National covid hero award for battling care home staff

A care home manager has described how tough it has been over the last 18 months of the pandemic, as she and her team receive a national award for their efforts.

The Ashdene care home team at the Great British Care Awards. EMN-210410-150802001

Ashdene care home in Sleaford picked up the Social Care Covid Hero Team Award, up against 16 finalists at the Great British Care Awards ceremony held in Birmingham last week.

It was the first time of entering having been nominated by relatives of residents and Jilly Hunt and her team were said by judges to have used innovative ways to ensure the wellbeing and safety of residents in very challenging circumstances. They impressed the judges with their enthusiasm to support one another as well as the residents in their care. “They are truly exceptional!” said the panel.

Home manager Jilly said: “It was a brilliant night and everyone was able to let their hair down and have some fun at long last, everyone was dressed to the nines.”

Arg and Mark Wright from TOWIE were guest presenters, with entertainment by a Dolly Parton impersonator and the characters from the Wizard of Oz, plus a three course meal and bubbles.

Jilly said: “I am so very proud of the entire team. It’s a massive achievement and I thank everyone for all their hard work and dedication to keep all the residents and team safe.”

She said they will eventually have a celebration event at the home, explaining: “The last 18 months have been really tough. We went through two outbreaks, with the last one being particularly difficult.

“The first was in January when it was mostly staff from their Christmas ‘bubble’. The second one in July was scary, when you have frail people catching Covid even having been vaccinated, but they pulled through.

“The team pulled out all the stops and worked extra hours rather than bringing in agency staff, coming up with ideas to keep everybody safe.”

Now the first staff are getting booster jabs and soon they expect boosters for residents.

Jilly advised caution: “Those not affected don’t realise there are still lots of risks in care homes because residents are so clinically extremely vulnerable.”