We caught up with Lizzie, Project Coordinator at The Marbrook Centre, but famously known by most people as our designated ‘COVID lady’. Lizzie knows everything there is to know when it comes to the latest rules and regulations around COVID-19 and she has devoted the last 17 months to ensuring the safety of all residents, staff and visitors.
How long have you worked at The Marbrook Centre?
I started at Marbrook in October 2017, so I have been here for just over 4 years!
What is your current role and what is involved in your day-to-day?
I am currently in a Project Coordinator role which was a progression from my previous role of COVID Prevention Administrator. As COVID seems to be here to stay, my previous role has been integrated into my new role, which as you can imagine, means some days are just completely dedicated to dealing with COVID related issues.
My day to day can be very different dependent on what is going on with staff, residents and changes in current guidance. To ensure we have consistency to our testing I have set days where I am situated in a room for staff to come and take their weekly PCR. My other days are filled up with things such as updating information, getting up to speed with any new guidance and then communicating this with all staff. This can then mean changes to visiting rules and so my communications extend to family members and at times contractors. I am also responsible for circulating test kits, completing infection control audits on a regular basis and much more!
If I have quieter days, I can use my time to support other departments with their workload.
My aim, ultimately, is to make sure everyone is kept up to date according to government guidelines and to do what I can to prevent workplace exposure and keep everyone at The Marbrook Centre safe.
How did this opportunity come about?
It all started when Marbrook recognised that there was a need for one dedicated person to focus on everything COVID, to ensure we were following all the guidance that was given to us. From this the role progressed into implementing infection control measures, testing regimes, arranging internal and external visits, booking in relatives, just to name a few. This then led onto my new role of Project Coordinator where I am doing all this but also learning much more!
What is the best part of your job?
I actually really enjoy my job and I’m not just saying that! I love that I now know everyone in the building and built relationships with a lot of our residents. I have been able to support people through COVID and give many people peace of mind. I also love that I am now learning about lots of different areas of the service and I am very grateful for the opportunity I have been given.
What is the most challenging part of your role?
I would say the most challenging time was in my previous role as COVID Administrator and we were entering the second wave of COVID; at this time care homes were heavily restricted, however the guidance we were given wasn’t clear enough and it became very frustrating for a lot of people.
It is difficult to have to put the restrictions in place when I understand how hard it must be for residents and families to not see their loved ones, however I have to keep in mind the importance of keeping everyone as safe as we can during these challenging times!
What would you consider to be the most important task within your role?
The rigorous testing, hands down. It is a massive job to complete and to keep up to date with. We have a large workforce and many residents, and therefore a lot of testing happening each week. We have days purely dedicated to PCR testing, which just shows how much time it takes to get done. I have to make sure that these are completed as per guidance and then more regularly if any cases have been confirmed from our staff or residents. This is so important is because the quicker we can implement testing after a possible case, the quicker we can stop any potential spread and protect our residents and staff.
Did you have to undertake any training when taking on your new role? If so, what was it?
I completed an Infection Control Lead training to enable me to support staff with the best practices and ensure that we are all doing what is needed to help prevent COVID from reaching our residents, families and staff. I also had to do a lot of training on PCR and LFT testing.
What makes a good team and how do you practice this within your role?
Most importantly, communication. Without this we wouldn’t know what is going on! Communication has been vital within my role and plays the biggest part of ensuring everyone is on the same page and understands what is changing. I also rely on every member of staff to communicate with me so I can do my job sufficiently.
Do you think creating your role for the current circumstances has been beneficial to The Marbrook Centre and if so, why?
I honestly do not know how everyone would have managed without my dedicated role. The extra work load would have been overwhelming for all staff which would have had a major impact on other areas of our service. You wouldn’t believe how much time I have spent dealing with COVID, it really is a full time job! The work I do helps to take pressure of our service managers especially, and gives clear instruction to allow my colleagues to carry on with their day to day tasks.
We have had great feedback from both our local authorities to congratulate us on recognising the need for a role such as mine. They have been very impressed with how we have managed COVID over the past two years and I think it’s clear to see the positive impact it’s had here at The Marbrook Centre.
How would you say staff, residents and family benefit from having your specific role here?
It has been very helpful to have that one person to go to if they have any COVID related questions. They can be confident that in these uncertain times, we are doing our best to ensure the safety of their loved ones.
I also try and simplify the guidance as much as I can to ensure everyone understands what is being asked of them. I understand that the constant changes can create confusion and I sometimes find myself re-reading the government guidance over and over.
Thank you to all staff for doing an amazing job of following all the guidance that we have set out and for their continued care for all of our residents, families and other colleagues during this time. We wouldn’t be able to do it without you!
Also a big thank you to the residents and families for being so patient and understanding with us the last 2 years. It has been challenge for everyone and we are thankful for your continued support.