Kirsty Ranachan is ENS Service Lead for Colchester, she has worked on the front line for the past year.
The main part of my role is to provide care to the people we support at ENS but I’m also service lead so am responsible for auditing staff and undertaking admin tasks such as updating care plans. I’ve worked full-time throughout the pandemic with alternative weekends off and when I’m not working, I also care for my mother who is in the high-risk category.
I realised the huge impact Covid would have as soon as we went into the first lockdown. Before that I thought the same as most people; that Covid felt quite far away and hadn’t reached us yet, if it would at all! Despite noticing the severity of Covid early on, again like many people I didn’t anticipate it would stick around for so long…
Working in care during the pandemic has had its challenges but many rewards too. The people I care for struggled to grasp the seriousness of Covid and found it hard to understand why all the things they enjoyed doing, like attending favourite clubs and socialising with friends, was no longer allowed. Due to health reasons some of them had been in hospital and already been away from the home and not socialising with people for several months.
In some ways the lockdown and isolation therefore started much earlier for them and as a result hit them all the harder.
They felt we were keeping them in unnecessarily as they couldn’t understand why they weren’t able to go outside. Understandably, this led to some real frustrations on their part which were particularity challenging. We had to find ways to explain the severity of the virus and the situation by communicating that it was a completely new virus, these were germs no one had had before and so it was making people very sick and that’s why we all needed to be so careful and stay inside.
Covid completely changed everything for the people I support. Before Covid we were straight out the door doing a variety of fun activities, like attending a group, watching a film, or shopping. As this was no longer an option, we had to be creative and find alternative things to do inside. We tried to incorporate housework and activities such as rock painting, going for a walk, jigsaws, or baking into the structure of the day, as structure is vital. This had a positive effect as it helped the people I support become a little bit more independent.
Working in a care role I’ve had to think about Covid risks on a daily basis more than most. It’s not just about my own safety, I am always thinking I might be putting the people I support at risk. I was incredibly cautious every time I went to the shops as I knew that if I caught Covid, every time I went to work, I could put vulnerable people at risk. I always ensured I had full PPE for everyone and was cleaning things constantly, every single shopping item that came in the house!
I always felt very safe with ENS as we had plenty of PPE and enhanced covid measures which made me feel protected at work but wearing PPE brought about other challenges. Some of the people we support struggled to recognise us at first. For example, if someone had a team of three people with blonde hair on rotation it was hard for them to work out which support worker it was initially. We would of course always say who we were straight away, so they knew but I noticed people looking at you longer trying to work out who you were behind the facemask. I would try to show as much expression with my face as I could such as smiling wide with my eyes, so they felt reassured, and the tone of your voice put people at ease too.
Being able to work and support people in their homes has been a huge source of motivation for me during the pandemic. Seeing the people I support learn and love new activities has been a huge boost!
The good days at work have helped me, helping my clients maintain a sense of normality, knowing that you are keeping those people going with their lives has been very fulfilling and hugely rewarding.
My tip to any care staff would be take each day at a time. Shrug off the bad days, as the good days could be tomorrow. One day can be hard and challenging but the next can be fun and rewarding. Although it has been a challenging year, my colleagues and I have always been there for each other.
That’s one of the best things about care, you’re all in it together and know what each other is going through.
I’ve definitely come away from working on the frontline over the past year with a different perspective and appreciation of things. In particular, the little things we’ve all perhaps taken for granted, like popping to the shops or having a nice lunch somewhere with the people I support.
Having now received both doses of my vaccine I can breathe a huge sigh of relief, as I no longer feel I have to worry quite as much about passing on Covid. After a year of adapting to the ‘new normal’ with the people I support I think we will now face new challenges as lockdown eases. The people we care for are now happy staying in and no longer want to go outside, so we now need to tackle getting them back outside! The benefits of them socialising and taking part in activities is huge so it is a challenge that we are definitely happy to take on and overcome!
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ENS has been our sole agency provider for the past 8 years. During this time we have worked in partnership to establish an agency service that provides us with the assurance that ENS staff are flexible, highly trained and able to adapt to our working environment across all of our diverse services.
ENS has been able to support our services to a very high standard throughout our geographical locations. Key Performance Indicators often exceed agreed outcomes.
Our relationship with their senior team and operational supervisors is professional and open. We are assured that our long standing working relationship with ENS will continue.
To this end we would not hesitate to recommend ENS as an agency provider to support their organisation.
We needed to fill two last minute vacancies with high quality teachers. With this brief, Julie from ENS did not disappoint. One candidate was from Canada and Julie ensured that the move over went as smoothly as possible both for the teacher and the school.
What impressed me the most was how Julie listened to exactly what I required and so no time was wasted on my part, sifting through candidates who would not have been good enough for my school. I would highly recommend ENS to another school looking to fill their teacher vacancies.
My daughter Lynda has enjoyed 24 hour care provided by ENS since July 2013. The care staff are all well trained & briefed as to her complex healthcare regime & are also very sociable. This is very important to Lynda who loves to talk &interact with them. They also manage her household budget, encourage her to participate in domestic tasks within her capabilities, & promote a healthy lifestyle. The administration of ENS is excellent & has ensured that Lynda has a regular rota of carers & that when stand ins are necessary that they have had shadow shifts with her.MG
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the hard work and support you have offered our Foyer and Parent and Child Scheme in managing the placement of temporary staff.
We appreciate the level of consistency and continuity your staff have bought to the schemes and would not hesitate in recommending the services of ENS Recruitment.
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