COVID-19 & Beyond: Making a Difference in Brighton

The outbreak of COVID-19 has presented one of the country’s, in fact the world’s, most significant challenges in recent years. It’s been an extremely worrying time for everyone, not least for the older and more vulnerable members of our community and their loved ones. However, Home Instead Brighton, Hove and Shoreham are proud to report that we have stood firm in our commitment to our Clients during this unprecedented time, helping them to stay happy, safe and well at home. Director and Registered Manager, Liz Brackley, shares how the team coped with the outbreak of the pandemic and the lockdown that followed:

‘At the beginning of lockdown, we took the decision to keep the office open with one member of the central team in at all times so CAREGivers could still visit us. The others were all asked to work at home. Our CAREGivers have been brilliant throughout the lockdown and those who could work continued to be stable and committed, with many taking on additional hours to enable us to meet the needs of our clients.

We all had an important role to play as we communicated with our clients and their families about the changes that were happening. Many were confused and unsure about the future, and we did our best to allay those fears. Helpfully, many family members used our Care Planning app access to read the client notes left by our CAREGivers. This gave reassurance to families unable to visit their loved ones as it allowed them to stay updated with the client’s health and wellbeing.  Many of our Caregivers also used Whatsapp or similar to make video calls with their clients to help their families see them and feel in touch.

We also implemented a bespoke approach to PPE. We applied risk assessments to every client and if they were at lower risk from Coronavirus, then we used the minimum PPE with them that they, their families and Caregivers felt most comfortable with. Particularly with our clients who live with Dementia, we felt it may do more harm than good to have CAREGivers visit wearing masks, so we often decided to avoid this if possible and safe to do so.

As was widely reported, getting access to supplies of approved PPE was hit and miss for a couple of weeks or more. Luckily, we were able to get hold of emergency supplies, but it was an extremely stressful time for the office team, especially with prices rising and some fraudulent ‘suppliers’ making contact. It was frustrating to be told by government what we should be doing in terms of PPE guidance, but being prevented from following this guidance due to no fault of our own!  

Since lockdown has lifted, we are able to now allow CAREGivers to go out for a walk or for an outing with clients. Many have really missed being able to go outside and be in their communities, and our CAREGivers are on hand to help with this.

We also had many clients who had cancelled their care services due to anxiety about catching Coronavirus, now return to us as we move forward after lockdown. This is really great to have them back receiving services and benefitting from their Caregivers visiting again.

Overall, I think we performed brilliantly as a team during lockdown. Our CAREGivers and central office staff have really gone the extra mile to ensure all clients and their families were well cared for during the pandemic – and we remain vigilant but confident about the future. 

We are now taking the time to revisit everything we did during lockdown to ensure that we are prepared for any changes the virus may bring in the future. We are also looking ahead to new services and ways of working as we move forward in the community post-lockdown.’

Find out more about Home Instead Brighton, Hove and Shoreham Care Services. You can call Liz on 01273 284090 or email [email protected]