Lorraine in Lockdown!
During these uncertain times we have heard lot of news being reported in the media regarding care homes and Covid-19. So, what is the reality of working in a care home whilst trying to navigate your way through a pandemic? We hear from Lorraine Laker, Home Care Co-Ordinator at Rogers House care home in Gillingham.
“To be honest, there was an awful lot of pressure when things got serious and we had to close the home to visitors, we were one of the first homes to do that and it was so sad explaining to family members and residents why they couldn’t see each other. Once we had organised the set-up of technology, we could really manage our residents seeing their loved ones over FaceTime or Skype and waving through the windows.
“The scary thing was lack of testing for all of us, the government wasn’t making it easy for us to get tests, it felt like we had been forgotten, both with testing and PPE equipment. It is very different now, the whole home has been tested and some staff are even trained to do it, including me!”
The country had been in lockdown for a few weeks and Lorraine had had a particularly busy week, juggling lots of different things, when Friday arrived, she didn’t feel quite right. “I knew I needed an early night and to regroup over the weekend so I was ready for Monday, but by Sunday, I got up and tried to start preparing our roast dinner and I couldn’t even peel the potatoes. I was so hot, I couldn’t breathe properly and within four hours it had really got a grip on me. The shaking and fever was just incredible, I felt so cold but was boiling hot to touch. Straight away I went upstairs and isolated from the rest of my family, that’s when my whole home set up changed for the next 25 days.”
Lorraine lives three key workers and her son being a prison officer meant the prison service paid for her to get tested, within 24 hours the results were back. She had tested positive for Covid-19. “I don’t even remember getting tested, I know I scared my family, I missed them so much whilst I was in isolation. They lived downstairs and I lived upstairs – I missed the whole of April! It took me 25 days before I could finally get up, it was such a nice day and I managed to get to the garden to enjoy it, which did take me a while and I even had to take a four hour nap once I was there. The day by day I managed to do a little bit more, but wow I was frustrated.”
Lorrain went for a second test on a Friday, which came back negative and meant she go back to work when she felt ready. Which for Lorraine, of course meant Monday! “I feel so upbeat now, I was naturally nervous as there is so much we don’t know about this illness but coming back to the home has just been wonderful. We know we can get tested now, we have a good stock of PPE and we can just carry on caring for our residents as we always have. Families have been so lovely, sending us beautiful cards and saying how grateful they are for the staff here, and knowing on a Thursday they are clapping for us, that is so humbling.”
It is so wonderful to hear Lorraine is back to her old self, however she is still missing her sense of taste and smell, but she did happily tell us that she ate a frazzle and could get a tiny taste of the flavour – her words of advice, stop and smell the roses…or the frazzles!