A group of carers have chosen to move in with their elderly patients during the lockdown – instead of living with their own families.
Staff at The Haven Care Home said farewell to partners and children ahead of a three-week stint on duty – and have been hailed as heroes.
The team, based in Devizes, Wilts., have pledged to stick out the punishing live-in regime until the strict measures are lifted.
The workers are given a week off after a three-week period ‘on’ before returning to the home to care for the patients.
The effort is being led by manager Harriet Mays, who has two young children, Archie and Riley.
They are currently being looked after by partner David while she sticks it out, currently two weeks into her shift.
Harriet said: “We have been looking at ways to reduce the footfall, and the possibility of infection at the home.
“So we decided the best way to do that was to just move in.
“We have made sure that the seven staff on shift at any time have their own rooms.
“Also, the home has two kitchens, so the staff are using one of them to cook in.”
The team are keeping themselves entertained in lockdown with group yoga sessions, a bit of gardening and playing board games.
Harriet added: “I keep in regular touch with my boys. We do a lot of FaceTime chats.
“They all seem quite happy – but I am looking forward to seeing them a lot.”
Another of the lockdown carers is Helen Lane, whose 13-year-old son Callum is at home with her partner, Mike.
She said: “Mike is a bus mechanic and is out of work at the moment. They seem to be looking after each other okay I think. It is obviously a little bit difficult.
“I talk to Callum on the phone or FaceTime him to remind him that he still has to do his homework and not play on the Xbox all day.
“But he is a good lad and seems to be doing it.”
She is also managing to enjoy some downtime with the girls at the home.
Helen added: “We’ve been having pamper nights, doing our nails, and we had a hair dying session the other night, so we are having some fun too.”
The eleven residents currently at the home are all dementia sufferers needing full-time care.
Relatives of those being cared for have since voiced praise of the staff to their local paper – who they are calling heroes.
One said: “I live far away from my father and it is a great comfort for me to know that he is in such good hands.
“I am full of admiration for how the staff have coped. They genuinely care for his wellbeing.
“They treat him with respect and affection. He also has wonderful, wholesome home cooked meals.”