“Like the vast majority of people worldwide, I feel that we are currently living in a very scary environment, not knowing if the virus is going to affect me or the ones I love. I am also very concerned about the social impact and the repercussions affecting our economy and way of life. We are living in fear, not knowing when all this will end.
“At the height of all this turbulence, I have had to accept a new challenge in my career, that of leaving my workplace and setting up an office at home. I am truly grateful to my superiors’ decision to allow me to work from home and at the same time being able to look after my vulnerable wife. Not that I ever doubted their sense of respect and care, but this decision came at a time when, as always, I was focused on Zammit Clapp, my residents and my employees.
“My peace of mind is that my substitute is a hard-working and exemplary nursing manager, who is surrounded by a great team of colleagues whose main focus is the resident.
“A big satisfaction is that my current tasks allow me to assist a wider community, which comprises eight CareMalta homes and 540 employees who are currently taking part in the live-in together with 1,600 residents.
“More than a job, this is an opportunity to serve a wider audience and a mission to help, love and care.”
“I have been in for one week now. Pretty much everything was already sorted, in terms of logistics, rosters, duties, etc. I found the staff motivated, willing to co-operate and constantly go the extra mile. There is a great feeling of camaraderie, irrespective of grade and role. Both myself and Nicolette Sant are hardly confined to our offices (mine was hijacked and turned into a dormitory!). We are constantly, till late evening, assisting with all that is required and giving the necessary direction and guidance. We work, we wait for news, we celebrate together – just like one big family.
“Although we try to keep the atmosphere positive at all times, there surely is the hard part of this experience. There have been emotional moments too, and very strong ones which I have never encountered throughout my 30 years in the medical sector.
“On another note, necessity is the mother of invention. We are putting to useful practice our problem-solving skills. For toothache, we’re suggesting using brandy to rinse the mouth, which seems to be working! We are also using our clinical judgement more often so, not to call the doctor unnecessarily, our nurses and senior carers are rising to the occasion and sharpening their clinical skills.
“We are being supported by our suppliers and head office staff . We have managed, through help over the phone, to fix lifts, repair punctures, set up tents… Surely my years of experience in this field of work have come in handy in one situation or another, more than I would have thought of.
“Before I sleep, I think of my family. I miss home, but, thankfully, they are all doing well. Although I truly didn’t have much time to think or plan for this live-in experience, I am truly enjoying what I am doing right now.”
“Many moments are experienced in life, both personally and professionally. However, a scenario such as this one has never been as daring. We are living in an era challenged by a pandemic, a scenario we only dreamt of in studies but not in our daily lives. Yet, we are experiencing scenes normally visualised on the media.
“CareMalta being at the forefront of elderly care could not let any risk take over the vulnerable. The understanding of preservation of life has been a driving force behind the decision to be part of the live-in exercise.
“While people might refer to it as a ‘lockdown’ of facilities, in reality it is living with the elderly to preserve their safety as much as possible. The idea is not to lock down but to encourage others to be part of the live-in, not blocking staff but letting them live with the elderly and practise what they excel in – offering a service through professionalism, engagement and, above all, compassion.
“It is a challenging experience, with many hours of continuous work, many personal and shared sacrifices and mental challenges of trying to understand why we do all this. Waking up to work and sleeping at the workplace in the same environment is surely strange to all of us. The comfort of our home bed exchanged for a mattress on the floor, a private space turned into a shared living environment and losing all that one desires in his personal life for the best care of the older adult.
“It is not a question of materialism, but of ‘ethos’ and spiritual understanding of oneself for the benefit of others. This live-in constitutes our foundation for tomorrow in the values we share – values we do not bargain or exchange. CareMalta’s I Care motto has always been that ‘we receive so much more through giving’. The whole experience is surely a living reality of this.”