Randalstown woman praises the carers shielding her mum

Clive Nesbitt


Clive Nesbitt



THE ongoing COVID-19 lockdown has been challenging for most - but particularly for the families forced to live apart.

That is particularly the case for people with loved ones in nursing or care homes, which have become the new coronavirus frontline.

With visits now out of the question, they have been forced to trust armies of carers to keep their mums and dads safe - even though they are painfully aware that they are among the most vulnerable.

It is a desperately worrying time, but according to Randalstown woman Carol Stewart staff at a local care home have been moving mountains to assuage their concerns.

Her mum Jennifer, wife of popular GP Dr John Stewart who sadly passed two-years-ago, has been a resident at Brooklands Care Home in Antrim for just over a year.

And she has been impressed by their response to the unfolding crisis.

“I want to take this opportunity to give a shout out through the Guardian to the staff in my mother's care home,” she said.

“The home went into lockdown in mid March - before the UK-wide lockdown - with no non-essential visitors to ensure the safety of their residents.

“However the staff have since gone above and beyond to keep families in touch with their loved ones, while also taking all necessary steps to keep the home virus-free.

“This has included sending us photos, Easter cards made by our relatives and arranging weekly video calls.

“These kind gestures have been such a comfort to both the residents and relatives unable to visit them during these unsettled times and are much appreciated.

“The Brooklands manager is Sharon McCleary and the manager of my mum’s section - Donegore Suite, a specialist dementia unit - is Christina Carson. They have being doing this throughout the home, I understand.

“I would like to thank them and their teams for all they are doing.”

And that work goes on.

Like care homes across Antrim and Ballymena, Brooklands are striving to bring a sense of normality to the people in their care.

COVID-19 has not only ended family visits, but it has also had a knock on effect on other aspects of life - simple things like getting a hair cut.

Staff Team Leader and qualified Dementia Champion Christina, has been doing her utmost to make sure the residents are looking and feeling their absolute best.

Without the Care Home’s regular hairdressing visits, Christina decided to put on her former hairdressing cape and break out the skills.

With the recent good weather, maintenance man Mark built a ‘hydration station’ to help deliver cold drinks in their own bespoke non-alcoholic beer garden.

Photographs of open air - and socially distanced - parties have been shared on social media.

And going by the comments, families have drawn huge comfort from the fact that life goes on at ‘Costa del Brooklands’!

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