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  • Debbie Thrower

Covid changes – for Anna Chaplaincy in care home and retirement complex settings

Updated: Apr 27

A changing Anna Chaplaincy focus?


Pam Shaw works as an Anna Chaplain in Lowestoft, Suffolk, with her colleague, Anna Friend, Sarah Spall. They’d be interested to know if, and how, others have noticed shifts in emphasis in their own ministries because of Covid-19. Pam writes:


‘For the past 15 months, I have been visiting – once a week – a care home, and for 12 months a retirement complex with wardens. I was joined nine months ago by someone who is now an Anna Friend. Sarah comes most weeks and we have been hoping to start an extra project – once a month – giving an opportunity for people to drop in for a chat, play some table games and have homemade cake and refreshments. We did one session, which was well received and we were asked to repeat it, but this is proving more difficult than we thought.


‘Covid restrictions might have altered completely, but it is still around, and in places where people are vulnerable it is more than foolish to go ahead with activities that are unnecessarily providing places where infections can be passed on. With the common room being closed each time another two or three people get Covid, we have three times had to cancel going for our second session (Sarah’s Easter Bonnets look like being relegated to a cupboard for decoration another year!).


‘Which leads to the change in focus – at both the care home and residential complex, we are finding an increasing need for our support of the staff. We spend some time each week with them as they seem to want to talk – they are becoming stressed out with the continued challenges of keeping their residents safe whilst encouraging a return to normality. At the residential complex, they usually have coffee mornings once a week, and the wardens tell us only a handful now go – they are so frightened to go out, which they feel they really need to do. The wardens, therefore, are wanting us to go in, and similarly in the home – at their request, we have continued our weekly visits even when Covid restrictions have had to be re-introduced – as they feel that the residents really need these and gain more benefit than the risk of their catching Covid.


‘We are so fortunate that we have been able to continue the weekly visiting throughout and recognise that in many areas it has been a struggle to re-enter homes at all – we are only too happy to provide whatever support is needed and just wonder if other Anna Chaplains are experiencing anything like this?’


Pam Shaw and Sarah Spall, Lowestoft


Do drop us a line

We’d be keen to hear from any other Anna Chaplains and Anna Friends who are also noticing subtle or more obvious changes to the way they’re exercising their ministries in the light of Covid-19. Do contact us at annachaplaincy@brf.org.uk.

 

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