'It is the light at the end of the tunnel': Frontline care home workers among the first to get Covid vaccine

Staff at Barchester’s Sherwood Lodge care home, in Fulwood, were delighted to be invited to have the first rounds of vaccinations at Royal Preston Hospital.

Wednesday, 30th December 2020, 2:25 pm
Updated Wednesday, 30th December 2020, 2:26 pm

After what has been a very challenging year for everyone, especially front line workers and care home staff that have been protecting the vulnerable, the vaccine was welcomed by workers.

General Manager of Sherwood Lodge, Charlene Porter, said: “We’ve had a year like no other and the vaccine feels like the light at the end of the tunnel.

"I have been really proactive in terms of how I portrayed the vaccine to the team, and they have all wanted to get on board with it. We all decided that anything we can do to protect the residents in our care, we are absolutely going to do it.

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Staff at Sherwood Lodge have all been given their Covid-19 vaccination

"We have talked to the residents about the vaccine and they are all behind it and will be getting their vaccines in the next week. It makes our workplace safer and helps us get back to normality because we miss having families in the home.

"Our teams have been magnificent in how they have risen to every challenge during this pandemic and we are proud to play our part in this next phase to ensure the most vulnerable are protected.”

Frontline staff working in social care are more likely to be exposed to COVID-19 at work. Health care workers and those working in social care (particularly in care homes) are at much higher risk of repeated exposure to the infection.

Currently, the vaccine is being given to some people aged 80 and over, people who live or work in care homes or other health care workers at high risk.

General Manager of Sherwood Lodge, Charlene Porter having her vaccine

After having both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine most people will be protected against Coronavirus.

Michelle Thompson, administrator at Sherwood Lodge said: "When the news initially came out that care home staff were going to be able to be vaccinated, we were all on board with it. If we can provide something safer for the residents then we all wanted to do it.

"It was such a straight forward process and now means we can continue to give the best and safest care to our residents."

Michelle, who has worked at the care home since 2007, has played a large part in facilitating visits from family members outdoors and now, in their new visiting pod, which includes a microphone system and a perspex screen.

She added: "We have allowed family members to see the residents throughout the pandemic and we feel it is really important for them. We first offered socially distanced garden visits and now we have a visitors suite.

"I take the temperatures of the residents and make sure they use sanitiser before showing them into the suite which is completely covid secure and safe."

And Leanne Dickison, a hostess at the lodge looking after refreshments for the residents said: "It is important that care homes are at the top of the list for this vaccine and we have all been so supportive of it.

"It is a sense of relief now that we can continue to provide safety for vulnerable residents and feel safer in our work environment.

"The pandemic has provided its challenges from the offset but we have all tried to make the best of it and that is why we remained free from the virus. I am now much more comfortable in the workplace in knowing that we are a priority and are back on our way to some normality again.

"We still have a long road ahead but am proud to be part of this next phase. We have done all we can in keeping everyone happy and safe."

Sherwood Lodge is welcoming new residents to ensure that staff can care for those that need, with very clear protocols that must be met due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The home is run by Barchester Healthcare, one of the UK’s largest care providers offering residential and respite care.

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