A nurse has recounted her emotional story of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic at Royal Star & Garter.
Jude Lally, who works at the charity’s Surbiton Home, discusses the pain of losing residents to COVID-19, contracting the virus herself, personal sacrifices, and her hopes and fears for the future.
She was speaking as part of the launch of ‘COVID-19: Life on the frontline’ first-person accounts, which feature stories from residents and staff at Royal Star & Garter’s three Homes in Solihull, Surbiton and High Wycombe.
The charity provides loving, compassionate care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia.
Jude, who has worked at Royal Star & Garter for 28 years, said in her account: “We were worried about our residents, we were worried about ourselves, and we were worried for our families. Over the weeks and months, we missed simple things like hugging each other, especially when somebody had passed away.”
Jude herself tested positive for COVID-19, and experienced “incredible pain”. But despite this, her thoughts were never far from work: “I needed to rest and recover, but I wanted to be at work. I wanted to be doing my job. I knew how hard everybody was working, it was tough. I was off… and I was worried about the residents.”
Describing the mental toll the virus took on her, she said: “I think I cried every night in the car on the way home… I felt like I needed to ditch my worries, stress and frustrations somewhere on the way.”
In her blog, Jude also recalls the despair felt by staff when a colleague lost a very close family member to the virus. And discussing the second phase, she said: “There’s a resignation, but we coped last time and we can cope again. We have that experience.”
Further COVID-19: Life from the frontline first-person accounts will soon be published by the charity. They will feature staff and residents, including a WWII veteran, who survived the virus.
All COVID-19: Life from the frontline blogs can be viewed here: https://starandgarter.org/media-centre/our-blogs/