With the country in the middle of a third national lockdown, daily deaths sadly at a record high and the numbers of cases rising steadily, there is no question that the situation regarding Covid is very grave indeed. However, we are all hopeful that the end is in site, with vaccines now being rolled out on an unprecedented scale and here at Cavell Healthcare, we are optimistic that our clients and carers will soon be immunised.
And whilst the lockdowns do not impact the business in terms of losing business, as we know is sadly the case for many industries, it does still impact us here at Cavell Healthcare.
In the first instance, there are the business practicalities to consider. We are now regularly testing staff and with a team of 70 out on the road, that is a lot of tests to administer. We take tests three days a week and this takes two dedicated staff members, who have been seconded from their regular jobs, which obviously has an effect on the business. Another impact is the training, for which we have our dedicated full-time trainer, Bev. Usually, she would be training a packed classroom but in order to keep in line with social distancing guidelines and ensure that our team are safe, numbers have been reduced to 4 per session which is delaying the number of new carers we can get on the road and slowing down the development of existing staff. Of course, there is also the additional PPE that is required – we have always used gloves and aprons in the work we do, but the amount of hand sanitizer and masks required takes a lot of storage and careful ordering to ensure we always have ample stocks!
More importantly, however, is the human impact. This lockdown feels more challenging and, with the daily statistics about cases and, worse, deaths so frighteningly high we cannot underestimate the fear factor for our teams. In a clinical setting, risks can be minimised by creating a sterile and, where possible, safe environment. When it comes to our carers, we can provide them with extensive PPE and the training on how to utilise it properly, but we cannot control the environment they are going into when they visit client’s houses. Whilst our clients are obviously staying safely at home, we cannot control their visitors and where they have been, so there is no question that our team feel a heightened sense of anxiety as the problem worsens. Plus, of course, they are out and about on a daily basis, when the message from the media is ‘Stay at Home’ to stay safe.
Furthermore, another lockdown means our clients aren’t getting out and attending their usual activities for example coffee mornings or clubs. So they are lonely, which, in turn puts more pressure on our team, who want to do all possible to support clients and make sure they are comfortable and happy both physically and mentally.
It is certainly a challenging time and one that we are confident we will look back upon and be proud of our team for continuing to go out on the front line and support our clients in the way they have and continue to do every day.
Stay safe and well.