Caring for Brendon, not just his coronavirus care needs
When diagnosed with coronavirus it’s scary, overwhelming and life-consuming, and the weight of the worry can sometimes be too much to bear.
And someone who knows all about that strain is 95-year-old Brendon Fawley from Sanctuary Care’s Basingfield Court Residential Care Home in Basingstoke. Brendon openly admits he felt “terrified” about his own diagnosis, and without the support and care from the home’s team, he wouldn’t have felt as brave or resilient when struck with Covid-19 – read his story:
Brendon is a very cheerful person, you will always find him in good spirits with a reason to smile – not just for himself, but for his fellow residents and the home’s team.
But back in April, he was really not himself - he wasn’t feeling great, his infectious smile was dampened and just by looking at him you could tell everything was an effort.
Supporting Brendon’s anxiety
So the decision was made to test Brendon, who was already self-isolating. But as soon as the team mentioned Covid-19 testing Brendon’s anxiety peaked. Lou White, home manager, explained:
“Brendon was very aware of the seriousness of coronavirus - he knew too well it was keeping him away from physically seeing his loved ones as well as the impact it was having across the globe. So when he started to feel unwell and we advised we needed to test for Covid-19, he automatically starting panicking and worrying - he was dreading the results and was assuming the worst possible outcome.”
The wait for the results felt like a lifetime for Brendon. The 95-year-old was already receiving regular ‘check-ins’ and wellbeing chats from the team, but as he was waiting for the results he was feeling really low, so the team tried to ensure there was someone around to reassure Brendon at all times.
Caring for the person
Lou continued: “Our care for our residents goes beyond physical care needs, we care for the whole person including their emotional needs. And while we were waiting for test results, Brendon’s emotional and wellbeing needs were becoming far greater than his care needs. He was simply terrified and all he needed was someone to be there - to listen, to reassure and to remind him what an amazingly strong person he was - and that’s what we did in abundance.”
While the home and Brendon were awaiting the results, Lou and her team stayed in touch with his loved ones. Together, once the ‘positive’ result was confirmed, the team and his family planned how they would pass this information onto Brendon, with a supportive and person-centred approach, ensuring he remained reassured and safe.
Lou shared: “Even though Brendon’s Covid-19 experience was not as medically serious as some, we were all worrying about his wellbeing. Throughout his illness, the whole team continued to be there, supporting him and ensuring he was continually comforted. And as with all our residents, we kept loved ones informed of any changes, no matter how small because to them, and to us, it maybe small on paper but the residents are our world, so it means everything.”
“…the carers supported me at every step…”
Sharing his views on his time with coronavirus, Brendon added: “It was so terrifying for me but positive thinking is what pulled me through and that was all thanks to the carers who supported me at every step of the way. They made me focus on just me and made the concept of living with Covid-19 manageable, easing all my panic - I couldn’t have done it without them. So for anyone who is going through it, try to have faith and believe you will be okay – just keep thinking this is a virus you can beat.”
Giving insight on how she managed to keep everyone feeling safe during this time, Lou continued: “It sounds so simple but it’s so important, as soon as I was aware of coronavirus and the implications it may have on the care sector, I briefed my team with what was happening and what might come to our home and it was as integral as ever to ensure that Basingfield Court did not lose its homely spark. As always my team continued to deliver their high quality service, including homely and delicious meals, outstanding care and person-centred activities. And while activities did have to be adapted, they have continued and remained to a high standard for everyone, even those who were isolating like Brendon, who managed to enjoy a music concert from his bedroom window during his illness.”