Two Wiltshire carers have been commended for their commitment to providing top quality care and support throughout lockdown.
Diana Stone from Calne, and Helen Chibamba from Royal Wootton Bassett faced the global pandemic at the frontline to support those most vulnerable and in need. They were both recognised and thanked at a socially distant awards ceremony and presented with a Nurses’ watch as a memento of their dedication.
Diana, a Senior Healthcare Assistant, volunteered to work in the Hospital Discharge Support Unit in Malmesbury at the beginning of the pandemic. This unit, similar to the NHS Nightingale Hospitals, was dedicated to the care and recovery of patients with COVID-19.
As a result, Diana had to sacrifice any contact with family outside of her household, including her seven year old step-daughter, whilst also trying to protect her husband and two sons from anything she could potentially have been carrying by maintaining strict hygiene and proximity measures when returning home from work.
Diana took on a frontline role to keep the unit going, including patients’ daily care, dealing with the admissions and discharges, as well as sourcing PPE for the unit.
Diana said: “When the opportunity came, I really wanted to help out on the unit but it had to be a family decision as everyone would be affected. My family were very supportive and coped well with the changes.
“The unit was mainly elderly people with COVID-19, who had been on ventilators in hospital and this was the next stage of their recovery. It was wonderful to see them leave the ward Covid-free, and to give them a round of applause as they headed home.”
Helen Chibamba was nominated by her colleagues to be a Retain Hero for her commitment to supporting a Retain customer during the last few months of his life, despite lockdown and the increasing spread of Coronavirus.
Helen supported this customer overnight every Saturday, Sunday and Monday, in order to ensure that he received the best quality care and vital continuity of care. She continued to support this customer every week throughout lockdown until the end of July, when he sadly passed away.
The care and support that the family received has been credited as a reason he lived longer than was initially expected. The family were reassured and confident in Helen’s ability to look after him and make his final few months as comfortable as possible. They described Helen as ‘kind, caring and patient and nothing was too much trouble’.
Helen, who has worked in care for 13 years but only joined Retain at the end of 2019, said: “It was a pleasure to support this customer and his family through the last few months of his life. I built up a good relationship with the family and helped where I was needed to ensure that they knew that he would be alright all through the night with me there.
“It was a lovely day to receive this recognition from Retain, although I really don’t see myself as a hero, I was just doing my job and would do the same for everyone.”
Retain Healthcare launched in 2019 to provide excellent homecare and support that focuses on achieving outcomes for customers and helping them to live the way they want, rather than just undertaking tasks that support immediate needs. Each week, the company delivers over 6,000 hours of care and support to people in their own homes, as well as providing an additional 3,000 hours of support to residential and nursing homes.
David Trowbridge, Managing Director of Retain, said: “Diana and Helen took on frontline roles whilst the rest of the country were locking down to stay safe. Both put their worries to the side to ensure that others received the care and support they needed.
“It was not only Diana and Helen who made sacrifices in order to help our community, but also their families. The Hero Awards recognised not only the dedication of our staff members, but also the commitment their families made, so that the families of those ill with COVID-19 could be assured that they were receiving the best possible care too.”
Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic so far, Retain has prioritised the safety of staff as well as ensuring continuity of care for those who they look after. Retain managed to overcome issues regarding the supply of PPE due to proactively building new relationships with suppliers and working with local companies in similar circumstances.
Retain has also devised and delivered a number of COVID-19 training sessions free of charge to other care providers, which was also shared on YouTube so that the training could be accessed instantly and by anyone who would benefit from it.
David continued: “I am proud to say that even with these global issues, which acutely affect our customers and staff, Retain Healthcare has managed to grow at one of the most hardest times any of us has faced in our careers. We are looking forward to continuing to support our local communities and collaborating with organisations to limit the impact that this year’s winter pressures will have.”