An aspiring law student from Arundel, who took time away from her studies to support a local care home when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the UK, has spoken of the “eye-opening” experience and praised colleagues for their “excellent” approach to resident care.

 University of Kent law student Mariya Sony, 19, joined the team at Warmere Court care home during the initial wave of COVID-19 cases earlier this year, to lend a hand and gain experience in care work.

She said: “Throughout my first year in university I found myself really interested in medical law – the idea of working with hospitals and care homes to provide legal support for vulnerable members of society really resonated with me.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic started to impact the UK, I wanted to do my bit to help out, and also see first-hand what life is like for care workers and residents, as well as experiencing the same challenges they face. I’d never worked in a care home before, so it was a bit daunting, but fortunately the staff were friendly and helpful, despite the pressure they were under.”

Ms Sony, who is returning to university this month, spent her time helping residents get about the building, supporting them during mealtimes and assisting with any other requests they had. She has already planned to return to the home in the future when she is not at university.

She continued: “Working in care during the pandemic has been truly eye-opening. The team at Warmere Court have been excellent throughout, allaying the fears of any residents or relative in these unusual times.

“Staff were able to get full access to PPE and everyone received weekly COVID-19 tests, which made me feel that staff and residents were kept very safe throughout.”

Home manager Mary Latter added: “Mariya was a hugely welcomed addition to the team when we need help more than ever. Despite having no experience in care, she embraced her role with ease and was a friendly face for our residents.

“We look forward to Mariya re-joining us in the future – hopefully in much more favourable circumstances.”

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Shaw Covid Compliant
Shaw Covid Compliant

Dear Relatives,

We would like to thank you for your ongoing support of all our care homes and hard-working staff throughout the past year. It has been an incredibly challenging year for everyone, and we recognise the impact that the pandemic has had on all those connected to our homes and within our local communities. We are now hopefully seeing a way back to normal and look forward to opening our doors fully in the coming months.

However, following the recent announcement by the government, we are pleased to advise that from Monday 12th April 2021 our care homes in England will be able to allow visits from 2 named visitors(subject to a negative Lateral Flow Test and PPE being worn). We will also be extending visiting into the weekends as long as it is booked in advance. Your care home will discuss with you the guidelines we need to follow for you to become a named visitor.

Furthermore, we are also delighted to announce that for the first-time visits can include a child or baby. Children under the age of 2 will not count towards the 2 named visitor quota. Clearly, visits involving children will need to be carefully managed and in agreement with the home manager. As per the guidance those over the age of 11 will need to wear PPE and be tested (with parental consent).

Another development in the new approach to visiting is the nomination of an ‘essential care giver’. The essential care giver role is intended as a way of supporting the relatively small proportion of our residents who need some element of care and support that could only ever be provided by someone with a unique personal relationship with the resident, perhaps formed over many years. It is likely that this person will already be part of the ongoing care plan for the resident. All this will be at the discretion of the manager and the care giver will be subject to the rigorous testing regime currently undertaken by our own staff. Please speak with your Home Manager for further details.

In summary from 12th April 2021 the new government guidelines for care home visits allow for;

1. 2 named visitors (see the guidance for help on how you could become a named visitor and what restrictions apply)

2. Children can also visit with those under the age of 2 not counted as part of the 2 named visitor quota (see the guidance for help and what restrictions apply)

3. A person can apply for essential carer status but this will need to assessed and agreed by the Home Manager and is subject to rigorous testing.

The Government guidance on care home visiting in England can be found HERE.