COVID-19 is still very much around, but things have changed a lot since the pandemic first started. Rules have changed and relaxed, but some things may never be the same again. We take a look at how Halland House has been affected and how residents are coping now.
How COVID-19 affects people with learning disabilities
The pandemic was scary for everyone, and at times confusing and frustrating. With changing rules and levels of support, it wasn’t always easy to cope even for people who do not experience disabilities. For people with learning disabilities, it was hard to understand the restrictions placed on their lives.
Many people with learning disabilities rely on a routine and find that living in an orderly fashion with no surprises can be comforting. A sudden major alteration to their lifestyle, such as a lockdown, was confusing and upsetting for many. Getting used to a new routine takes time for a person with learning disabilities and it can be hard for them to understand why they can’t do their usual things.
Some people with learning disabilities also experience other disabilities or health problems that make them particularly vulnerable to viruses such as COVID-19.
How COVID-19 affected Halland House
Like many care homes, Halland House was affected at the start of the pandemic. Trips out were curtailed during the lockdowns, and our annual residents’ holiday had to be put on pause with all the uncertainties around travel. These breaks from life in the care home, whether just a visit to a cafe or a week’s holiday, were important to our residents. Apart from the unsettling break in routine and disappointment at plans being cancelled, the trips out are a big part of integrating with the community and the wider world. Sadly, we saw both the mental and physical health of several residents deteriorating.
The effects of COVID-19 have been long-lasting for many and that includes our family at Halland House. However, things have gotten better and thankfully the vaccine had a positive effect. If COVID-19 does come into the home it is less serious, it doesn’t spread as fast, and there haven’t been any more residents admitted to the hospital due to the virus since the first wave.
Things have become better here at Halland House since the relaxing of restrictions. Residents have been able to see their families again, either at Halland House or by going out to visit them. During the lockdowns, we did our best with video calls but it wasn’t the same. Trips out have started up again too, visiting shops, cafes and local beauty spots. Going out and interacting with the public helps to reduce the feeling of being isolated from the local community so this is an important thing for our residents to get back into their lives.
Although testing has stopped, we continue with safety protocols including temperature checks and mask-wearing for anyone visiting the home. If someone does get COVID-19, we warn all family and visitors that the virus is present in the home, but unaffected residents can still explore and leave the home if they want to.
Our large garden and activities room have been a huge help during and after the pandemic. While some activities had to be restricted when things were at their worst, it’s been wonderful having space where residents can spend time out in nature or doing craft activities. Our team here is a great credit to us, working with residents to keep them occupied and ensuring they lead fulfilling, happy lives.
If you’d like to find out more about life at Halland House, our learning disabilities care home in Uckfield, East Sussex, please visit our website.