What it’s like running a care home in lockdown
Sarah Cropley has been the manager at Point House on Sprowston Road, Norwich, for the last 20 years.
The home currently looks after 21 adults aged 18 to 77 with learning difficulties. Here she sets out the challenges of the last few weeks.
The first problem we had was supplies.
We had issues getting enough food for the residents. We cook for 21 every day, but we were not allowed to buy more than three of the same item from one supermarket.
We have to go out each day to different shops to get enough food for them.
I think the Government needs to give care homes a form of identity card so we can buy more items as necessary.
We have shopped online with Asda for years and the order is delivered every Friday but this week 14 items we needed were out of stock.
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It has just got ridiculous how many times we are having to go to get supplies.
We are cleaning the home several times a day so getting enough disinfectant and bleach has also been difficult.
Adapting to changes has been tough, the residents are obviously encouraged not to go out to comply with lockdown so whereas before they could go to the shop and get chocolate or sweets, we buy that in and set up a tuck shop for them to enable them to retain some kind of independence and choice.
They are not allowed visitors now so our priority is to keep everyone busy and entertained. We have run painting sessions, barbecues, cookery classes and have games daily. We try to keep in contact with families through calls and video calls.
The clients are being so positive.
We are trying to keep life normal here as much as possible for everyone.
The hardest part for us was explaining to them about coronavirus and why they can’t go out or have visits. We used picture cards to inform people and through regular talks and role play they understand now.
We have always had a good stock of personal protective equipment so that has not affected us as yet, but we are running short on aprons.
Norfolk County Council has delivered 300 face masks for us and Norwich School kindly also made us face visors and sent them to us last week.
Six of our staff had to self isolate in the first couple of weeks and we still have some staff off, in the beginning we had to rearrange staffs jobs and hours and office staff were filling in gaps on care and cleaning to cover the shortfall.
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