Luan, Head of Care at Athelstan House looks back at an eventful year
“I’m so proud of everyone who works here, it’s made us stronger as a team."
Luan Mitchell, Head of Care at OSJCT Athelstan House in Malmesbury, looks back at an eventful year at the care home.
The 27-year-old, joined Athelstan House as a housekeeper in 2013 and in turn became a carer, care leader and in summer 2020, the Head of Care at the home where her nan had lived.
At the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic Luan, who had been living with her parents, made the decision to move in with her sister and nieces into their two bed house, in order to protect her mother who shielded due to a rare disease which requires regular treatment.
Luan was able to move back in with her parents as infection rates dropped, as the second lockdown was announced, she moved in with her partner and his mum, forgoing visits to her mum, again to protect her. By December, Luan was able to go home to mum and dad and be with them for Christmas.
Luan said: “It was wonderful to spend the day together, after a dramatic and stressful year. I’d had hopes that me and my boyfriend would spend 2020 looking for a place to live together and but that went out the window with the need to consider the safety of our families and to allow me to continue to work at Athelstan.
“It was very hard not being able to spend time with my mum and to rely on Facetime and phone calls. We all hope that 2021 will be easier and that families won’t have to spend long times apart.”
Stressful times at work
Luan said: “Working during the first wave of the pandemic was very sad and stressful. We were dealing with the unknown, and the worry was constant. We were afraid of more COVID-19 cases and scared of catching it and passing it on.
“It has been reassuring to have weekly tests. Even though the increased cleaning schedules, risk assessments and testing take people away from their day jobs, we know it’s needed and it’s keeping us safe. We’ve all adapted.
“From July, life at Athelstan House got a little brighter. After residents had spent weeks isolating inside their rooms, they were able to form social bubbles of six and sit in the lounge and socialise. It was wonderful to see that happen, and to see family visits resume in our summer house in the good weather.”
Luan noted that teams at the home have been very loyal, and she was happy to welcome back students, who had previously worked as carers, come back in the holidays to work bank shifts, after their quarantining and testing.
“It’s been nice to see students again in the home, to know that they still want to work here, even with the risks and the fears of Covid-19.
I’m so proud of everyone who works here, it’s made us stronger as a team, we got through the first wave together, and we know that this winter will be hard but we know we can rely on each other.”
Luan’s hopes for 2021
Luan is looking forward to the time when entertainers and families can visit the home freely.
“We have facilities for indoor visits and for residents to video call their family members, but I miss the times when relatives could visit without booking. In those days, families would stay for dinner with their relatives and join in with our entertainment days. That’s my wish for 2021, for our residents and families to enjoy the home freely.”