How our head office colleagues are helping to support our care homes via our ‘Helping Hands’ inititative.

Carl – Transformation Support Officer, 7 April 2020

I’ve worked within Housing for over five years, previously on the front line but of late have been largely desk bound. I’ve had chance to interact with out care homes but without fully understanding the role all of our teams in play. Since the Coronavirus breakout, along with dozens of other back office staff like myself, I’ve become a ‘Helping Hand’, a Hafod initiative designed to ensure our homes have cover during the crisis.

So far I’ve done two shifts, one at our St Isan Home in Cardiff and at Plas Y Garn in Pontypool. The amount of effort that goes into running a home has been a real eye opener. Domestic staff needed to keep it clean and tidy, kitchen staff to keep the meals coming, care workers doing just about everything you can imagine to support residents and of course the management team and those in the back office, working quietly to keep the whole thing ticking along.

It’s been humbling to see the spirit of our residents, who can’t see their loved ones but are still having a laugh and a joke as much as possible. All supported by both the usual care home workforce and a mini army of volunteers like myself.

Despite everything that’s going on, the staff seem to completely dedicated and are working harder than ever to make sure residents are safe, well supported and are still enjoying themselves, some even sleeping in care homes overnight between shifts to make sure there’s always someone available.

As a helping hand I’ve had a mixed bag of duties, from making tea, cleaning rooms, mopping floors and hosting activities with residents. It may not seem like a lot, but whilst we’re doing that, our colleagues can provide the personal care and support they usually would when fully staffed.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it so far, although it’s pretty tiring, especially if you’re used to being sat down all day. I’ve definitely gained an even higher level respect for everybody working within health and social care, and this seems to be reflected throughout society at the minute, let’s hope it stays that way once this is all over, as I think it’s something we have all taken for granted.  

To Joni, Lynne, Theresa and all the team at St Isan and Plas Y Garn, thanks for helping me settle in and see you all again soon.

Interested in becoming a ‘Helping Hand’? Find out more here.