Approximately 30 days ago, nurses who work at Belcon’s Home for the Elderly in Arima were asked by their director to self-quarantine at the building to limit the risk of COVID-19 entering the home’s doors and putting the residents at risk.
“I told them once they in they will be in,” Director of the home Sheldon Belcon said.
Now this decision was made because studies show that the elderly and those with underlying conditions are at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19.
Both the Health Minister and Chief Medical Officer have indicated that the eight COVID-19 deaths in this country were all of the elderly group with pre-existing conditions.
Six nurses agreed to stay 24/7 and take care of the 26 elderly persons that live at the home, forfeiting the luxury of seeing their loved ones daily.
“It’s just my parents but they understand fully and are supportive,” caregiver and manager of the home Lystra Lovell said.
Belcon told Guardian Media that he is the only person who leaves the compound to get supplies. He said he wears the relevant protective gear and uses a cordon off spot to drop supplies upon his return.
But that cordon-off area was where the residents of the home would participate in daily activities and with no visitors, the nurses have to work harder to pass the time for them and the residents. But the elderly are happy for the nurses around the clock presence.
“They not leaving, they here all the time,” Belcon said.
“They would play games, dance and go for their morning walks,” Lovell added.
Lovell said they allow the residents to face time with their loved ones and the nurses keep in contact with their families through similar mediums.
The home has been in operation since 2015 and before the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in this country Belcon and his team started installing sinks and sanitizing units on the compound which is also used by the elderly.
“All of them is not you know could understand because of Alzheimer and Dementia but we talk to the ones who can,” Belcon said.
Lovell told Guardian Media that the staff’s dedication to ensure the residents were safe is appreciated, she admitted that it isn’t a perfect situation as living 24/7 with colleagues is new, especially people who are away from those they love.
Belcon echoed the same sentiments, with his voice cracking he said, “I cannot thank them enough.”