Who are the essential staff members required to be on site to operate a typical, fully functioning residential home for 70+ elderly people with medical needs? The list may be longer than you think. The following is based on my own observations from my workplace…
- Head nurse
- Care assistants
- Cleaning staff
- Kitchen assistants
- Restaurant servers
- Laundry staff
Without any of the above, the establishment would soon cease to function properly. Let’s look at staff members who aren’t required to be on site each day, but without whose services the residents would undoubtably suffer…
- Occupational therapist
- Speech therapist
- Activities coordinator
The second list is shorter, yet removing any of these for a length of time will result in a diminishment of the health of the residents. Let’s look at a third list. These are professionals who may only be inside the establishment for a very short period.
- Visiting doctors
- Ambulance drivers
- Medical equipment delivery and maintenance
- Kitchen supplies delivery
- Cleaning supplies delivery
- Pharmaceutical supplies delivery
Another short list, but take away any of these and the service will suffer. Let’s look at our final list: two groups of non-professionals who are without doubt vital to the well-being of the residents… yet, are currently prohibited from entering the establishment due to Covid-19 coronavirus.
So sad, that the only two groups which have any emotional meaning and bond to the residents are not allowed in. Naturally, this absence is already taking its toll on the psychological well-being of some of our residents. Examples: residents becoming tearful or withdrawn because they miss seeing loved ones. One resident celebrating her 84th birthday alone. One resident missing her gifts of chocolate and sweets. Residents becoming angry because they do not understand the rules surrounding Covid-19. Residents sensing they are in prison because they aren’t allowed to go out anymore.
Our units are like a ghost town since no visitors allowed. Honestly, you don’t really appreciate the presence of family and friends day to day, until they are suddenly no longer visiting.
To try and ease this unfortunate situation, what can we – as staff – do? And what can family and friends do?
So far, the following is a help:
- Staff giving over some of their break time to spend with residents.
- More music, sing-a-longs, and dance activities – this falls to our heroic activities coordinator who is having to make all activities herself as no outside entertainment is allowed in.
- One-to-one time – this falls to our heroic psychologist who is keen to give as much of her time as possible to chat with each resident. (On a side note, I would now place the activities coordinator and psychologist in my first list due to current circumstances, when previously they placed in my second list).
- Ensuring all residents have access to phones and aid given to speak to their loved ones.
- Setting up residents to communicate with family via Skype.
- Encouraging family to send gifts and letters and flowers through the post.
It’s not much, but you can see it making a difference in small ways. Reaching out to people you believe are suffering from loneliness is something we can all do. Already, there are Apps made and being created to try and link people together remotely. Not just for the elderly… even younger people will feel alone and afraid if made to become isolated.
Report – Monday 16 March
- President Macron gave an address tonight announcing a near total lockdown of France. From tomorrow noon nobody can venture outdoors for at least the next 15 days unless they can prove they are essential workers or buying essential goods.
- 100,000 Police mobilised onto the streets to ensure citizens abide by the new rules.
- France closes its borders.
- Reported: 5,423 confirmed coronavirus cases and 127 deaths.
- Work for me is okay today. No reports of Covid-19 or suspected cases related to us. However, we were short-staffed with some having to change shifts for child care reasons, and one staff going off sick (not Covid-19 related).
- Two of our residents died today, both of old age and with no underlying illness. One of them was from my unit, so I had to prepare her body for the undertaker. Both residents I had got to know well over the past three years, so it was sad to see them leave, but at least they died peacefully, in bed, and without suffering any pain. A decent way to go.
- We welcomed a new resident today… but due to the recent strict rules of having to quarantine any new arrivals, this person will now have to spend the next 15 days isolated in his bedroom. Welcome to your new home!
- A replacement chef came today and gave everyone extra helpings for lunch… this went down rather well with all 🙂
Don’t forget to wash your hands frequently…
For the most accurate and up to date information regarding all aspects of Coronavirus, go to theWorld Health Organization website Please share this link to others so that we all have the same information.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, everyone stay safe.
Disclaimer. This report is meant to offer an overview of the fluid impact upon a care worker in the French medical system. No names of any persons or institutions are given, and the reportage here concerns decisions made at a French national level which is available to the public at any time. No breach of confidentiality or professional workplace standards is made or implied. Any health advice stated here is exactly the same as that given by the World Health Oraganization public advice pages