Torbay care home:‘we’re one big happy family’

Residents enjoying life at the Grange-Lea care home

Residents enjoying life at the Grange-Lea care home - Credit: Archant

Care homes have been at the forefront of the latest battle against Coronavirus but one Torbay home is thriving as one big happy family

Residents enjoying life at the Grange-Lea care home

Residents enjoying life at the Grange-Lea care home - Credit: Archant

IT has been described as the new frontline in the Covid-19 crisis and care homes across Torbay are performing modern miracles to maintain morale and safety for elderly people.

The staff at Grange-Lea Care Home in Preston are just one shining example of the compassion, dedication and sacrifice required to keep residents both shielded and stimulated.

'I've worked here for 22 years and I feel very lucky to work in such a strong team,' said manager Nikki Tucker-Stone.

'The main thing is that every single member of staff absolutely loves the home and they love the residents.

Residents enjoying life at the Grange-Lea care home

Residents enjoying life at the Grange-Lea care home - Credit: Archant

'I feel very blessed the staff are so committed and they have made so many sacrifices, picking up shifts and avoiding contact away from the home.

'We have families that we miss as well but the support from everyone has been inspirational.

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'We also get great support from families and that boosts morale. All the families know how much we love their loved ones and we send out a weekly newsletter to keep them informed with everything.

'We feel very supported by local GPs, community nurses and physios, every call they offer support, remind us they are here and available to us, and always ask how we all are.'

The 33 residents and 30 staff at Grange-Lea remain healthy, with Nikki and her team operating a policy of complete transparency for those in their care.

As well as providing regular updates, Grange-Lea have also educated their residents in technological opportunities to keep them connected with family and friends.

'So far, we are all doing well, our residents are all healthy and we've got no positive cases of Coronavirus,' she said. 'We are still able to maintain activities and the social side of things within the home remain the same.

'We have created light distancing in communal areas as a precaution, but people still have company, which is important.

'The staff wear masks at all times, as well as aprons and gloves, which was standard practise anyway.

'When it was first recommended to wear masks at all times, we had a meeting with the residents to explain because masks can make people feel fearful.

'Three times a week, I will hold a quick catch-up with the residents and let them know what we're doing. They deserve to be well informed.

'You can watch the news and one resident said 'it makes it feels like a care home is a death sentence', whereas they are still able to sit in the garden, enjoy a glass of wine and take part in activities.

'The reality in our home is thankfully different to what people are hearing in the news.

'We've got mobile phones with video calls available, as well as two Chromebooks for people to contact.'

Some residents prefer to chat on the phone and it is so important for families to keep in touch. Nikki said: 'Families will also send in emails with pictures of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, which we will print out for residents.

'We also have big gardens and we allow people to come in pre-arranged on occasion to visit from a distance, so if anyone gets particularly low, or a special occasion like a birthday, we can accommodate.

'We obviously don't want to encourage non-essential travel but if you're 99 and can't see your relatives, you begin to wonder if you ever will see them, so it's important for mental health.'

One resident with an ecclesiastical background, produced something very special to celebrate the Easter weekend. 'We have a Reverend who is a resident at the Home and he actually performed a service on Easter Day,' said Nikki.

'He lives here with his wife and his cat, and the service was absolutely fantastic for everybody.'

The residents and staff at Grange-Lea are true heroes for the way they are coping in these challenging times – and worthy of a nomination in the Torbay Weekly Our Heroes initiative.