The experiences of the care sector during the pandemic deserves to be recorded as an important record of social history. The National Care Forum (NCF), the leading membership association for not-for-profit social care providers, in December launched ‘Caring in COVID’ – a collection of stories about care, communities and leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. This piece of social history records and highlights the incredible response from NCF members, brought together as a collection of real-life stories in an ebook.
The compendium details how, during the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing restrictions, NCF members and the communities they serve, came together and rose to the challenge to support those who needed it most. Not only will the ebook become part of the British Library collection for future generations, it also acknowledges the legacy of 2020 and the role care providers played in the fight against COVID-19.
Avante Care & Support is a member of the NCF and were delighted when asked by the forum if they could feature two of Avantes articles within the ebook, both had been written during the pandemic.
Staff at Avante Care & Support, like so many other care providers, have worked tirelessly to ensure those in their care can maintain a sense of normality during these uncertain times. Throughout the pandemic and whilst visiting from loved ones was put on hold, residents and service users have been supported across Avante’s care services to remain in regular contact with loved ones through video calls, letters and social media.
Some of Avante’s care homes arranged for residents to form pen pals linked with residents’ interest and hobbies. It was this kind of forward thinking that caught the attention of the NCF with the article written about resident Peter at Riverdale Court in Welling. Peter is an avid Charlton Athletic supporter and would tune in each week to watch his beloved team each week, needless to say Peter was disappointed when all sporting fixtures were paused during the start of the pandemic.
Staff at the home knew Peter needed to fill that void and arranged for a Charlton Athletic pen pal to write to Peter each week, sharing their knowledge and interest on their beloved team. Thanks to the team at Charlton Athletic this idea grew and Peter received signed memorabilia from the team and footballer Jason Pearce, took the time to send a video message to Peter and Riverdale Court wishing them all well.
NCF were also interested in featuring how Avante Care & Support staff had thought outside the box to keep residents entertained during the pandemic, focusing on an article written about Amherst Court and their serenade with a difference!
Staff at Amherst Court in Chatham arranged for a number of outdoor concerts to be held in the courtyard at the home for staff to watch from the balconies. The concerts were a huge success with many musicians volunteering their time to perform well known musical classics for residents and staff.
Marie Taylor, Activities Co-Ordinator at Amherst Court said, ‘Protecting residents and staff from Covid19 is our main priority and focus, but while we are doing that we want to ensure residents continue to feel comfortable, happy, settled and entertained at Amherst Court.
We have all had to think outside the box as a staff team about how best we can introduce entertainment and activities which keep to the rules on social distancing between residents, staff and entertainers.
We came up with the idea of using the courtyard as a stage area to serenade everyone at the home, as musicians can do so at a safe distance’.
As a run up to the launch, NCF shared a sneak preview of some of the stories in the ebook in the form of an Advent Calendar, a daily reflection of the stories during advent.
On Christmas Eve Riverdale Court featured in the NCF advent calendar with their ‘We are Family’ article read by Charlton Athletic footballer Jason Pearce https://www.nationalcareforum.org.uk/christmas-advent-calendar/
To see two stories, feature in the NCF Caring in Covid ebook is testament to the staff at Avante Care & Support and demonstrates how well have they responded to the challenges of this pandemic, their hard work, dedication and care will now become part of a legacy through this ebook demonstrating all of those who have worked in health and social care and helped fight against the Covid19 pandemic.
Caring in Covid is now available to download from the NCF website or you can click on the link below.
To read Avante Care & Supports stories in the Caring in Covid ebook please turn to page 62 and 89.