Following government and NHS guidance, identifying risks and outbreaks and developing a response to keep everyone safe is part of our day to day work now at FitzRoy as we face the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and do everything we can to keep the people we support and our staff safe.
We caught up with FitzRoy service manager Ginny to find out how her team is coping. She said: “One of the hardest challenges for us is having to explain to the people we support the things they are not allowed to do – it is not our usual approach at FitzRoy! I manage our Support At Home outreach service in Norfolk – our job is to provide additional support to people with learning disabilities and autism so they can live independently in their own homes. Depending on the needs of the person, we could be supporting them for three hours a week for a social activity or for 24 hours a day so they can remain in their own home that is familiar to them, especially as they get older.
“We support couples to manage and maintain their personal relationships and great friendships have blossomed over the years. We are used to the people we support telling us what they want to do for the day, living their lives independently with additional support from us. Having to say what is allowed and what isn’t allowed is so hard, but my staff have been amazing at protecting the people we support as a number one priority.
“Lots of FitzRoy services have now got our own fogging machines to help us sanitise and keep coronavirus out. As you can see from the photo, Megan and Mike from our Walsingham service really got into it, calling themselves the ‘ghostbusters’! Our staff have such a brilliant way of turning every situation into a positive.
“We’re using the recommended PPE, changing face masks numerous times throughout shifts, making sure we are doing everything we can to keep the people we support and our staff as safe as possible. These are just some of the things that we have implemented, alongside having hand gel stations everywhere, disinfectant and fabric sprays to help keep everything and everyone as safe as possible at all times and enough PPE to cover from head to toe! This lockdown will be harder than the previous ones, as it is a lot colder now so we can’t make use of our gardens quite so much. But even so, our support workers are being creative with their ideas.
“Over Christmas obviously the rules changed quite drastically with not much notice, but even then staff pulled out all the stops to make the festive period as lovely as possible for the people we support. They just carried with no complaints, and they did such a brilliant job celebrating Christmas, complete with big Christmas dinners and thoughtful gifts. I couldn’t be more proud.”