One of our important roles is advocating for our service users who have acquired brain injury or learning disabilities. Putting someone at the centre of their care means working with them and supporting them to express their needs and preferences. This can be on a day-to-day basis regarding activities or meal choices, or in matters relating to their care and therapy.
In the case of the coronavirus vaccination, we had tried as many different routes as possible to secure vaccinations for our service users. The picture was varied and depended on the policies of the specific GP surgeries. All of our service users are vulnerable but many didn’t have underlying health conditions that qualified them for the jab. However, living in a care home put them at additional risk, simply because of the number of people within the home. People in care homes, other than elderly care, seemed to have been forgotten. It made no sense to provide vaccinations for care staff, while the people we need to protect were not allowed to have a vaccination.
We contacted our local MP, Michael Ellis, and the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, to bring this to their attention, but unfortunately without success. It wasn’t until Radio 2 DJ, Jo Whiley, raised this issue on behalf of her sister Frances, who has learning disabilities, that anything changed. We are hugely grateful to her. We’re now pleased to report that all of our service users who have chosen to have the vaccine have now had their first jabs.
We are, of course, continuing to follow strict hygiene protocols and wearing the appropriate PPE. As it will take three weeks for the vaccinations to have an effect on immunity, we have not yet permitted any visitors. We are grateful for the patience and understanding shown by the families of the service users in our care. We’re now looking to the future with hope and optimism.
The image above shows members of staff receiving their vaccinations.