A care home manager has spoken of the “immense pride” she feels over her “brilliant” staff and “lovely” residents – after not recording a single coronavirus case.
Jodie Boucher, who runs Carr Croft in Leeds, West Yorks., said there is no “magic secret” and that she kept her home clear of the rules by “adapting” and “following the rules”.
She describes her 26 elderly residents, some of whom have dementia, as her “extended family” and said she would “do anything in the world” for them.
Jodie, 43, even decided to avoid seeing her two children on Christmas Day so that she could be with her residents without having to worry about passing anything on.
All those living at Carr Croft have now been vaccinated, which Jodie said has given everyone a “little boost” despite the ongoing lockdown.
She added: “I’m immensely proud of my brilliant staff and also the lovely residents who live here, everyone has been amazing.
“We’ve really come together to make it work despite all the challenges – and there have been a lot of challenges over the past 12 months.
“It’s been a difficult time but we have managed by following the rules and making sure everything was done right.
“The other important aspect of the last year or so has been keeping morale high and making sure everyone is happy.
“I’m really pleased to say that the residents here have all coped really well, they’re continuing to live their lives despite what a lot of people may think.
“They and the staff here deserve a lot of credit.”
To date, more than 100,000 Britons have died from coronavirus and it’s thought around 30,000 of those people lived in care homes.
Jodie said it has been “heartbreaking” to watch events unfold and that she is concerned about how the perception of care homes may have changed.
She added: “There has been so much negative news that I worry people might have lost trust in what we do.
“I want our home to show that there are good news stories out there, it’s not all doom and gloom everywhere.
“A vast majority of people who work in care are like us – committed to the job. I want the public to see that.”
Jodie explained one of the key things she has maintained which has helped over the past 12 months are regular tests, often three times a week, for her staff.
In addition to that, she has been carrying out regular risk assessments in order to identify and remedy any issues that may have arisen.
Jodie said: “There’s no magic secret which explains why we have managed to avoid any positive tests.
“I’m passionate and so are my staff about we do, so we have done everything to the best of our ability.
“I really can’t praise the people I work with enough, they’re wonderful.”
She added: “Following the guidance and maintaining a strict testing regime has been key.”
Jodie said another new challenge over the past 12 months has been ensuring her residents are coping with their changing lifestyles as a result of the pandemic.
She added: “We have had to make sure they have been supported the entire time.
“A big part of that has been including the residents in the process by letting them know what’s happening throughout.
“I think that has been very important, they don’t feel left behind.
“I’ve taken the same approach with the staff, I’m always asking everyone if they are alright and if they need anything.
“Fortunately everyone, including the residents, has been fine.”
One way Jodie has helped keep her clients entertained is by setting them up with pen pals in the local area.
She said: “With social interaction changing for obvious reasons we have had to think outside the box.”
Meanwhile, children from a local primary school have been sending cards in.
Carr Croft has also erected a heated pagoda in the garden so residents can enjoy outside visits with loved ones when restrictions permit them to.
Jodie said: “It’s been a very challenging time but I couldn’t be more proud of everyone.
“Hopefully this year we can get back to normal.”