The coronavirus outbreak has been a difficult time for everyone in Hull and the East Riding, none more so than our the regions’ care homes. Elm Tree Court on Preston Road has, like most other homes, seen its fair share of challenges and difficulties since March, and sadly knows only too well the terrible effect this can have on their residents.  However, in true British fashion the home has rolled up their collective sleeves and carried on providing excellent care and support services and an exemplary quality of life to their residents despite the most trying of circumstances.

“I am so proud of my staff.” said Home Manager Debra Hammerton. “They have been fantastic even when at the start they didn’t know anything about the virus. They just got their PPE on and delivered care. What a selfless, brave thing to do when they were frightened themselves. We have all worked as a team and helped each other through it. They all deserve medals.”

As soon as lockdown happened Elm Tree Court mobilised itself quickly to ensure that the impact was as small as possible to the residents.

“Elm Tree Court has always had an open door policy and we have always welcomed friends and family to come and visit whenever they want – they are as much a part of the HICA Family as residents and staff, so lockdown made itself known very quickly. So we requested some extra mobile phones so residents could keep in touch with people via Face Time and Skype which has worked really well to reduce isolation and allay family’s concerns. We also utilise Twitter which families follow. They love to see their loved ones happy and enjoying activities.”

Debra was proud to say that their full activity programme continues to run, although changes have been made to accommodate more one-to-one activities due to social distancing. One favourite activity though is missing. Through necessity entertainers have been unable to access the home. But even this they have managed to get around by having one of their regular entertainers performing from their home which they broadcast live to the individual communities within the home.

“Our activities department and staff have worked so hard to try to ensure that life can carry on as near as normal for our residents, while always observing the government guidelines for social distancing by separating chairs to protect our residents.

“VE day was a very important day for our residents. The original celebration had to be changed due to the present pandemic, but the home celebrated the occasion the best it could in the circumstances.” Evidence of this can be seen on the home’s Twitter feed.

Debra continued, “But it has not been just us. At HICA we have a terrific support team at Head Office who have ensured that we have never been short of PPE and that we are kept up-to-date on Government regulations via the company mobile phone app, as well as making sure the company continues to run efficiently.

“And the community as a whole have been fantastic. We have had donations of PPE and treats for the staff as a thank you for all they are doing. All of which means so much to the staff. They don’t do their job for recognition but when they receive it means the world to them. And they in turn mean the world to the residents. At the end of the day, no matter what life throws at us we will get through it because we are all one big happy family. The HICA Family.”

The HICA Group is a not for profit organisation, which operates a portfolio of 16 residential care homes, five of which are for people with a learning disability, along with two retirement villages.  The company also runs a home care service providing approximately 11,500 hours of support and care from five regional offices in the North of England and Staffordshire.