Wakefield carers working together to support vulnerable people

19/05/2020, PR-9404

Carers in the Wakefield district are stepping up to provide exceptional care during the coronavirus outbreak.

Cllr Denise Jeffery
Cllr Denise Jeffery

More than 3,200 staff are providing essential care and support to the most vulnerable people in the area, with many going above and beyond their usual roles to help others, at this unprecedented time.


Working in a variety of settings, carers provide home based care for more than 1,200 people, extra care services for 65 people and support to 1,800 people in care homes.


Specialist learning disability and mental health services are provided to 188 people in special care homes, 426 people in supported living accommodation and the short breaks service has 64 people using the service in the district.


The Council has received excellent feedback about the actions of dedicated care staff from families whose relatives rely on the care sector to keep their loved-ones as safe and well cared for during the restrictions.


Cllr Denise Jeffery, Leader of Wakefield Council said: “Caring for vulnerable people is a priority and especially so during this unprecedented situation. Key workers in care homes can too easily be forgotten, but we want to celebrate and thank them for their hard work and commitment in challenging circumstances.


“I have been hearing great reports about our many dedicated carers and I am very grateful and thank everyone for the amazing work they are doing.


“It is also very positive to see how our local communities are supporting these wonderful staff and all the work they are doing.”


The Council is working in partnership with the care sector to actively offer support and reassurance at this difficult time.

It has created an emergency hub for care providers to contact the Council to discuss any issues they are facing.


Additional financial support of £2m has been offered to the providers the Council works with, such as care homes, to help them with increasing costs.


The hub team have been delivering Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to providers who are running short or having difficulties in accessing what they need.


So far over 100 deliveries of PPE equipment have been made to the care sector and the team have delivered 3,600 lanyards to help key workers to be identified when they are out and about across the district.


Councillor Jeffery added: “We are very proud of everyone working in the care sector in our district during these exceptional circumstances. We shall continue to work together to support our incredible carers to deliver this exceptional care.”

Case study 1:


Woodlands of Woolley is a care home with a contract with Wakefield Council to look after people with dementia and is also home to residents who are privately funded.


At this difficult time the focus is to keep residents’ safe, whilst ensuring they can continue to do the activities they enjoy. Families are staying in regular touch, often daily, by using mobile apps such as Facetime.


Manager Vikki Banks, said: “We know that relatives feel awful not being able to visit their loved ones, so we have adapted our way of caring so they can see their loved ones and interact with them.


“As well as regular Facetime chats, we’ve had a number of birthdays and Facetime has been a lovely way to share the celebrations and mark the occasion.”


The home also has a Facebook group, filled with photos and videos of residents enjoying activities such as gardening, singing and painting.


“The current situation has been really challenging but we have all pulled together as a team,” said Vikki.” It’s about going the extra mile for our residents, and looking at how we can best support them.”


The home is in regular contact with the Council’s emergency hub, which provides advise and support to all care home in the district. “They have been absolutely fantastic in ensuring we as a team are supported and we can ask them for advice if we need it,” added Vikki


Relatives have praised the team for keeping their family members safe and in good spirits.


Linda Tennant and Barbara Lloyd’s mum, Enid Reynolds aged 89, is a resident. Linda said: “It is very reassuring being able to Facetime her with the help of staff who make it happen. She enjoys the gardening days and they are all doing the NHS clap. On my birthday all the residents wished me a happy birthday which I thought was lovely. You feel involved as we can see her every day and see that she is happy.


Barbara added: “We’re in touch on Facetime every day, and one of the members of staff has taken on hairdressing – and is doing their hair and nails. Our mum looks wonderful.”


Louise Moran, whose relative Doreen is a resident, said: “They are really good at keeping us in touch and always go the extra mile. Doreen has always loved gardening, and told them her favourite shrub is called ‘the bride’. Vikki has bought one, and Doreen has chosen where it is planted – it shows how caring and considerate they all are.”


Karen Hawksley, whose mum Judy lives at the home, said: “The staff are wonderful, being able to video call her means we see she’s well, happy and safe.

“They were especially great on her birthday as we couldn’t get to see her during lockdown. But on Facetime we could see them giving her, her cake and singing to her and this meant so much to us.”


Amanda Walton’s gran Joan Page is a resident and is impressed by how the staff are managing the current situation.  She said: “Everything is normal for the residents and they are having a nice time. They are out in the garden growing veg – in a way it’s like a summer holiday for them. I cannot praise the staff enough they are so caring and kind.”


Case study 2:


The community in and around Hazel Garth Care Home, have shown their support for staff and residents at this challenging time.


Chocolate and biscuits have been left anonymously on the doorstep of the Wakefield Council care home, which cares for people with dementia.


Cards from wellwiishers have also arrived, and local groups such as Warwick Ahead, Neighbourhood Watch and Warwick Group, have donated gifts such as flowers for residents to arrange and painting by numbers for kits for creative sessions.


Manager Tina Payne said: “We have been overwhelmed by the response of the community, who appreciate our wonderful staff and the care they give to residents.


“Colleagues have been willing to work flexibly and to cover shifts if others have to isolate for family reasons, which means we can deliver the care our residents deserve.”


Families are keeping in touch with relatives via whatsapp and a closed Facebook group.


Tina added: “The support has been amazing, thanks to everyone who’s got in touch."