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Urgent volunteer appeal at care homes due to Covid-19 staff shortages

Monday, January 10th, 2022 11:49am

By Christina Massey, Local Democracy Reporter @_ChrisMassey

Goyt Valley House in New Mills - one of Derbyshire County Council's 23 care homes.

An urgent appeal for volunteers to help out in Derbyshire County Council's 23 care homes has been issued to all the authority's 30,000 employees, as they face extreme staff shortages due to Covid-19.

Helen Jones, the council’s executive director of adult social care and health, has sent an email out asking all vaccinated council employees to step up and help with duties such as catering, laundry and providing emotional support to the vulnerable residents of its care homes for the elderly.

Staff from all areas of the council are being asked to take on either full or partial shifts of 7am to 2pm, 2pm to 10pm and 10pm to 7am, which can be carried out within normal work hours with the approval of a manager.

In her email, Ms Jones said no DBS, or criminal record, check was needed as volunteers would not be working unsupervised.

A Derbyshire County Council spokesperson said: “Across the country the health and care system is under pressure due to large numbers of staff needing to self-isolate – and unfortunately Derbyshire is no different.

“We’re doing all we can to put our care staff in the places where they are most needed but we still do not have enough people to provide the support and service that we need to.

“We have a fantastic team of dedicated staff across the council in many different roles who throughout the pandemic have been willing to be flexible, change the type of work they do or work extra hours to protect the most vulnerable residents and keep essential services running.

“We are now asking for fully vaccinated and boosted council staff, from all our departments, to come forward to help support the older and vulnerable people living in our 23 residential care homes over the coming days and possibly few weeks.

“Staff who come forward to help in our care homes will provide valuable assistance to our professional care workers, so they can focus on the more specialist tasks such as personal care and medication.

“They will help to provide emotional support, engage residents in social activities, and help with catering, domestic duties and laundry.”

Care homes are the latest front-line service to be hit with staff shortages as a result of the pandemic, as last week the Derbyshire Times reported North East Derbyshire District Council office staff carried out waste collections.

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