When Public Health England advised the government that the only way to control the spread of this awful virus was to impose “lockdown” restrictions, my heart sank. Many questions needed to be asked and answered, such as:
How are we going to be able to support our clients?
How are the team going to operate safely?
How will these restrictions affect the mental health and wellbeing of our more vulnerable clients?
Thankfully my worries and concerns were unnecessary. Like most people who have served in the Armed Forces, you learn to become very resourceful, flexible, excellent problem solvers, and most of all, professional and dedicated. These useful traits have been deployed with the upmost efficiency by the staff of OTW. As soon as the restrictions came in force, workable processes were put in place, and I am proud to say, not one of our clients were left unsupported, all affected others families were cared for, and new referrals were still taken on board. This sterling accomplishment is all down to the caring dedication of the practitioners and workers of the team.
Due to the current guidelines at the time, it was decided that all client interaction would be conducted by telephone only, with the exception of any staff concerns regarding safeguarding, and/or, wellbeing issues. In these cases, visits would be necessary, but only by enforcing the rules regarding social distancing.
Luckily, many veterans, despite battling their own private issues, maintained these very valuable traits, and this has helped them to also adapt to the current restrictions surrounding the rules of social isolation. They were all informed of the temporary disruption of “normal” service regarding the procedures adopted by OTW, and they all accepted the changes, understanding the need to keep everybody safe and well.
As we start to see an ease on restriction, plans are now being made on how we can re-establish 1 to 1 client visits, hopefully these plans can be put in place soon, but only when I am certain that these meetings can be conducted safely with all concerned.
So in summary, I cannot thank my team enough for the dedication and support they have shown, not only to their clients, but to myself also, during these unprecedented times. The veterans and families of whom we support should also be commended for their understanding and resilience during this unusual time. Hopefully we can all come through this safe and well, and start where we left off.
Outside the Wire