Working in a care home during coronavirus

Andrea McAfee

Andrea normally works in our fundraising team. But since our services in Northern Ireland have been short on staff, she’s been helping at three of our supported living services in Belfast.

She told us how she's finding the change of role and what working on the frontline during the coronavirus crisis is really like.

When I started working in services I was completely terrified! Because it’s so different from my usual role.

I’ve been with Leonard Cheshire so long that I came at it thinking, "I know most of these people". But I didn’t, because things and people have changed.

The experience has reaffirmed our founder’s mission and humanitarianism for me. It’s brought things back to our core aim - to support people with disabilities to live, learn and work. And it’s the living bit that’s key at the moment.

Andrea wearing PPE
Andrea in her PPE

Supporting each other and being there for our residents

I found the original training quite difficult. Hygiene, infection control and meds were ok but the personal care, I found terrifying. So, I haven’t had to do so much of this.

We’re being asked to support our support workers, so nobody is alone. It’s helped that I’ve had others around, such as our wonderful Team Leader, Thelma.

So far, everyone has been lovely. The residents are being supportive and kind to all of us because they know it’s not what we normally do.

Residents are the highlight of working in care

I've loved being able to reengage with people in our services. I’m enjoying talking to residents I’ve met before. There are loads of people I haven’t met before, so finding out who they are too has been brilliant.

There’s a wonderful lady in one of our services and she has the most amazing shoe collection I’ve ever seen! It's so great to see her maintaining this glamour throughout the pandemic. She’s such a laugh and has a wicked sense of humour. It’s lovely to see her and she really cheers me up.

Wherever we come from, we are all the same

I couldn't recommend working in our services more. You’re bound to be terrified, that’s normal. It will probably be completely different from what you normally do, but you will get over that.

And you’ll meet some amazing people. Remember we are all the same. There are more similarities uniting us than there are differences dividing us.

Protect our carers with PPE

We are doing all we can to stop the spread of coronavirus, save lives and keep people safe. More equipment to protect our carers is urgently needed.

Protect our carers with PPE