Providing Vital Care In Our Communities
Caring for the most vulnerable people living in our communities across RCT is a job that Natalie Eshelby finds so rewarding, none more so than during these most difficult of times.
Having worked for the Council for 14 years, her role as a Care and Support Practitioner within Adult Social Services can be very demanding at times. But it is also a vital frontline role that is helping so many of our residents cope throughout the coronavirus national emergency.
Based at the Ty Elai office, Natalie and colleagues support residents to achieve what matters to them in order to maintain their mental and physical health.
Natalie said: “Since the outbreak of coronavirus, we have completely changed the way in which we work and are supporting people to stay safe and to try to keep to normal routines as much as possible.
“We usually actively support people to be as independent as possible, but at the moment this is very difficult, particularly for those who are the most vulnerable in our society and have to stay at home.”
Natalie, of Penygraig, along with all of the Council’s social care staff, are continuing to support our most vulnerable residents at this difficult time in order to keep them safe, to help them cope and be there for those who need assistance the most.
As part of her role, Natalie supports carers daily, but since the COVID-19 outbreak, she has also taken on the caring role for her own 84-year-old grandfather, Bryan Harris, who himself receives care at home from the Council.
“The Council’s Support @Home Team are fantastic and I have seen from personal experience with my grandfather how they go above and beyond at this difficult time in order to care for the vulnerable.
“I cannot thank them enough for all the care and support they provide to my grandfather and so many other people right across our County Borough.
“As part of my job, I complete assessments and develop care plans for those people who need support, but to actually manage a full-time role as a Care and Support Practitioner and take on a personal role in a caring capacity is very challenging.
“I am proud to say my Council colleagues and myself are all working closely together and are achieving positive things. The hard work and dedication of staff and families supporting those in need, along with communities coming together, is astonishing and humbling to see at such an extraordinary time.”
One of the biggest challenges the Council’s social care teams are facing is rather than going out to meet individuals, their families and their carers, staff are having to speak to them via telephone or video calls. This can prove difficult for some people who find it difficult to communicate in this way.
Natalie added: “The values that drive people who work within social care puts people at the heart of everything that we do, so not being able to visit them is both difficult and heart-breaking.
“But we continue to keep in touch with our most vulnerable people, checking on their health and wellbeing and offering support and reassurance at a time when they need it the most.
“We also work closely with the voluntary sector as well as nursing, therapy, medical and pharmacy staff both in hospitals and the community, psychiatric professionals, housing officers and independent sector care – basically, whoever is needed to make sure the person has the best chance to live a normal and independent life in their own homes.
“We are doing this because we really do care.”
Councillor Geraint Hopkins, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services & the Welsh Language, commented: “All of the Council’s key frontline workers continue to provide an excellent service, even during such difficult circumstances, and I pay tribute to each and every one of those workers who are doing a brilliant job on a daily basis.
“The Council’s social care sector provides a vital frontline role in supporting individuals in their own homes during what are uncertain times for us all. As well as looking after their own families, they do all they can to care for those people in our communities who need our help as well.”
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