Update from the General Manager
The last 15 months has been a time like no other in living memory; restrictions on freedoms, loss, grief and uncertainty has tested us all. As we (hopefully) move towards what we used to see as normal I wanted to pay tribute to the staff and service users at K|E for how they have adapted to the pandemic and summarise the last year from our perspective.
When we were forced to close in March 2020 it was not unexpected. Staff immediately switched to keeping in regular, often daily, contact with our service users putting aside their own worries and concerns to provide much needed emotional and practical support. During the period of remote support staff made over 5,000 calls to check upon, reassure and give guidance to some of society’s most vulnerable.
We reopened our building and resumed face to face work in September 2020. Things were very different and it seemed like we had transformed into a series of one-way arrows and signs and become an ambassador for a well-known disinfectant brand…However, it was remarkable how quickly staff responded to the new work space. Our service users, some of whom have profound learning needs, adapted remarkably to the changes due to the supportive environment created by staff.
For over a year we have worked on two cohorts. Staff have kept apart outside of K|E and put the welfare of service users above personal friendships. They have followed rigorous infection control procedures, cleaning the building 5 times daily, testing regularly and creating well ventilated spaces. As a result, only one positive case of Covid-19 has been reported which due to the infection control framework in place meant there was no impact on other service users. Thankfully the service user made a full recovery.
In March 2021 we reconfigured the service again to increase the time service users could spend on site whilst maintaining social distancing and high levels of infection prevention and control. This was made possible due to staff agreeing to work longer days and over weekends because it was in the best interests of our service users.
K|E has shown the very best of adult social care in the most difficult of times. Our response to Covid has been highlighted as part of a national case study into how service provides responded to the pandemic – not bad for a charity in Benton! Finally, I will remain forever grateful to our staff for the dedication, flexibility and positive response to these changes.
Here’s to better times ahead.