'Special' feeling for care home staff following award nominations

Rachel Reynolds and Diane Stamp, from The Dells care home in Lowestoft.

Rachel Reynolds and Diane Stamp, from The Dells care home in Lowestoft. - Credit: Wellbeing Care

Frontline care home workers have recounted the challenges and rewards they have felt during the coronavirus pandemic after work to support residents was shortlisted for a care award. 

Staff at The Dell, which is run by Wellbeing Care said the main area of concern was how to keep residents connected to their families. 

The family-run company's work has been shortlisted for the Innovative Practice and Maintaining Connections categories at the Suffolk Care Awards. 

Among the ways to help keep loved ones in touch was the purchase of iPads and working with primary schools to send postcards to the residents to still feel included in the community. 

Diane Stamp, activities co-ordinator at The Dell, said it was important to try and make things feel as normal as possible when visiting was restricted and no outdoor entertainment could come in.

She said: "We're always singing and dancing anyway, everything we're doing, we're always having a little sing-song. I find music really lifts the spirits, and you find even when people have lost most of their capacity they can still remember songs."

During the pandemic, the team found it important to bring the residents together to watch the news to understand what was happening during the pandemic.

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They have continued the Keeping Connected project which brings residents together several times a week to read the papers and watch the news. 

Diane said: "It was keeping them in touch with current affairs and helping them understand what's happening in the outside world and help put that in context.

"For me, it's like having 40 grandmas and granddads, I do not have grandparents now, and we think of them like family. It is so rewarding to be spending time with them. 

"It is a really rewarding job, I have been doing it three years and I have never felt so fulfilled." 

Rachel Reynolds, team leader at the Lowestoft home, said the awards shone a light on the industry and the role they played, following a very challenging time. 

She said: "I think it's really important they acknowledge and understand the work that goes into the care industry. When the families aren't here we are the ones taking care of their family. For me and for the girls and the men that work here it's a privilege to do that." 

Farooq Patel, company director, said: "Our carers have worked incredibly hard to maintain operations over such a challenging period. To have our efforts recognised is brilliant and, even if we don’t secure the overall win, we are delighted and proud to have made it this far."

The winners of the Suffolk Care Awards will be announced on Thursday, November 11, at Wherstead Park in Ipswich.

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