Friday, January 22, 2021

Vaccinated and Fake News!

I am delighted to report that all residents and all staff were vaccinated this week.  Other than the one staff member who tested positive for Covid19 and remains asymptomatic, we have remained Covid free.

We are testing regularly and all is well and calm.  Today every resident had a manicure and we have been enjoying singing along to the Sound of Music.  I was able to sit and chat with every single resident today one on one, they are happy, content and as safe as we can possibly keep them all.

As I type this the ITV news is on in the background in one of the lounge areas in our care home. There is a “ special program “ about the challenges experienced by those living with dementia in care homes.  The headlines talk about how the pandemic has had a detrimental impact on residents with dementia due to the lack of visits from family and friends.  

Apparently ITV did an exclusive survey of over 100 care homes to ask whether the physical and mental health of residents had been Impacted, nine of ten said yes.  We were called, by ITV but asked a different question.

The ITV program will cover claims that the use of anti-psychotic drugs for those living with dementia has increased due the lack of family visits during the pandemic.  From our point of view not one of our residents has been put on an antipsychotic drug during the pandemic.  A professor is quoted saying that  ...”“drugging” has become one of the few tools left to treat serious lockdown anxiety and that the best treatments for agitation are human contact, good nursing care - reassurance, a hug”.  The implication is that care homes up and down the country are drugging residents because they are so unhappy and lonely in the pandemic. The implication is that in care homes residents only receive human contact , care, reassurance and a hug from their family members.  The reality could not be further from the truth, carers treat residents as their loved ones, their Own family members.  The pandemic has brought carer and resident even closer.

The program has not yet been on, but I anticipate that it is going to portray a story of life in care homes during the pandemic in a very unfavorable light.  

Life during the pandemic has been tough for everyone, but I don’t believe these claims are true.  I believe it is scaremongering and for the vast majority of care home residents living with dementia the love, care and affection shown by the tens of thousands of carers who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic can not be underestimated.

To imply that residents have not had human contact, reassurance and a hug during lockdown is simply incorrect.  It has been really hard on everyone not seeing their loved ones, whether they live in a care home with dementia or not.  

What makes a carers job so much harder in the pandemic is this sort of reporting.  Carers themselves have struggled with not seeing their own families, having the enormous burden of knowing that they are caring for the most vulnerable in society.  Knowing that they will really be on the frontline if there is an outbreak in their care home.  

To every carer who works tirelessly, demonstrating, love, empathy, patience, hard work and ultimate dedication... hold you head up high and be proud.   You are doing a great job.  Ignore the fake news!

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