Care homes have been hit extremely hard by coronavirus. The virus has spread quickly throughout many homes to residents who are extremely high risk and vulnerable, leading many to sadly pass away.
Jenny Dancer, 31, a care assistant at Laburnum Court Care Home, said: “Being on furlough made me very depressed. I spent 15 weeks in my bedroom with no one to talk to, lonely and scared of what was going to happen to my job.
“It affected my marriage as my husband, also spent 15 weeks alone in a small dining room, had to sleep on an air bed as he had to stay at work so we could afford to survive.
“The only contact we did have was by messages or our goodnight calls, it was very hard.”
A study coordinated from the University of Stilling’s management school found that care homes in England recorded a 79% increase in excess death, compared to 66% in Wales, 62% in Scotland and 46% in Northern Ireland. Out of all deaths registered as Covid–19 related in the UK 17,127 (31%) occurred within care homes and at least 21,775 (40%) were accounted for by care home residents.
At the very start of the pandemic many homes quickly shut their doors to visitors, and many have not reopened them. Leaving residents very isolated from the world outside, they have not been able to have any real contact with their families since the virus first began which was over 6 months ago now. Along with the isolation of the residents in nursing homes, many staff also had to isolate away and due to being at extreme high risk of the virus.
“Being furloughed made me feel worthless and guilty that I had left my work friends to fight the virus short staffed and having to lose so many residents in a short time.”
For many the return to work was one they were looking forward to after not leaving the house for so many weeks, it was exciting to return to some normality. But for others, mainly those who work returning to workplaces like hospitals and nursing homes where the virus was still very much alive and present it was a scary time.
Speaking about her return to work, Dancer said: “I was worried and scared, it took me a few weeks to get back into the swing of things, the long days for example, I was scared because Covid was still going around and I’m such high risk.”
“It was hard seeing the empty rooms and to see how many residents we had lost, I was depressed for being off for so long but then it was very depressing seeing how much of an impact the virus had had on everyone who I had seen or spoken to for 15 weeks.”
Mrs Dancer went on to tell us how heartbreaking it is for the residents not being able to see their family, despite the increase in window visits following the right government guidelines it is just not the same for them.
With talks of a vaccine in the works, it may not be long until we have full normality back into society and our aging population to see their families again.