"The responsibility for the life and health of our wards lies on us." How social workers of the Grodno region take care of the elderly people

"The responsibility for the life and health of our wards lies on us." How social workers of the Grodno region take care of the elderly people

The coronavirus pandemic has affected on many areas of our lives and has changed the usual working rhythm. This is especially felt by those who are at the forefront today - doctors and social services workers. Boarding houses and round-the-clock departments for elderly citizens and people with disabilities of the regional centers of social services for the population of the Grodno region switched to shift work in conditions of complete isolation. This transition is associated with the instability of the epidemiological situation. Nurses, nurses, and nannies left families, households, and vegetable gardens to stay with their wards for several weeks.

Together is safer

This decision for many is not easy, but, as social workers themselves admit, deliberate and unanimous. After all, it has a noble and specific goal - to protect his wards from all possible risks as much as possible.

- One shift lasts 14 days. All this time, employees of our 14 boarding houses and 10 departments of round-the-clock stay for elderly citizens will be in isolation with their wards. More than 2.5 thousand people live here around the clock, said Sergey Patsevich, the chairman of the committee on labor, employment and social protection of the regional executive committee. - The transition to the shift method of work was carried out in stages. The first shift of workers began shift on 4th of May. The day before, workers were tested for the absence of coronavirus infection, organized living conditions and meals for staff, and provided with personal protective equipment. We took everything into account so that it was convenient for both employees and guests. Institutions work closely with district hospitals, hygiene centers, trade union committees, public organizations to help people as much as possible

The staff and guests get used to work and live in a new way. Institutions have limited visits, new residents are not temporarily settled here. Contacts are minimized among residents. Each such step is necessary in order not to jeopardize the most vulnerable category to this disease. After all, the majority of people living here, as a rule, are people with disabilities, deprived of legal capacity, patients with a neuropsychiatric profile and just old people


“Every day in touch with family”

One of the first to introduce a new format was the Vasilishkovsky boarding house for children with disabilities with special needs in psychophysical development in the Shchuchinsky district. The educational process here will end remotely. The children who studied in the general education program are certified in three quarters. We switched here to the shift method of work on 8th of Ma. Since personal contacts are limited, they talked with their interlocutor, nurse Natalya Peckel, over the phone

In response to the jocular “Well, what are you doing - spend the night at work?” Natalya replied quite seriously: “Of course, but how differently?” The woman admits: agreeing to such an option was not easy. After all a daughter is student, who is now studying remotely, remained at home. Yes, and the elderly mother Natalia would not hurt the help with the housework.

- After weighing the pros and cons, I decided to go on duty. Each of us must understand that we can save ourselves from coronavirus only if we work together. All responsibility for the life and health of our wards, and these are children with disabilities, young people with disabilities, lies with us. Adapting to new conditions is very helpful for the team and leadership. We feel this concern for us. We have very good girls - if you need help, they will prompt and advise.

Natalia Peckel remarks that inside the boarding house they strictly observe the health standards - after all, cleanliness and discipline above all

- In the dining room and library, in the halls on each floor, conditions for hand disinfection are created. Daily in the morning, employees and residents are measured temperature. Doctors and nurses monitor the health of the wards and staff.

In addition, in boarding houses and territorial centers organized their own "mini-production" of protective gauze dressings. This is done primarily for their needs, and allows the disabled to socialize

- All that is needed is to buy gauze fabric and elastic bands. And the dressings are no different from those sold in the pharmacy, says Natalya.

Every day, daughter Nastya is in touch with her mother: asks about business, talks about how her day went. And admits - really misses.


“We live and work here”

Among the guests of the Grodno boarding house for the elderly and disabled there are many elderly grandparents with interesting, and sometimes difficult, destinies. They try to surround everyone here with attention and care, to ensure a decent old age. Boarding home workers on watch from Monday. Elena Paray, a nurse of the highest category with many years of experience, shared her impressions of the new mode of work by phone

- At first, I, like my colleagues, had a lot of emotions: after all, they would close us from the outside world, from the family. Thoughts about how they would be there without me and how I myself can cope so as not to see my loved ones did not leave me. Communicating in a team, we began to understand that this is really a necessary measure, as the infection of people living on duty is reduced to a minimum. Now our boarding house continues to work in the "anti-virus" mode: sterile cleanliness, strict discipline and no panic. Work responsibilities have not changed - in this regard, everything remains as before. We do not leave the building of the boarding school: we work and live here.

Having talked with the interlocutor, I find out - a husband and an adult son are waiting at home. Without a homemaker, they are still unaccustomed to: now and then they call for advice.

- The son also works on a rotational basis in Ostrovets. He is not used to it. Unlike me, Elena remarks with a smile. Soon he will go there again. I always collect the bag, but this time I can only help by phone.

There are a lot of such dedicated women (namely women, because the bulk of the social service workers are women) in the region. To tell about each, perhaps, the whole issue of the newspaper is not enough. But it is impossible to miss their undoubted feat and selfless work. Now they, like their wards, need support and kind words.

