As the government officially ends the requirement for routine testing of residents and staff in care homes, effectively signalling that the pandemic is over (for now at least), we’d like to remember our own pandemic journey here at Barty House Nursing Home.

From the initial lockdown in March 2020 through to the lifting of most restrictions in early 2022, it was undoubtedly a very difficult and stressful time, with very great highs and lows, fear and uncertainty and, for many, deep despair. But even in the tears and fears of our darkest days we found plenty of love and laughter, teamwork and friendship, dedication and generosity. We unearthed reserves of strength, not to mention skills and talents, that we never knew we had. Staff frequently went beyond the call of duty – which we recognised with our own ‘Above & Beyond’ pandemic award scheme – bravely stepping into the breach when, for example, our hairdresser could not visit. Our wellbeing team showed great dedication and inventiveness in devising activities to keep our residents busy and their morale high with the likes of arts and crafts sessions, cuppas and chats and home-grown singalongs. They also did a great job in ensuring that residents stayed in touch with their families. Our housekeeping team worked incredibly hard, too, to keep our home clean and minimise the risks of transmission and infection.

We were also touched by the many messages of support and gifts sent to our residents and staff by families, schoolchildren, the community and local businesses. So we would like to say a huge thank you to them, as well as to our residents, for their courage and good humour and, of course, to our staff for their tremendous care, compassion and unswerving dedication to our residents.