The View from Here – Malcolm Burgin, Welfare & Engagement Lead (Head Office based)
Who could have guessed in January 2020 that a year later, we would find ourselves in the situation we now face? For so many people all over the world, life has changed irrevocably and, with the barrage of sobering statistics that seem to flash continuously across our screens it seems clear that, despite the progress being made, we’re not out of the woods yet.
Closer to home, like so many care settings in the county, we are now battling outbreaks in two of our homes despite the tremendous efforts of our teams to prevent this from happening. It may seem like an odd choice of words, but it really has been a privilege to witness the response to what I know has been a devastating blow to the morale of the teams, both in the homes directly affected and across the board. In the light of the stark reality that we now face, there has been an overwhelming sense of cohesion – of pulling together – to provide the best possible care for the residents whom we support and to look after each other as we navigate the turbulent days and weeks ahead. Of course, this collective effort is not confined to the staff and residents and, in my role, I am fortunate to have direct contact with many of the families of those we care for. Often, emotions are running high and recently, many conversations have been tinged with fear and uncertainty about the road ahead but the vast majority of calls or emails bring with them expressions of appreciation and support for the work our teams are doing and recognition of the pressures that they find themselves labouring under day and night.
Naturally, there is a deep grief for those we have lost and I know the teams feel this so very keenly but, in the face of this adversity and even tragedy, we still see shared moments of such empathy and compassion and there is still laughter and lightness to be found. Sometimes these moments come during the many activities that happen in the homes, when we are perhaps able to put aside the cares of the wider world and immerse ourselves in mindful movement, music or art but, more often than not, they come in the simple act of being human, of sharing stories, of just taking the time to care, and when all is said and done, what else is there to do?