Members of the team at Bormla Home have one thing in common – they are happy only if they see that their residents are happy too.
The elderly home, one of nine operated by CareMalta, has been locked down for the past nine weeks in a bid to protect the vulnerability of the residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. A precautionary measure taken by the company in tandem with the lockdown saw a number of workers voluntarily moving into the homes to ensure residents were cared for and safe.
Lead carer Glenda Busuttil Risiott, 33, says her four-week journey during the pandemic was an amazing one, full of ups and downs, and emotions she will never ever forget.
“I missed my family, especially now that we are separated from my father, who is undergoing treatment at the Sir Anthony Mamo Oncology Hospital,” she says.
Glenda, who has been a lead carer at Bormla Home for seven years, is married, has a daughter who is four years old and lives in Cospicua. She also worked at the Zejtun Home for nine years.
“Not all days were the same; sometimes we laughed, sometimes we cried, especially in moments when we had to revise our practic
es due to particular circumstances. We worked with colleagues we never worked with before, but we succeeded as one team.”
The most important part of Glenda’s work is to lead by example, as well as to be dedicated to residents and staff alike “by lending them an ear to listen”.
“One needs to be engaged, compassionate and professional. There were times when I felt like crying but had to show a bold face and be strong for the residents and staff.”
Glenda praises the great teamwork: “This is the recipe for the excellent care we give. I thank our CEO, Natalie Briffa Farrugia, for being a role model to us all, the senior management team, especially Noel Borg for his constant guidance in care, and facility managers Maria Xuereb and Josette Grech for their continuous support and for being a shoulder to lean on.”
Nurse Manuel Antony, 33, from Kerala, India, has been part of the team since March 16.
“Initially, it was a new experience for all, as no one had ever been through such a situation. But as time went by, most of the residents, together with their loved ones, accepted us as family. This made me more than happy.
Manuel’s three-year-old son lives in Kerala with his wife, who is expecting their second child in August.
“We (all the staff) try to give as much care to the residents as possible, irrespective of their backgrounds. Bormla Home has become like a second home to me.”
Carers Ghassen Salhi, 36, and Romina Mintoff, 35, of Ħamrun, say that despite the many difficulties encountered, their experience was a positive one.
Ghassen, who has worked for CareMalta since 2016, says he loves his job because “I feel happy when I help others, especially the elderly, who need so much dedication and care”. He spent seven weeks with the residents.
“It was quite stressful at times, especially my second three-week stretch, but when I see that the residents are happy, safe and healthy, I feel I’m carrying out my work in a professional way,” the Tunisian says.
Romina says it was hard not to see her two-year-old daughter for three weeks. “Surely, there were stressful moments, but having worked together as one team helped us overcome all obstacles. The end result was that our residents felt satisfied with the care we provided at all times.”
She admits that the lockdown hasn’t been easy, “both for the residents, who are missing their loved ones, as well as for us workers who consider the residents as our second family”.
For Ruby Pace, 52, of Cospicua, who was a carer for 13 years before taking up the post of receptionist, it was a four-week journey. “Stress levels were high, but it was such a huge comfort seeing the residents safe and healthy,” says the mother of two, who also has two grandchildren.
“Being close to the residents is the most important part of my job. I am the first point of contact for them, as well as their families. I really try to fulfil their wishes, making sure they all feel happy and comfortable.”
With all the difficulties the team have had to face, all employees from all operational areas did their best to cooperate with each other and to work hand in hand.
“As a team we are unified and work in the best interest of our residents, who are our topmost priority. Therefore, the level of service we offer is of the highest standard.”