Guest post from Claire Samson, Supervisor, Carewatch Ayrshire
Winter 2017/2018 has proved to be a challenge for many due to severe weather conditions. At the end of February, Mother Nature dealt a blow by way of:
“The Beast from the East”
Seemingly unequipped to deal with the heavy snowfall, which had been forecast for weeks prior to the event, the country almost came to a standstill with many companies closing early to allow staff to get home safely. Some closing due to not being able to receive deliveries. Schools and local services all closed down for Health and Safety reasons.
One employment sector, however, carried on regardless.
A wee bit of snow did not deter the carers from the Ayrshire branch of Carewatch, who fought their way through the storm to ensure that care was delivered to North and East Ayrshire’s most vulnerable people.
Carewatch Care Staff abandoned their cars (safely), donned their wellies and waded through the sometimes knee-deep snow, in order to reach their clients. With some carers walking in excess of 20 miles over the course of a day, to ensure that they carried out personal care, prepared meals and gave important medication to some of the country’s most vulnerable and elderly people.
All Hands on Deck
Management staff and Supervisors all mucked in as the company adopted an “All Hands on Deck” strategy. Calls were made to clients offering them reassurance that their visits would be carried out, although, their care staff may be running late due to the weather conditions. The office kept in regular contact with the community carers to make sure that they were managing ok, and where possible, supervisors and response staff assisted to cover some of their visits, and helped to get them to and from different areas, which were barely accessible by car.
Every effort was made to ensure that care staff, as well as the Service Users, were safe and comfortable as they endured the weather. In one Ayrshire area, a supervisor walked almost a mile carrying a bin bag full of wellies and thick socks, which the company paid for, to give to the care staff as the conditions worsened. Ironically the local welly shop was closed as their staff were snowed in at home. Thank goodness for the Home Hardware store.
Staff all kept their sense of humour throughout. A couple of snowball fights here and there, and even taking over an Igloo built by the locals – well at least it would have came in handy if the carers got stuck overnight. Not to forget the good exercise for those of us who were still trying to shed the Christmas weight. Walking through snow gives 5 times the impact of regular walking. All in all, a good job done by everyone involved and it shows the dedication and continued hard work of care at home staff, and it just goes to show -