As normal as it can be at care homes

DEDICATED care home staff have not let the Omicron Covid-19 variant ruin the festive period, and they are working hard to create a Christmas that is as normal as possible for their residents.

Summerland House Care Home staff who are working over the Christmas period. Left to right: Elsa Pereia, Betty Abreu, Elsa Dunne, Sarah Ross, Husain Ahmed, Matilda De Jesus and Lyndsey Nicholls with residents Margaret Norledge and Mona Falla. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 30322901)
Summerland House Care Home staff who are working over the Christmas period. Left to right: Elsa Pereia, Betty Abreu, Elsa Dunne, Sarah Ross, Husain Ahmed, Matilda De Jesus and Lyndsey Nicholls with residents Margaret Norledge and Mona Falla. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 30322901)

Everyone who visits a care home is required to do a lateral flow test, and anyone who has Covid-19 symptoms or is in the passive follow-up stage must stay away.

Each care home is using its own rules depending on their residents, but most of the homes believe the risks can be mitigated and need to be balanced against the benefits of meaningful contact with families.

‘Most of our staff will be working one or more of the holiday days,’ said Cathy Bailey, director of Summerland Nursing Home.

‘We try to organise it so staff get some time off over the festive period, but of course, when you are providing 24/7 care, everyone knows what this entails.’

Some of the entertainment planned at Summerland in the run up to Christmas had to be cancelled, but the house is fully decorated and residents have enjoyed bus trips around the island to view the Christmas lights.

‘All our residents receive a stocking from Father Christmas, they love this and get really excited,’ said Mrs Bailey.

‘Our residents will be tucking into a delicious traditional Christmas dinner, then most will receive visits from their families if they are on island.’

At Chateau Du Village Nursing Home, most of the 40 staff will be working Christmas between them.

‘I believe it is important to look after our staff as well as our residents,’ said general manager Rachel Bott.

‘We try wherever possible to accommodate staff requests for the specific days they request off, as some celebrate on Christmas Eve or Boxing Day instead.’

Chateau Du Village typically has school choirs who sing to the residents in the lead up to Christmas, however staff have instead been playing Christmas carols.

‘We have decorated the home as usual with the help of our residents and have done some Christmas baking with them,’ said Ms Bott.

‘The staff always help our residents to have an enjoyable time, many of them are away from their own families themselves so treat their colleagues and residents as extensions of their own families to make a nice atmosphere for all.

‘We’re trying to keep everything as normal as possible, we’ve had a lovely Christmas lunch already and the residents went out to see the Christmas lights on Wednesday afternoon.’

St John's Residential Home in Saumarez Park closed to visitors last weekend as a precaution after a resident contacted Covid.

A number of homes are also understood to have been dealing with Covid illness among staff but no other cases among residents have been reported.

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