Talking to Bonita, a Care Supervisor at Caer Gwent 21st May 2020 Bonita Harris is a Care Supervisor at our Caer Gwent nursing home. In her role, she supervises the team of carers on shift, works alongside nurses and seniors, and looks after the residents. In April, Bonita raised £600 for Guild Care by cycling 26 miles as part of the 2.6 Challenge - a campaign set up to help charities raise funds during the coronavirus outbreak. We will be using the money raised by Bonita and others to fund additional emotional resilience support for our dedicated care team. Bonita with her team at Caer Gwent Asked why she took part in the challenge, Bonita said: “I want to make sure that we are able to carry on doing the great jobs that we all do and keep providing the love and care we give to so many residents, especially at this very difficult time. “That’s what is important to me. I’ve always cared, but with everything going on, it’s made even more important. We are the residents’ family as theirs cannot come and see them.” She was kind enough to talk to us more about working at Guild Care, the 2.6 Challenge, and how her team has adapted during the coronavirus outbreak. If you would like to join the Guild Care team, you can find our current vacancies here. Also, you contact our Recruitment Team on 01903 863154 or [email protected]. What makes Guild Care special to you? I started when I was 18 at Irene House [a care home previously operated by Guild Care]. I was then transferred to Caer Gwent and I absolutely love it. I love my job; it makes me happy making them happy. Why did you want to become a Carer? I got into care because my grandpa was at home and we had to care for him. It’s something I wanted to carry on doing. How has your career developed at Guild Care? Irene – no experience. Became care supervisor at Irene House which carried over to Caer Gwent. Now I also do senior care. Did Guild Care help along this path? I’ve always wanted to move up. I’ve done lots of NVQs and courses. When I came here they encouraged me to move into the senior care role, which I was happy to do. I also did the venepuncture training, so I take bloods for the residents which I absolutely love doing. Why? I don’t know. I just love doing it! It’s really nice because it is recognised that whenever blood needs taking - “Oh, Bonnie will do it! She’s good at it!” If a relative is considering a care home, why Guild Care? I think this is a lovely place to live. For myself, if I had a family member that needed care, it would be here. No doubt about it. Everybody works to a high standard and delivers care and love to the residents. Which is important. When I walk into a room and I’m training new staff or showing someone around I say, “If it’s not good enough for your mum or grandparents, then you shouldn’t work here.” You wanted to make sure Guild Care continued to carry on - can you expand? Basically, to recognise, through this tough time, that staff are going to be affected by what we have seen and been dealing with. To give them some support so they still want to come to work, that they are happy to come to work, and that they have that extra support. So, it’s like you are trying to protect everybody to keep the family intact? Yeah, because at the moment, without us in here, it wouldn’t keep running. We can’t leave them alone. How did you cycle 26 miles? I did the first 13 on a stationary exercise bike and then to complete it I cycled to Carrot’s café in Portslade then back again. Tiring? Very! I was against the wind all the way back, so I did it the wrong way around. You raised £600, an amazing amount of money, do you have a message to your supporters? Yes, thank you all so much! Thank you thank you thank you, everybody. Can you tell us about some of the challenges that carers are facing at the moment? Obviously, the biggest challenge is being scared and worried about caring for those with the virus. That is the toughest challenge. People are understandably worried about coming in and taking it home to families, so that is the toughest worry. A lot of anxiety. So that’s why these workshops that we are raising money for are going to be so good. Are you worried? At first, I was very worried and anxious about it, because I have a little one as well. But, at the end of the day, everybody in this country is in this position as well. We have to stick at it. I could never not come in. How has the team responded to the challenge of coronavirus? I know it’s not staff, but my mum has been sending in bits and treats for staffs. Relatives of residents have sent in goodies and thank you cards. Everybody has been really kind. Everybody has been really supportive. You can really tell the ones that really love their job and what they do. We’ve all had to take on lots of different roles around the home. I’ve been doing the cleaning, the hair dressing, the care. We are all in it together. Although we are practising social distancing where possible, do you ever hug your colleagues? Yes. We are always there for each other to hug. Sometimes you can just look at someone and know they need a little hug. We know we shouldn’t be doing it, but we can’t help it. That little thing can make someone feel so much better. We’ve got to work in close proximity anyway, so it’s hard to social distance all day. Can you give any examples of how you’ve adapted to show kindness at a distance? Chatting. I sat and did flower arrangements on a resident’s birthday across the table. Doing a resident’s hair and nails, a pamper day. Just little things make a big difference. We can’t easily do these things at a distance, but we have all the PPE we need, so we can take on this risk for them. If someone wanted a role as a Carer, why consider us? Our team here are very friendly and supportive. I remember when I first came over from Irene, I was over there for a long time [eight years], I was very nervous. But everyone was so welcoming and friendly. Also, there are lots of opportunities in Guild Care. Even if you come in and you haven’t done it before. It’s happened recently that someone has come into care, but it’s not for them, so we’ve said to them there are other roles if you want to stay in this environment. It’s just a lovely place to work. If you would like to join the Guild Care team, you can find our current vacancies here. Also, you contact our Recruitment Team on 01903 863154 or [email protected]. Alternatively, if you would like to find out more about our care homes, click here or get in touch with our friendly Customer Service Team on 01903 327327 or [email protected].