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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Painting a picture nationally of care homes on the 'front line'

Church Times article featuring a picture from a care home in Southampton visited by City Chaplain for Older People Erica Roberts (far right)

Julia Burton-Jones (Anna Chaplaincy lead for training and development) has contributed extensively to an article in the Church Times (17 June) investigating the extent to which care homes have been affected by the pandemic and are coping in the aftermath. Read an extract of the article below: 'Of all the people affected by the events of the past two years, care-home residents have, arguably, suffered more than most.

'With residents unable to see family or friends, and often confined to their rooms with only care-home staff for company — not to mention the toll on their physical and mental health — working and ministering in this sector has had more than its fair share of challenges.

'Thankfully, the opportunities for pastoral visiting and holding services in care homes are opening up again, albeit in a piecemeal way.

Julia Burton-Jones

'Julia Burton-Jones leads Anna Chaplaincy training at the Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF), and recruits and supports Anna Chaplains and Friends in Rochester and Canterbury dioceses. "It’s amazing how varied the stage of re-engagement is," she says.

'"Some people have been welcomed back in; they're taking services, spending time with individuals, and there's a feeling of having returned to something of the pattern of before — although it's cloaked with a heightened risk assessment and awareness of infection control. In other settings, it's proving quite hard to penetrate that wall of protectedness that the pandemic caused. And there’s something in between [with] care homes that want the churches back, and put things in place, but then there's an outbreak of Covid, norovirus, or other infectious diseases, so it's a bit stop-start."

'How ready the welcome is for visits or services may depend on how spiritual care is perceived, Mrs Burton-Jones says: one home responded to a request for a visit from a chaplain with, "We're not having entertainment yet."'

Read more on the Church Times website.




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