Care home staff move in with their residents to continue to look after them during lockdown

A team of care home staff left their own homes to go on lockdown with their elderly residents - and some even took their family with them.

A big-hearted team of care home staff have made the ultimate sacrifice by leaving their own homes and families behind to go on lockdown with their elderly residents.

The staff at Anchor House care home, in Doncaster, Yorkshire, moved into the premises on March 24 to ensure that their vulnerable residents were safe.

Care home manager Karen Greaves, 58, called a meeting of all staff and asked for volunteers to go into lockdown with the 21 residents - aged 68 to 100.

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Eight volunteered to stay behind including carer Lucy Clifford, 33, from Doncaster who brought her son, Callum Hinchliffe, 13, with her.

Out of 22 regular staff, eight volunteered to stay behind, including: manager, Karen Greaves, 58, assistant deputy manager, Susan Waugh, 49, and other assistant deputy manager, Sandra Shinn, 51, and her carer husband, Mark Shinn, 51 - and other carers, Kim Compton, 56, Debbie James, 37, Claire Donoghue, 46, and Lucy Clifford, 33.

Join our new coronavirus Facebook group for the latest confirmed news and advice as soon as we get it www.facebook.com/groups/yorkshirecoronavirusManager Karen also has her 13-year-old granddaughter Camron Greaves staying in the home too. Assistant deputy manager Sandra Shinn, 51, and her carer husband, Mark Shinn, 51, also moved in.

The team 'borrowed' chef Kat Harrison, 32, from local pub, The Grove Inn, Doncaster. He was left without work, but is now busier than ever whipping up three meals a day for the 21 residents.

Assistant deputy manager, Sandra Shinn, 51, said: ''Nobody is allowed in and nobody is allowed out. As far as I know we are one of the few care homes operating like this but, in our mind, the residents' health and wellbeing has to come first.

''If we were to carry on as normal - going home each night - they might not survive, they are too vulnerable. We will stand by our residents and keep them safe for as long as it takes.

Care home manager Karen Greaves, 58, called a meeting of all staff on 20th March and asked for volunteers to go into lockdown with the 21 residents - whose ages range from 68 to 100.

''At first we thought it would just be for a few weeks, but now it's looking like much longer. 'We are all in high spirits though, we play games, sing and do exercise.

''Even their families are not allowed in but they can wave from the window at least."

The safety-conscious staff - who are all working 13 hour days on split shifts - are performing daily temperature checks on residents to check for symptoms of coronavirus.

The devoted team have been allowed to stay in the onsite four-bedroom house which is usually occupied by the owner of the care home.

Others staying locked down are assistant deputy manager, Susan Waugh, 49, and other carers, Kim Compton, 56, Debbie James, 37, and Claire Donoghue, 46.

Lucy, a mum-of-two, said: ''It was a really hard decision as I thought it would be more than a bit boring for Callum being here with lots of elderly people. My daughter has gone to her father's and I just wasn't sure what to do at first.

''But when I thought about how much the care home would struggle without enough staff during lockdown I knew I had to stay if we were to keep the residents as safe as possible. They really would have been understaffed otherwise.

''It's been an amazing atmosphere here though, we've had our ups and downs but we've all managed to get on so well as we've learnt each other's little ways. My son is actually really enjoying it!

''Everyone has been chipping in to help with his home schooling and Karen, the manager, has her granddaughter here too, who's the same age so it's quite nice for them both. He's also made a really good friend in one of our residents, John. They sit and chat about their football team, Doncaster Rovers, for hours together, it's very sweet.''

Staff at the care home have tried to ensure that residents feel safe throughout the lockdown whilst also keeping them occupied.

John Savage, 65, a retired railway worker from Intake, Doncaster, said: ''The staff are looking after us so well. I've only been here since January but it feels like home already. Everyone has been looking after us brilliantly, I couldn't ask for more. The food is lovely, we had corned beef hash for lunch today.

''Most days I'll chat to young Callum about the football as we're fans of the same team and listen to some old 60s pop songs on the radio. I'd like to thank all our wonderful staff for being so kind and generous, all the residents here feel the same. They really are amazing.''

Sandra - whose husband and sister also work there and are in lockdown with her - said: ''The owner, Jas, very kindly offered to let us stay in her place while this is all going on. It's made a huge difference as I don't know where we'd have slept otherwise. The only thing we have been struggling with is the Tesco deliveries as we're only allowed 80 items, which to feed 32 people for a week is really quite tough.

''Our chef is doing an amazing job though, and we're all chipping in. It's a real team effort. The residents are jolly. Some of them don't really know what's happening as they are suffering with dementia so we have to keep explaining it to them.

''I'm quite lucky as my husband and sister also work here so we're all in it together. We've had to leave behind our children and grandchildren, who we miss lots, but we're happy to help out here. We're very proud that none of our elderly have gotten sick and are all still going strong thanks to our hard work.

''The staff here truly are amazing and I feel so proud of be part of the team that stayed behind to protect our residents.''

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