equally by the Sars-CoV-2 virus currently rampaging around the world.

One of the most at-risk groups are the elderly and invalid, which makes the responsibilities of frail care centre and nursing home staff all the more graver.

However, staff have taken on this new role with courage and determination despite the many challenges.

“It (the virus) has affected staff in that non-critical staff have had to take leave at a time not of their choosing. For those who have had to carry on working providing critical services, there have been transport issues with uncertainty surrounding taxis and increased taxi fares,” said Berea Gardens Retirement Foundation executive director Mike Schulze.

“Residents are experiencing cabin-fever and are missing visits from their families. In our independent-living complexes, shopping for essentials has also been a challenge for some residents.”

Gonubie Frail Care owner Heather Todd says they are experiencing similar problems as movement is heavily restricted for staff and residents alike.

“Sadly, the highlight of many residents is visits from their family and they are feeling the lack of contact acutely.

Our many dementia patients who have no concept of time, battle with not getting their daily hugs from staff, so we have tried to spoil them with treats, play cheerful music and take them outside to see the birds and our lovely garden,” she said.

Both facilities are doing what they can to protect the people under their care and prevent them from suffering too much during the lockdown.

In addition to the necessary health and sanitation precautions, Schulze said they are enforcing a strict lockdown with visitation severely limited and staff working from home whenever possible.

Todd said the same measures are being taken at their facility, with an increased cleaning regimen and self-isolation of staff and residents.

Finally, bot Schultze and Todd asked members of the public to help them in these trying times.

“Any donations of biscuits, or other treats would be greatly appreciated. Plus puzzles or simple games,” said Todd.

Schultze said: “We have members of the public volunteering to assist residents who do not have families with shopping for essentials or to take them to medical appointments.

“Members of the Resident’s Associations in our complexes have also been very active in assisting management keeping things running smoothly during the lockdown.”

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