Odelle is an Apprentice Healthcare Assistant and has worked on the LOROS inpatient Ward for 11 months.
“It seems obvious to say it but every person has their own needs. Understanding and meeting those particular needs is what we do so well at LOROS.
“I find out from the patients what they would do at home, and then we try to stick to it as closely as we can. If they have a long, hot shower in the morning, then that’s what they do here. It might sound a small thing but it’s huge for patients that we adapt to their needs.
“The worst thing about the pandemic was that we had to shut the ward to families. It put tremendous pressure on the staff as well as the patients.
“I had the idea of using iPads to keep patients and families in contact. Even if the patient was asleep, we held the iPad so the family could see them and talk. Also phone calls – I held the phone to their ear, even if they were too ill to speak, so they could hear their relatives talking. The nurses say hearing is the last sense to go so I think they knew they were there.
“During the height of COVID, we had to suspend visits from the complementary therapy team. I asked Sister if we could give the patients hand massages. So during personal care, we learnt how to massage hands with cream. It was really popular. It made me realise that we take touch for granted. And then when it’s gone it’s really missed. One woman said to me, ‘you can’t underestimate how much I’ve missed being touched.’ Even though I was wearing gloves, she could still feel the warmth from my hands and it felt relaxing and comforting.
“I’m a big believer in music therapy. I ask what music patients like and play it to them whilst I am doing their personal care.
“There was one lady who was always asleep. She never spoke except for yes or no but I knew she liked the band Queen. So I played her Queen and without opening her eyes, she started singing, mouthing all the words. The music really reached her. It was a lovely moment.
“The team work here is wonderful. COVID was so tough but we all stuck together and really focused on the patients. It felt like a huge responsibility as families were not able to visit, so we put all our efforts into making them feel that they matter.
“We try very hard to meet people’s faith needs too. One lady didn’t wake up at all whilst she was with us. I found out from the Chaplain that she was Orthodox catholic, very religious and couldn’t speak English. I found a prayer in her language and played it to her, to try and bring comfort. She died that night.
“Whenever we have patients who don’t speak English I try and look up a few words to say hello. It can make all the difference when patients are feeling anxious.
“During the pandemic we had a lady on the ward who was too ill to read her bible. Every day we took it in turns to read her some passages from it and leave the book in her hands, to just bring her comfort.
“I think that is the difference at LOROS - we just find the time. Just 10 minutes undivided attention can make the world of difference to a patient.
“How would I want my grandma cared for, if she was on the ward at LOROS? I’d want her treated as a person, an individual, with her own needs. And that’s how I treat my patients – how I would want someone I love cared for. I hold that at all times.