The hospice nurses administering COVID-19 vaccine in nearby care home
- Credit: Garden House Hospice Care
Nurses from Garden House Hospice Care have become among the first to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.
Tanya Catton and Maddie Kinnar, frailty nurses at the Letchworth-based hospice, administered the first dose of the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine to 48 residents and 30 staff at Elmside Residential and Dementia Care Home in Hitchin earlier this month.
Tanya Catton explained: “It was fantastic to be able to administer the first dose of the vaccine to the residents and staff at Elmside.
"The occasion was very well organised, everyone was in good spirits and we can’t underestimate the massively positive impact this will have on the residents.
“For them this will, in time, mean the start of more interaction with the outside world and their families, having been massively restricted during 2020. This is of particular importance for those patients with dementia.
"While many residents have adjusted to using electronic devices to communicate with loved ones, many patients with dementia have been unable to understand this, with the lack of physical contact then sadly leading to a quicker deterioration in their condition.
“The vaccination also provides a huge benefit for the care home staff and their families too, all of whom have been on the frontline.”
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Home manager at Elmside Vilawan Hawkes added: “Vaccination day was a very special day for all of us.
"It was a day full of optimism and joy with the majority of our residents and staff receiving the first dose of the vaccine. We can now begin to imagine what life will be like as it slowly gets back to normal.
"Thank you to the NHS and thank you to Garden House Hospice Care for their involvement in this moment of history.
“A special thanks must go to Tanya and the frailty team who have been by our side throughout the pandemic."
Having received training to administer the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine and Pfizer vaccine and with both now being rolled out, Tanya says the start of the vaccination process has benefits for her and Maddie as nurses too.
“Administering the vaccine has given us a huge feel-good feeling," she said.
"We are proud to be nurses and honoured to contribute and work during this difficult time. The vaccine vials we used had the number one on the batch numbers, which really drummed in the part we were playing in history and what an impact this will have on people in our community. We can now see the light at the end of a tunnel after a year unlike any other.”
Aside from administering the vaccine, the frailty nurses at Garden House Hospice Care continue to offer support to homes across the North Hertfordshire area, assessing the needs of new and current residents to discuss their future care. The team has also recently expanded with the arrival of a third frailty nurse, Annie King.
Maddie added: "We’re proud of the positive and productive relationships we’ve built with the staff. They feel reassured that there’s always someone at the end of the phone they can call for any support and advice they need.
“We have a passion for the care of the elderly and count ourselves lucky to have this perfect role. We’ve heard some incredible stories from people’s lives and are constantly learning from our residents."
To find out more about how you can support the hospice visit www.ghhospicecare.org.uk or call 01462 679540.