Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, care home staff across the UK have amazed the nation with how well they can work under such uncertain circumstances, continuing to deliver care safely to residents at the homes where they work. Staff at Amherst Court in Chatham are no exception and have strived to protect residents and themselves from contracting the virus.

At the same time, staff have also worked hard to keep residents entertained and family members regularly updated on their loved ones. For many years Amherst Court has been recognised by the Care Quality Commission as an outstanding home providing outstanding care to those who reside there. As well as providing great care, staff also focus on social interaction and engagement and support residents to revisit hobbies and interests they have previously enjoyed before moving into the home. One resident at the home, Paul, is an Olympic silver medallist from the Olympic Games held in Tokyo in 1964, for race walking in the Men’s 50 kilometres walk. Paul has always been an active chap and a keen walker but in more recent years there had been a noticeable decline in Paul’s mobility and at times would become unsteady on his feet. When Paul moved into Amherst Court staff supported Paul and his daughter to look at how best they could encourage Paul to be more mobile and active. Staff encouraged Paul to take part in indoor sports activities such as football and golf and last year Paul was one of five residents who enjoyed a three night holiday in a caravan. The mini break alone had so many positive effects on Paul and has since seen his mobility improve and his confidence grow.

Sylvia is another resident who can demonstrate a number of improvements in her wellbeing since moving into Amherst Court. Sylvia moved into Amherst Court from another care home where she had been receiving end of life care, but her family knew if she could be stimulated and encouraged to do the things she enjoyed the most, then her care could be very different. Within four weeks of moving to Amherst Court Sylvia was interacting with other residents and taking part in many activities. Within three months she was working part time on the reception desk, doing what she loved! Sylvia used to work in administration at a jam factory and staff thought it would be a nice idea to see if Sylvia would like to revisit some of the jobs she used to do on reception. Now Sylvia can often be found welcoming families into the home and generally supporting staff with their day to day administrative tasks.

Sylvia and Paul are perfect examples of how the care received at Amherst Court not only meets their care needs but also encourages and supports them to live a vibrant and fulfilling life.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic Sylvia and her son Alistair and Paul and his daughter met with staff at Avante to share their stories and talk about their time at Amherst Court.