13 Aug 2020

“I love seeing the residents having fun.”


Megan Derry is a senior carer at Christ the King Care Home, Shenstone She has worked for Sisters Hospitallers for 6 years. When Covid-19 was announced, her role changed completely and she became aware of how vital her job was in protecting our vulnerable residents.

 

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Megan Derry. I am 23 years old and a Senior Carer at Footherley Hall. I enjoy spending my spare time with my family and friends.

How long have you been working for the Sisters Hospitallers? Did you know about our Institution before?

I have been working here for over 6 years. I did not know about the institute before this.

Megan Derry.

What do you like most about your job? Would you change anything?

Knowing I can make a difference to someone’s life and helping them maintain their independence is an extremely rewarding experience.

Can you tell us about your daily activities?

My daily activities are helping the residents with washing and dressing and giving out medication. I also help the residents to take part in leisure activities such as trips around our lovely gardens.

What is it like to work with the sisters?

The Sisters’ help us a lot and we are so grateful that we have them here to help us. When the Sisters had to isolate, due to COVID-19, we realised how much they do for us and we really did miss them.

“Knowing I can make a difference to someone’s life and helping them maintain their independence is an extremely rewarding experience.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about working at Christ the King?

It is a great place to work. All the staff work as a team and do an amazing job which at times is in very trying circumstances and we always have to smile for residents and visitors alike.

What do you enjoy the most about residents?

I love seeing the residents having fun. We have great activity staff so there is always something going on. I enjoy listening to the residents’ stories about the war, it is so fascinating.

What do you find most challenging about your job?

Watching someone you care for every day die.

What would you say makes this Institution special?

The Sisters – we are very lucky to have them.

Have you been through any difficult times working there?

Working throughout the pandemic has been the hardest time working here.

Read Megan’s experience during the pandemic:

 

I knew my job was vital to protect our residents, who are extremely vulnerable. This horrible virus was sweeping through the country rather rapidly. When the first case of COVID-19 was detected within the care home it was extremely shocking, for me, and made the pandemic a reality and not just something I watched on the news. It was a worrying time, having heard so much about the devastation the virus was causing across the world. So many thoughts crossed my mind. How quickly will the virus spread? Is there enough PPE? Will I catch it and take It home to my family or pass it on to the residents? However, at this point, I knew how important it was for me to carry on providing the standard of care I always have.

Management placed strict procedures in place, and PPE was issued. I felt fortunate that we were provided with enough to keep all staff safe, which enabled us to continuously provide the best possible care to our residents. With PPE on, I felt hot and claustrophobic and it was very difficult to wear this for the duration of my shift; sometimes being a 12-hour day. We had PPE donated to us by schools and residents’ family members. Although I knew the PPE was there to keep the residents and be safe, it did change the way I was able to communicate with them. It stripped away the personal element of my job, a lot of deaf residents were unable to read my lips, therefore making communication a lot more difficult.

During the pandemic I found myself having to take on more shifts than usual. We were short-staffed at times, due to staff members having time off self-isolating. This was a task for all staff at Footherley however and it was lovely to see a sense of teamwork that I have never experienced before.

Being on the front line I watched our Covid-19 residents struggle to breathe and slowly deteriorate in front of me. Every time I returned to work, I hoped and prayed that the residents I cared for the day before, were still well and safe. It was hard holding in my emotions, but support was provided throughout from management and staff. Despite wearing full PPE, we were still able to reassure the residents and hold their hands. I became the closest thing they had to the family at this time, due to them being unable to see their own loved ones.

I felt proud of myself and my team on the front line. The community supported us throughout and have shown their generosity by sending gifts and thank-you messages. This touched all of the staff members and gave us the momentum to keep going.

This experience is something that I will never forget, and many positives have come from the situation. I have seen things I have never seen before and been put into situations I never thought I would be put in, but all of this has made me a stronger person.