Last year we wanted to give our care home customers peace of mind during uncertain times and wrote to them detailing all the measures we were taking to keep both our 'key worker' colleagues and their communities safe as our Hcsuk Servicing team continued to support them and keep them compliant by carrying out their essential LOLER testing, servicing, maintenance and essential equipment repairs in their care homes during the pandemic
In our latest article we hear Phil's story, our amazing Field Service Engineer, and his experience of working throughout COVID, and how adopting the 'First Man In' philosophy of one of his heroes, Ant Middleton, helped to keep him positive and focused.
In early January 2020, mainstream media news started reporting a new and quite literally deadly epidemic that had taken hold in the Far Eastern city of Wuhan-China and was steadily starting to take a grip further afield. I remember thinking to myself back then ‘there’s no way this is gonna spread all the way over to us here in the UK!... It’ll sort itself out surely’
Well just HOW wrong was I?
Within a matter of weeks, isolated cases had started cropping up here in the UK and Europe and my original thoughts were, well at least the care homes should be a safe enough environment to be working in due to the residents already living in a separate environment to the general population, so if I just follow the guidelines set out, myself and my client base should be just fine!!!! Again just HOW wrong was
Lockdown 1 kicked off March 23rd and Covid-19 was now officially designated as a Pandemic and PPE was scarce. However I was issued with my ‘battle dress', masks, eye protection, portable hand sanitisers, virucidal sprays and surface wipes as I was required to decontaminate any equipment I was servicing in my daily routines.
Back then there were no Lateral Flow tests to help establish if I was safe to go into the homes and from MY perspective it felt like I was going into a daily battle against an invisible enemy, which was pretty unnerving to say the least.
By Easter, with cases of Covid-19 in care homes spreading rapidly, I thought ‘well this is now SO close to home, it’s REALLY getting serious now’! The availability and supply of PPE was a major issue, along with the mad rushes of knee jerk panic buying in supermarkets for lots of tinned foods and TOILET ROLLS. Things were starting to get messy!
I saw all over the local mainstream media news that one of the most respected care homes in our area, and one of OUR biggest clients - had tragically lost around 15 of their residents to Covid-19 over Easter weekend.
This freaked me out, that first of all I’m having to go into these homes and could easily contract Covid-19 myself...or even worse, actually be potentially taking it INTO any of my company’s clients' homes! I was now officially twitching that this was well and truly in MY backyard now and I needed to get my head around it all and quickly!
I needed to adopt a positive mental attitude to help me cope with continuing to carry out my job so I adopted the ‘First Man In’ ‘Phil’-osophy of Ant Middleton - who I hold in very high esteem for his never-failing service in our country’s Elite SBS forces, and formerly of the big hit TV series 'SAS: Who Dares Wins'. (These days he is known as a motivational expert and author of 3 books based on his experiences and what helped him stay alive in the most extreme situations anyone could be faced with) to just be positive and fight it head-on day-by-day and that I’d be fine!
And it’s worked well for me in dealing with all those daily servicing battles since, be that working inside the homes or outside, for safety purposes, depending on each care home policy’s and requirements.
When the first lockdown ended, some people went running out thinking that’s it, we’re free... and went out and just spread it ALL back around again. Seeing those crowded beaches and streets with a lack of social distancing and/or masks, ultimately contributed to putting us back into full-on lockdown 2 - with the hopes of getting Covid-19 back under control by Xmas-which was not meant to be sadly.
I continued working throughout the pandemic as our care home customers still needed to keep their equipment L.O.L.E.R. compliant and which I fulfilled either by servicing portable equipment outside of the homes or if not- risk assessed as to their necessity for use, and acted on accordingly.
Work began on developing a number of potential vaccines, trials followed
and eventually, production, and the very first Covid-19 vaccine was administered on 8th December 2020 which started the rollout of the 1st Pfizer vaccine following MHRA approval.
Covid-19 tests also became available too, which was a big step in the right direction for the safety of residents, care staff and necessary visitors alike and, for the first time in a long while, started to help put my mind more at ease knowing that regular testing was and still is being performed. . Lateral Flow tests have become part and parcel of my daily servicing routine when needed now and as well and its giving me a personal reassurance that first of all, I’m testing (and always have done) negative for Covid-19 before I enter a home therefore I’m safe and more importantly I’m not putting any residents or carers in any potential risks from it either, which IS reassuring all round I’m pretty sure on that score.
In early 2021, the vaccines were in full rollout among the country’s care homes and the most vulnerable and I WAS quite surprised that my servicing duties as a key worker, didn’t constitute my job being classed as ‘frontline' services like the care staff and therefore a priority for receiving the Covid-19 vaccine early on in its rollout along with care staff.
But I have now finally had my call up by my age category for my 1st vaccine and was given the Oxford AZ jab which was done painlessly a couple of weeks ago now with the only minimal side affects. My 2nd Jab is also booked for early June so roll on most of the population having been inoculated, and for us all to hopefully get back to some kind-of normality again in the near future...
Fingers and toes ALL crossed, onwards and upwards as the say, and just BRING on the sunshine and the open roads of summer!
BE GONE COVID-19!
If you would like to know more about Hcsuk's Servicing division, and how we can work as a trusted partner with you to provide you with a single-source solution for all of your LOLER inspections, servicing, decontamination and maintenance requirements from our caring and committed Servicing team, please get in touch today.
But don't just take our word for it, here's what other servicing customers say about us:
"Everything you do for us is certainly more than useful. We wouldn’t be able to give the care we do, to the services users without the support from you and Phil".
To Phil & Rachel, Thank you to you both for coming to the rescue. We are relieved that chair could be revived and we can enjoy some socially distancing fresh air together. Phil - you are no.1 in our eyes, nothing is too much trouble and you check everything to such a high standard. Thank you both!
I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you for an excellent service we received when we had our hoist, hoist slings and weight chair scales serviced. The gentleman who came was very polite and friendly with a professional manner. The reason we choose HCSuk is that we have always received excellent service from you and always received a friendly response when we contact any member of your team.