As we prepare to reopen our doors, Maureen Sim, our Director of Operations, reflects on how our homes have grown as supportive communities

“There is a real atmosphere of peace in our homes,” says Maureen Sim, Director of Operations for Pilgrims’ Friend Society. “They feel like a very safe place to be. Everyone is so careful and concerned about keeping each other safe. Through the period of the pandemic, our homes have grown as ‘families’. Everyone is attuned to each other’s needs.”

Now, following new guidance from Government, our homes are preparing to welcome back visitors. “We want to be as open and proactive in this as possible, while ensuring we keep our residents and staff safe,” says Maureen. (To find out more about how these measures may be implemented, please see Coronavrius update – visiting guidance).

The last few months have undoubtedly been a time of great challenge. Those living in our homes have had to get used to seeing staff members dressed in PPE, and staff have had to get used to wearing it, despite the fact that long shifts wearing face-masks and gloves can get very hot and uncomfortable. In some of our homes, there have been times when those living there have had to stay in their rooms for several days at a time as a precaution against infection. And of course, not being able to see visitors as usual has been a real wrench.

Maureen says:

In everything, our primary concern has been to keep our residents and our staff safe.

While the lockdown period has been hard, our staff have gone the extra mile to keep those living with us as closely connected to their loved ones as possible. This involved everything from setting up video calls to sharing messages and videos via social media (see here).

“The Christian ethos that underpins our work is still very much alive, and we have done everything we can to support the spiritual and emotional well-being of those living with us,” says Maureen. “Throughout the lockdown, we’ve found technology has really helped loved ones to stay in touch and we praise God for this.”

In a video shared on the Framland page, Myrtle, a lady in her late eighties living at our Framland home in Wantage, said, “I’m thankful to be alive and to be here. I always wanted to live here.” This sense of security and gratitude to God for His provision during the coronavirus pandemic is one that is echoed across our homes.

More recently, it has also been possible to organise conversations through windows, ensuring social distance is maintained. Staff have also led activity sessions where residents have made cards to send to loved ones.

As our homes enter this new phase in the easing of lockdown and welcome back visitors, we as an organisation are continuing to rely on prayer, seeking the Lord’s wisdom in the decisions we take. Each morning, members of staff from across our organisation join together in prayer over Zoom. “I’ve really felt that the Lord has been blessing our work through these prayer times,” says Maureen.

Our homes are open to new admissions for those who need our care and support. To find out more about our homes, please see our Locations page.

We’d love it if you too would join us in praying for our residents and staff. Please ask the Lord:
- That loved ones would experience joy at being reunited
- That those living and working with us would be kept safe
- That our managers and their teams would have wisdom in how to implement visiting procedures in their own particular circumstances