Grant is a resident at QEF’s Independent Living Service, and along with other residents has been shielding during the pandemic for his own safety.  We spoke to his Guardian, Aunty Kim on her experience of being apart from Grant for so long during lockdown.

“At the start of lockdown my anxiety was through the roof. We gave Grant the choice of whether he wanted to come home and be looked after by me and his Uncle or stay at QEF. He chose to stay at QEF as he had much more to do there – he said, ‘what am I supposed to do? come home and just look at you and Uncle?’

They have been great at QEF. Residents have been kept in small groups with less people to mix with and they have been kept with the same carers.  This has actually been better for Grant, as he is severely partially sighted and struggles mixing with lots of different people. 

The whole team there have been fantastic, they have supported both the residents and the families. Some people have really put their heart into it and have just been amazing. I know I can call them and they will go and check on him for me, because sometimes what he says to me on the phone he may not be telling the staff.

People often say that no-one in care ever looks after your child the way you do, but QEF have come very close.

They have really gone the extra mile and kept me up to speed as well. Some of his carers will think of all the little things, like helping Grant to co-ordinate his clothes when helping him to get dressed, and then they will video call me to show me he’s ready for the day. Its lovely.

The last time I saw Grant was on the 18th February, as when I planned to see him later on, I had a sore throat and didn’t want to risk anything.  Then QEF locked down a week earlier than everywhere else. It could have been so traumatic, I was in tears at the thought of it, as we’d never spent so much time apart - ever.

One of the nicest things was when I was talking to Grant on speaker phone and I heard one lady going round and saying’ night night darling’ to all the clients on that floor which really touched me. She had finished her shift and was going round like a parent and saying goodnight to everyone, which was just what I wanted to do.  Knowing they were there made a hell of a difference. They have really shown care, compassion and love. He suffers from very high anxiety and doesn’t always remember to tell me stuff. But he remembered this lady saying she would be there a lot and he could call her if he needed her and she would help him.

There has been so much going on for Grant to get involved with – the whole activities team have been brilliant. There have been regular video calls which are extra important for Grant because of his sight and for me, as they were almost as good as being able to visit him. They have celebrated Africa day, put together a care package for a local homeless charity, had Easter activities around the garden and he’s joined in with different performances with their diversity choir. He hasn’t been bored, which he would have been if he had been at home with us. He’s been distracted and he has had other people around him, which has helped with his social skills as well.

All the stories of care homes on the news would make me cry

The whole team have done so well and they have also supported the families every day. I am eternally grateful for the way they have kept Grant safe and happy during this awful pandemic. I don’t think he would have coped if he had been at home; it would have been too long for one person to stay in a small house with just the same two people. I can’t thank everyone there enough – all of them, the housekeepers, activity co-ordinators, managers and care teams. It’s a lovely family there. All the stories of care homes on the news would make me cry, but when I spoke to Grant he was so full of conversation. He isn’t chatty unless he’s happy and he has to really gel with someone to be comfortable. You could tell he was with the right people – I could hear how happy he was.