We cannot have failed to hear the phrase ‘front line workers’ over recent weeks.
But one such group who often get overlooked are also responsible for reaching out and providing care to the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Homecare Independent Living (HCIL) is one of the leading domiciliary care providers in Ireland and has vowed “to continue to go to work to deliver critical services and care to our most vulnerable people”.
Managing Director, Caroline Rafferty, says that the business has lived by a single motto: “Tough times don’t last but tough teams do.”
Speaking to Armagh I, she said: “Our dedicated team are key workers during a pandemic – that includes our community team of carers and management, our office support teams, our housing and support service teams.
“It is not something any business or provider can prepare for but the sense of teamwork in Homecare Independent Living over the last few weeks has been absolutely fantastic.
“We have been able to maintain services across the country, so have been able to ensure our vulnerable clients are getting their calls and that is all because of our team.Their commitment has been phenomenal.”
She added: “We need our team to continue to demonstrate that commitment to our clients because we still need to go to work, that’s going to be so important in the coming weeks and months.
“As clichéd as it sounds, we’re all in this together. We’ve seen it across every community we operate in, across Northern Ireland people and businesses working to support each other, to offer help, to find solutions to new challenges.”
Many of those requiring care are taking NHS and government advice and staying at home to protect themselves and others.
Said Caroline: “Our team are giving clients and service users the sense of comfort, company, support and care they deserve by going out to work.
“It is hard for them. Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19 they may be this person’s only contact so they are remaining upbeat, professional and caring.”
Caroline said that HCIL’s “absolute priority” is the health and safety of their staff. To ensure this the business have maintained contact with commissioners, health trusts and partners for information, guidance and advice.
“It is not easy for our carers on the front line,” said Caroline. “Now more than ever, raising the value of health and social care is so important. It’s something that we, as a company have always been passionate about.
“Because now there is so much public support for carers and the roles that they are carrying out, we need our leaders to recognise these critical roles and to deliver as much support as possible to our workforce.
“There has been a perception that a career in health and social care is undervalued by society. Up until three months ago, much of our workforce was classified by the UK Government as unskilled workers. Now they’re front line.”
Alongside home care, HCIL also have a dedicated housing and support services team who continue to work in the community, in partnership with the Housing Executive and other key support organisations.
They are maintaining and managing existing properties whilst also providing increased support for those experiencing a housing need and requiring critical support.