Just a couple of months after being awarded with the highest ranking of any care home in the area, Renaissance Care’s Glencairn Care Home in Grange, Edinburgh, had to rethink every practice and process as the reality of the Coronavirus pandemic began to set in.
As with care homes across the country, the threat to the elderly residents was high. The efficient response from management meant the home was quickly shut to visitors and safety and hygiene measures were brought in to protect the staff and the vulnerable people in their care.
Jozi Stables, care home manager believes the measures taken and care shown by all staff and management, as well as third-parties such as the Care Inspectorate and Public Health, and of course the residents at Glencairn, has meant they will come out of this pandemic as a stronger team. Jozi reflects on the last few months and how life in a care home environment has changed.
Jozi said: “I don’t think there is any task we do now that is the same as we would have done it five months ago – everything requires so much consideration to ensure safety is at the forefront of all that we do.
“Coronavirus has placed a barrier upon affection and emotion, however the response and understanding from our residents and relatives has reassured us that personal connection remains in place. It has been extremely difficult not to sit and have a coffee with a relative who is upset or give them a hug, that personal connection is so important to us here at Glencairn. However, our bonds and relationships have become stronger than ever, we are all one big family that cares for each other despite the circumstances.
“We will come out of this more connected, educated and prepared for any circumstance that may arise in the future.
“As a residential home, our residents retain a level of independence alongside the support they are given from our staff, so it has been hard for them to shield away from the world. They are not able to go to the shops or meet up with friends, this is a big part of their lives and independent living, however everyone has adapted well and we’ve encouraged virtual connections instead.
“Right at the beginning of lockdown, management supplied all Renaissance Care homes with iPads to allow the residents to FaceTime their families. A lot of the residents hadn’t used this kind of technology before, however are now dab hands at connecting with their loved ones virtually which has been massively important to maintaining emotional wellbeing in the home.”
Jozi said: “The comradery and the united effort which has been displayed in a bid to beat this virus has been humbling and inspiring in equal measures.
“My team has blown me away with their dedication and determination to protecting the residents we care for. They have laughed, smiled, cried and craved a supportive hug, but nothing has got in the way of them being there for the residents and their families, or each other.
“The residents have been a comfort to us on a daily basis; reminding us we are doing our best, calling us in to their rooms to give us a sweet, a reassuring look or just to say ‘thank you’ – gestures like these have got us through some of our toughest days and helped keep the home in high spirits.”
Jozi and staff at Glencairn have also felt support from the wider team, including management and industry bodies such as Public Health and the Care Inspectorate. She said: “The guidance we have received from partners such as the Care Inspectorate and Public Health has been extremely helpful. From checking in to see if there was anything we need, to relieving anxieties and providing answers to difficult questions, they have been a reassuring presence during this difficult time.”
Jozi, who started her role as care home manager at Glencairn last July, believes the focus on communication has been instrumental in keeping staff, residents, and their families safe and well throughout this pandemic.
“The communication methods we have adapted to during the pandemic have effectively saved lives. We have implemented new ways of communicating to ensure vital information is passed on quickly and effectively to those who need it.
“This has ranged from daily and weekly management calls, regular guidance updates and general check in calls to ensure the health and wellbeing of staff and residents.
“The company has also introduced many forms of confidential support for staff who may be struggling emotionally, physically and even financially to ensure they have an opportunity to talk to someone who can support in these specific fields.
“New training materials have been introduced to support professional development and build staff confidence in how to deal with Coronavirus and its impacts. The efforts that have been put in place to ensure each individual has the correct knowledge, guidance and access to resources and support, has been commendable.
“Another important aspect for us has been how we communicate what lockdown is and means to our residents. This is a very distressing period for everyone, but for residents who live with dementia, it can be a struggle to comprehend what it means and its impacts, so regular communication plays a vital role in keeping our residents well and happy.
“We have been very mindful about the relatives of both our residents and staff throughout. Their fears and anxieties have been very real and so it has been incredibly important to us to help alleviate concerns where possible, by providing open, honest, transparent and regular conversations. In return, we have received so many notes of thanks from not just families, but the local community and local businesses who have kept us going be it through cakes and cards, or words of appreciation and kindness – it means a lot to us.
“This has been one of the most difficult times we have faced within in the care sector, but what’s been demonstrated throughout this is that we are stronger together. The team at Glencairn Care Home have been nothing but an inspiration, and as a manager, I feel extremely lucky and grateful to each member of staff, management, resident and relative who have shown support, understanding and goodwill during this time.”
Glencairn is a bespoke private residential home offering its resident’s accommodation akin to that found in a small boutique style hotel. It is centrally located in the Grange/Marchmont area of Edinburgh, with the Meadows and local amenities situated close by.
Earlier this year, the private residential home was named ‘sector leading’ after receiving the best grading of any care home in the local area. Glencairn Care Home staff were praised in the review by the care inspectorate for their ongoing commitment to maintaining each of the residents’ independence with a focus on their wellbeing.