How a Nailsea care home weathered the Covid-19 storm
- Credit: Paris Penny
The manager of a Nailsea care home has spoken out about how her staff have coped with the toughest year of their lives.
Alison Wingrove, manager of Argentum Lodge Care Home, in Silver Street, says she has ‘never been prouder of her team’ who put aside their own fears to keep residents safe.
Alison remembers watching news reports of coronavirus cases rising in care homes in Italy and realising her staff were on the frontline of the fight.
The home's head office, Welford Healthcare, was quick to act and issued staff with guidance before the Government took action.
She said: “I remember giving guidance to the team and seeing the looks of apprehension their faces – we had never faced anything like this before and we were scared – but the guidance helped us all understand our roles and have something to focus on.
“That day, we counted our PPE and put in our orders, so we always had enough.
"We also installed a thermal imaging camera, allowing us to temperature-check staff every day, and detect signs of the virus early.”
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The home closed to essential visitors early – three weeks before the Government banned all visits - and allowed close relatives to move into the home to stay in contact with their loved ones.
Alison said: "We also installed a Covid safe visitor’s room inside the home with a full glass partition and external entrance, to allow families to visit in as normal an environment as possible.
"This helped keep spirits high, and definitely brought some heart-warming reunions.
“Where other care homes admitted patients from hospital, we refused to admit any new resident without a negative test. Even then, we self-isolated all new admissions."
Alison said her worst fear was her or her staff passing the virus on to residents without knowing.
To prevent this, she stopped staff from working in different care homes.
As a result of all these measures, no resident has contracted Covid-19 at the home.
The staff and residents at Argentum Lodge were also some of the first in the country to receive the vaccine.
She said: “It finally feels like there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and that it won’t be long until we will be able to welcome our community back into our home without fearing the consequences for our residents.
"Until then, we’ll be there to lift their spirits and do our best to keep them safe.”