We’re even stronger after coronavirus

22nd May 2020

Staff at FitzRoy’s Stockport service are even more united after two residents and two members of staff were diagnosed with coronavirus.

Sam, service manager of our supported living service Highfield Avenue, said: “When the lockdown started we had to try and explain that the day services were suspended. Paula and Michelle took it really badly. They were really upset and couldn’t understand why they couldn’t go, at first they thought it was us stopping them from going. We tried to keep a sense of routine in the service to keep the morale going for them.

“We used some of the easy read and story resources FitzRoy’s assistive technologist Carrie sent to help explain the situation, which definitely helped. Michelle was really upset because she couldn’t understand why she couldn’t go into Hyde town, which was a big part of her normal routine. It was really challenging to see her so upset, that has got to be one of the hardest parts.

“Soon after lockdown a member of staff began showing symptoms, and then tested positive for coronavirus. I contacted our local infection control team and the nurse came and tested all the people we support at Highfield. We explained to the residents what was involved with a test so they were prepared, and unfortunately two out of our six residents, Paula and Laura, came back as positive.

“It got even harder then because we had to keep them in their own rooms away from the other people we support. We tried to stick to a routine so they could go out into the garden one at a time so they didn’t feel cooped up indoors. Paula is quite a sensory person, she likes to be able to give people hugs and so she definitely found it the most challenging. They both had quite high temperatures and some stomach problems.

“Paula really had her down days in the beginning, but now she is cheerful all the time. She’s really come through this awful experience stronger than ever, and she’s so positive now, every day. It’s just wonderful to see. Every time I see her she has a lovely smile on her face.”

“The staff have been brilliant all through this, it’s a scary time for everyone but they have just come through it stronger, despite the fact that two staff members and two residents contracted the virus.

“Staff themselves have got their own worries, and yet they’re still coming in and putting the people we support first. There’s definitely a sense of ‘we’re in this together’ at Highfield.”

Support worker Gerry said: “It has been quite tough, we have mainly been working hard to keep the women upbeat because they don’t understand what is going on or why they can’t go out like normal. We have been doing lots of activities with them such as making cards for their families, baking and gardening. They are all missing their families which is a really hard part. We have been making sure they can call them and do video chats regularly, which has helped tremendously.

“It has been challenging but it is part and parcel of the job. It is brilliant that Laura and Paula are happy and healthy now, and Paula can enjoy her 50th birthday on Sunday! We are going to have a buffet and some music and my daughter is baking her a cake.

“We are a really strong team anyway, we always help each other, but I would say we are even stronger now. We’re very much like a family.”