30 April 2020 | Ljubljana, Slovenia [Katja Kotnik]
Manca is both a nurse in a care home and a young mother. She was recently the recipient of an ADRA Slovenia care package – and shared her story.
“It is really not easy for us,” she told ADRA staff. “We are physically and mentally burned out, often experiencing fear.”
ADRA Slovenia has responded to the needs of medical staff and residents in some care homes for the elderly during the COVID-19 outbreak as these two groups are especially vulnerable.
Manca is a nurse and team leader in one of the care homes being supported by the ADRA Slovenia ‘Health basket’ project, donating packages to help increase the immune system of both staff and elderly residents.
Medical staff were already under stress before COVID-19 hit but, with the spread of the infection, those levels increased to near exhaustion. Even though Manca’s situation is very difficult, she says that she is still more worried about others.
“During these times I am mostly concerned about the health of our elderly residents… On the other hand, we are all worried about how to protect our families and close ones by not getting infected ourselves,” Manca stated.
Medical staff are in a preventive quarantine, separated from their families. They work 12- to 14-hour shifts then, to prevent potential spread of the virus, they drive to an isolated hotel after their shifts.
“This place is reserved only for our medical staff, and each person gets a room, bathroom and we are separated between each other,” she explains. The worst for her is being prevented from having any physical contact with her loved ones. “This is how the administration is trying to save the lives of our elderly residents, by having stable medical teams,” she says.”It is really not easy for us and we are physically and mentally burned out. I have not been this stressed in all my years in this profession.”
Manca is a young mother with two children and two stepchildren.
“At this moment, I have been separated from them for over two weeks. Children mean the most to me. Now I am separated from my daughter, who is only two years old, and when I can talk to her for a few minutes at 8pm before she goes to sleep, it just breaks my heart. Every day she keeps asking me, ‘When are you coming home, mommy?’, and I keep promising her that it will be soon, even though I have no idea how long it will last.”
It is hard for her eldest child too. “My older son is in the 6th grade. He has a lot of work in his primary school, but because I am at work and staying apart from them, I have to rely on my parents to help him out. The school curriculum now is demanding and the activities online and on the computer are complicated for elderly people, like my parents. I really wish that our lives would go back to normal and I could return home.”
In addition, the workload increased with the need to restructure work and spaces, empty some departments and set up isolation rooms. This increases stress levels for both staff and for the residents, who are disrupted both from their normal daily routines, and the visits of their relatives, who provide essential psycho-social support.
ADRA Slovenia respond to these needs by sending the Healthy baskets to healthcare workers and their elderly residents just to let them know, “We care about you and we appreciate all that you are doing. You have our support.”
“I am so grateful for you and the donations of the vitamin C packages… Our staff were very happy that you thought of us and keeping us healthy. I am most thankful that someone is thinking about us during these times so thank you a lot, ADRA!” was Manca’s grateful response.
“The personal stories of our beneficiaries motivate us and push us further, to continue, to help as much as we can!” states Katja Kotnik, Country director for ADRA Slovenia.
tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, editor; Deana Stojković, associate editor
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