WHETHER it’s weathering a snowstorm or fighting through rain, the dedicated members of the home care team at East Dunbartonshire Council are a force to be reckoned with.
During the recent weeks of snow and sub-zero temperatures many people wouldn’t have been able to make it to work.
But for East Dunbartonshire’s hard-working army of home carers that wasn’t an option.
More than 1400 residents, including the elderly, disabled and the vulnerable, all depend on the round-the-clock vital service the carers provide.
Not only do the 300-strong team help with cooking, shopping and ironing for those in need, but they also provide highly intensive personal care, including stroma and catheter care.
Despite many home carers having to abandon cars and battle through the snow and ice, 97 per cent of them made it to work during the recent Arctic conditions.
Carer Jean Burns said: “Not getting to work simply wasn’t an option for us.
“I know of girls who walked five miles in the snow every day, because if they didn’t their clients wouldn’t eat - it was as simple and as crucial as that.”
“Some people who need care don’t have families and live on their own. Sometimes we’re there four times a day and overnight.
“There’s a lot of clients who, if it wasn’t for the team going to visit, would never get out of bed.”
All social work services, including the home care team, psychiatrict nurses and the hospital liaison team, pulled together to ensure clients received the service they needed during the bad weather.
Cathy Rush, personal care manager, said: “There were psychiatric nurses out doing shopping lists and sheltered housing wardens were making tea and checking residents in the complexes were alright.
“A real community spirit prevailed. Everyone worked together to put out the best service they could. And that service more than came up to the mark.”
Carer Moira Miller told the Herald most clients were surprised to see her and her colleagues had managed to beat the treacherous weather conditions.
She added: “They couldn’t believe we’d battled through the snow just to see that they were okay.
“Their wee delighted faces when we turned up made it all worthwhile. They ended up telling us to be careful and watch out for the weather.”
One Kirkintilloch woman who receives home care four times a day is Mary Ross.
Her daughter, Sarah, said: “Despite the hazardous winter conditions the home care team showed up like angels.
“Most of these ladies had to abandon their cars and come on foot, knee-deep in snow, for miles. Their sheer determination, good cheer and great kindness meant a great deal to us.”
Resources manager Alastair Short praised his team.
He said: “They have been fantastic and I’m proud of them. Many came in early to work, fearful that they wouldn’t be able to make it later in the day if the snow got worse. All of them worked above and beyond the call of duty.”
Convener of the council’s social work department, Councillor Michael O’Donnell, said: “The home care team did a fantastic job.
“Every request the home care team received over the winter was dealt with, even those from people who were unknown to the service.”