An aspiring law student from Arundel, who took time away from her studies to support a local care home when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the UK, has spoken of the “eye-opening” experience and praised colleagues for their “excellent” approach to resident care.

 University of Kent law student Mariya Sony, 19, joined the team at Warmere Court care home during the initial wave of COVID-19 cases earlier this year, to lend a hand and gain experience in care work.

She said: “Throughout my first year in university I found myself really interested in medical law – the idea of working with hospitals and care homes to provide legal support for vulnerable members of society really resonated with me.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic started to impact the UK, I wanted to do my bit to help out, and also see first-hand what life is like for care workers and residents, as well as experiencing the same challenges they face. I’d never worked in a care home before, so it was a bit daunting, but fortunately the staff were friendly and helpful, despite the pressure they were under.”

Ms Sony, who is returning to university this month, spent her time helping residents get about the building, supporting them during mealtimes and assisting with any other requests they had. She has already planned to return to the home in the future when she is not at university.

She continued: “Working in care during the pandemic has been truly eye-opening. The team at Warmere Court have been excellent throughout, allaying the fears of any residents or relative in these unusual times.

“Staff were able to get full access to PPE and everyone received weekly COVID-19 tests, which made me feel that staff and residents were kept very safe throughout.”

Home manager Mary Latter added: “Mariya was a hugely welcomed addition to the team when we need help more than ever. Despite having no experience in care, she embraced her role with ease and was a friendly face for our residents.

“We look forward to Mariya re-joining us in the future – hopefully in much more favourable circumstances.”

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Dear Relatives,

In England, the Government has just announced that visits to care homes may take place following a ‘negative Covid-19 test’. I just wanted to clarify that this relates to the new Lateral Flow Tests only. The new Lateral Flow Test (or LFT) can give a test result within 30 mins. Thus enabling us to have an accurate up-to-date Covid-19 test result from which we can either agree or decline a visit almost instantly assuming it was pre-booked.

As of today less than a handful of our homes have received these new LFT tests and as such until your particular service receives their allocated test kits then we will need to continue with the current visiting arrangements in place at your particular home.

We do hope the new tests are rolled out quickly and we are told that many homes should have them prior to Xmas however as we are not aware of when they are dispatched and where to, then all we can do is wait and let you know as soon as your service receives their allocation. Only then can we facilitate the new visiting arrangements which these tests are designed to enable.

Thank you for your continued patience. You have been incredibly supportive of our care home teams so far and we hope you do not have long to wait before you can see your loved ones in a way that we all have been longing for since the start of the pandemic.

Thank you again.

Mike Smith Chief Operating Officer