Compassionate care in the face of adversity An update from St Joseph's Home in Coleshill As we face the ongoing crisis over COVID-19, we hear regular updates on how the pandemic is affecting communities across the world. As the situation plays out on a global scale, we can see the impact in our own local communities. It is there that we see the human face of the situation. And it is there that we witness the resilience, compassion and acts of love taking place on a daily basis. St Joseph’s Care Home in Coleshill is one such place where we can see this spirit of benevolence brought to life each day. The team of dedicated care staff, supported by a host of people working behind-the-scenes, are going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure those who live in the home receive the best support in the most difficult of times. Some residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Three have sadly died. However, the staff at the home maintained a high level of care at all times to offer comfort and support to all. Emma, who looked after for the first person to die, then displayed symptoms of the illness herself and had to self-isolate at home. She recovered at home and is now back in work. Pauline, a Senior Care Leader, worked a double shift so she could remain by the side of the second person to pass away. She stayed for 20 hours, ensuring they had a familiar face with them at all times. After their passing in the small hours of Saturday morning, Pauline went home to rest before returning to work on Monday. The third resident who died was able to have their family by their side. St Joseph’s has been closed to visitors for a few weeks, with the exception of people receiving end-of-life care. The person’s daughter moved into the home for a week, where she stayed in an empty bedroom and was well looked after by the staff. This meant she could be with her family member in their final moments. The resident’s other daughter, although she was not able to go into the home, was able to sit in the garden outside the window so she too could be present. Other residents are starting to show signs of improvement, including some that staff were very worried about. One retired Sister who lives at St Joseph’s is still showing symptoms but is comfortable and doing well. Several staff have shown symptoms and had to self-isolate. Managers who have themselves been ill have continued working from home where possible to support the staff. The staff at St Joseph’s build up strong relationships with the people they care for every day, as well as their families. Seeing them become ill or pass away is always difficult. At this time, with so many things about COVID-19 remaining unknown, these feelings are intensified by worries for their colleagues and their own loved ones, as well as those placed in their care. Image: Easter at St Joseph's But despite these difficulties, the team at St Joseph’s remains strong and motivated and continues to provide high quality support to all those that they care for. They arrive every day with a smile, ready to do their jobs. The staff put on activities each day to lift people’s spirits. As the home remains closed to external visitors, this means many staff have taken on roles beyond their usual remit. District nurses have arranged to train more senior care staff in how to give insulin to those who need it. This will reduce the footfall on people in the home and relieve some of the pressure faced by the nurses. Annie Frost, Deputy Manager, said, “The district nurses have been phenomenal. They came on Good Friday to help with meals and activities. They have given us amazing support.” Care assistants are also taking on other duties, including hairdressing, exercise classes and organising arts and crafts. They have celebrated birthdays, Mothers’ Day and Easter. The chef has put on themed dinners, which have been immensely popular. They are helping people stay in touch with their loved ones by video calls and sending photographs home. Image: Jean pictured by a hand drawn rainbow They have set up a private Facebook group to share messages, photos and videos. This has quickly developed into a warm and supportive community in which family members are sending their messages of support to staff as well as the home sharing their updates. Three members of staff have moved into St Joseph’s to work from there. And Father Hudson’s Estates team are installing more beds in the training room for other staff who wish to stay on-site. St Joseph’s continues to accept referrals for new residents and respite stays, so long as they can meet the individual’s care needs. The COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented. We, as a global community, face difficulties like never before. These are challenging times and will likely remain so for a while. However, the staff at St Joseph’s Care Home are rising to those challenges admirably. They remain committed to looking after the people living there, their families, and each other. Registered Manager, Shelley Perryman, summed it up perfectly when she said: “I am so proud of the staff team at St Joseph’s. Although you may be scared and worried about putting yourselves and your families at risk, you have shown fantastic commitment, courage, dedication, bravery and resilience throughout all this. “I thank you for all being the amazing carers that you are. You pick yourselves up, dust yourselves off, put smiles on your faces and make it a happy place for the residents no matter what is happening. Together we have got this, and we will continue to work as a team to ensure happiness every step of the way.” Image: A message home St Joseph’s Care Home, Coleshill, is operated by Father Hudson’s Care. For more information, visit www.fatherhudsons.org.uk.