How this Upper Beeding care home has been keeping residents safe and happy amid the coronavirus outbreak

It has not been an easy time for care homes, but residents at Valerie Manor in Upper Beeding have been kept safe and happy thanks to the hard work of staff and support from the community.

Friday, 29th May 2020, 4:35 pm
A staff member and resident at Valerie Manor care home

Zoe Fry, the director of the care home in Henfield Road, Upper Beeding, said she was ‘delighted’ to say the care home had not had any cases of coronavirus.

The site underwent a ‘whole home’ testing of asymptomatic residents and staff – coordinated by registered manager Debs Goodman and deputy manager Lucy Knight – and has had 65 out of 65 tests back negative.

Mrs Fry said: “It has been a difficult time for residents, relatives and staff however the staff have excelled at not only caring for the residents physical needs but their mental wellbeing as well as our relatives and each other too.”

The existing staff team has been temporarily joined by new members, who were not able to work in their normal jobs due to the pandemic, and who have quickly become ‘part of the family’ at Valerie Manor, she said.

These include two members of staff from the Sussex Yacht Club.

Mrs Fry said: “Rachel and Nat have put their skills to good use as well as their hard work ethic.

“On Easter Sunday Nat came in on a day off dressed as the ‘Easter Bunny’ which the residents and staff all loved.”

Activities at the care home

The care home has also recruited workers from a local Theatre company, ‘This is my Theatre’, and Mrs Fry said: “Without exception everyone has hit the ground running.

“Ethan and Simon from This is my Theatre have arranged performances for the residence at least twice a week and Simon has played his flute around the building performing outside balconies so residents could enjoy from their room if they are unable to come out.”

Meanwhile a family whose relative lived at Valerie Manor for five years has been providing a daily Newsround for residents.

They said: “My family and I felt it was important that we did something that would support the community during these trying times.

A visit from the Easter bunny

“Our thoughts turned to Valerie Manor, where my grandma Muriel resided for five years.

“We have always had utmost respect for Zoe and Alan, the staff and the amazing work they do, and so wanted to find a way that we could help without compromising the safety of residents or staff.”

As previously reported in the Herald, the Sussex Yacht Club organised collections of Personal Protective Equipment for the staff at Valerie Manor as well as other care homes.

Mrs Fry said some items had been ‘almost impossible to source’ and said she was ‘very grateful’ to receive the supplies.

A musical performance

She also thanked other organisations and members of the community for their offers of assistance, generous gifts, words of support and kindness.

Mrs Fry said: “A huge thanks to Steyning Medical Practice, the team at Upper Beeding Pharmacy, Wendy Hartley, Ria Evans and all the staff at Worthing Hospital for their support and hard work during this difficult time.

“It reminds us all what an exceptional community we live in.”

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This family has been creating a newsround for residents