In the social service there are not only girls

But let’s not forget about men. Although there are not so many of them among the social workers, they make a considerable contribution to the common cause. Judge for yourself: Stanislav Ambrushkevich, the head of the medical department of the Shchuchinsky neuropsychiatric boarding house for the elderly and disabled, under the supervision of 280 wards

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- Mostly these are people with high age qualifications and disabilities. It’s hard for them to take care of themselves. They, and we ourselves, have long been attached to each other. For many years, our boarding house has become a home for many of them. The shift mode was introduced on 4th of May. Of course, there was anxiety, but I agreed without hesitation, because our wards especially need medical care and protection.

In the team, special attention is paid to the culture of behavior in the workplace and discipline. Thanks to teamwork, clarity and coherence of the actions of all employees of the boarding school, the wards are under reliable protection.


-Of course, everything needs to be done so that the virus does not enter the institution, to put up all possible barriers, says Stanislav Ambrushkevich. We understand that our guests are also in a disturbing mood, but we try to talk more with them warmly, at home, not to leave them alone. Each of us hopes that together we will defeat this scourge and return to our familiar life as soon as possible.

After the shift, employees of these institutions will observe self-isolation at home

In parallel with them they carry their own, but not in the literal sense of the word, shift and other social workers of the region. Agree, the area of responsibility is vast: in the Grodno region there are almost 18 thousand single and more than 100 thousand single living elderly citizens, more than 3 thousand single disabled people of the first and second groups. And everyone needs close attention and care.


With care for the ward

For social workers, helping and caring for a person is hard work every day. At the call of their heart, they chose this difficult profession and fully devoted themselves to a noble cause. The need for social workers has now grown markedly, but despite this, they are ready to come to the aid at the right time, to be where they are most needed now.

We often come across the saying "A friend is in need." Its meaning is most clearly revealed in our time. But not only close people are ready to help. For many grandparents, people with disabilities, social workers become almost family for a long time of communication.


Every day, more than 2 thousand social workers and carers go on their work routes to bring medicine and food, prepare meals, feed, perform the necessary sanitary and hygienic procedures and be sure to listen to the person. To find the right words, to cheer up and inspire confidence that everything will be fine, - not everyone can do this. This requires a strong inner core and optimism.

- About 14 thousand people receive social assistance and support on an ongoing basis. 390 residents of the region receive nursing services, said Sergey Patsevich, the chairman of the committee on labor, employment and social protection of the regional executive committee. The social workers compared with the normal mode of operation increased the number of wards. If earlier on average 8 wards were assigned to one employee, now their number has grown to 10-12. Everyone needs different needs: one visit of a social worker per week is enough, someone needs to be visited several times a week, or even a day.

To help the social worker there is a bicycle

In the village, it is difficult for a social worker to imagine his life without a bicycle. The two-wheeled iron horse will also dominate where necessary, and will take over part of the burden.


In any weather, Anna Prusskaya, a social worker at Mostovsky District, does not part with a bicycle. Unless in the winter in a hurry along the usual routes for his two. 53 new bicycles purchased by the Mostovsky district executive committee turned out to be very handy. With their help, the transport fleet of social workers at the local center for Social Services was updated. Yes, and the service route was able to increase.

- Under my tutelage of 12 pensioners. The oldest ward is 86 years old, and the “youngest” is 74, jokes Anna Prusskaya . On the day I manage to visit 4-5 wards living in the private sector of the Mostovsky district. Three of my wards live quite far. In summer, I can ride a bicycle to them in 20-25 minutes, in winter I spend an hour at the same distance. Now the route has become longer, but I understand that my grandparents really need it. They are always waiting for me with great impatience, because for many we, consider, are native people.


Indeed, for lonely old people, the social worker sometimes replaces the family, remains the only connecting thread with the outside world. Therefore, many of them do not skimp on words of gratitude, they always miss and count the hours and minutes before meeting their Anechka, Svetochka and Natasha (or maybe Valechka).

Food and medicine on call

The coordinated operation of the hotline phones of territorial public service centers helps minimize risks in a pandemic. In this regard, older people can fully rely on social service workers: in the region, more than 90 thousand citizens were informed about the possibility of delivering food and medicine to their homes.


More than 1,200 applications have been submitted to the hotlines, a third of them are from single elderly people. For them, every trip to the store or bank is an unjustified risk. Delivery assistance is provided by volunteers of public organizations and associations. Communication with recipients is always non-contact, keeping a distance and using personal protective equipment.

As Elena Kondratovich, the head of the department of the territorial center of social services for the population of the Lida district, said, calls to the “hot line” come not only from older people and people with disabilities, but also from families raising disabled children. Applications usually come with requests for the delivery of products or medicines.


- Applications are executed not only on weekdays, but also on weekends and holidays. On average, two trips a day. There are frequent cases when, after the completed application, we receive words of gratitude for the timely delivery and good attitude to people.

Preventive measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus in social services institutions have been taken in advance. This is the provision of personal protective equipment in sufficient quantities, the introduction of mask and restrictive modes of operation.


But, as you already understood, the work of the heroes of the invisible front does not stop even for a minute, because they will always be where they really need them.

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