Assignment 5 – 300 words

Just as the country has word of a Covid-19 vaccination roll-out at the end of December, beginning with care homes, it was devastating to hear that there had been an outbreak of the virus at Edenholme. The two households affected are Farburn and Seaside, the two I worked primarily in when re-deployed earlier in the year. So close, yet so far.

Staff are exhausted and emotionally drained, having had the best part of year fighting so hard to keep the virus out and residents protected, but there’s a grim determination to keep the virus from spreading to the three other households. There are three green zones and two red zones. Within the red zones, residents are confined to rooms, which can be challenging as some, due to their condition, ‘purposefully walk.’ Dementia leaves them restless and they walk, so a staff member has to be with them all the time to keep them occupied.

The difference this time is that staff now wear scrubs and a visor. If you’re in the red zones, then you wear a disposable apron and gloves when dealing with a resident, whether they have the virus or not. Infection control measures are extremely tight going to and from the red zones, with staff changing in empty rooms and scrubs tied up in dissolvable laundry bags to be washed separately from the scrubs of other staff.

Amanda, Edenholme’s manager has been staying at the care home since the outbreak. Amanda’s office has a small camp bed and she keeps a bag of belongings in there. The guest room was occupied by Carolyn, an assistant manager and her son David, who works there as a care assistant. They travel some 30 miles from Banchory and decided to stay and support Amanda. David showed symptoms so had to isolate, they both contracted the virus and had to isolate for 14 days. Edenholme was one of the first care homes to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech’s in the Grampian Health Board authority and I was on shift the day it was administered. The series of images captures the first of the vaccines to be given and the sacrifices that staff have made at the care home. The final image is that of a quiet hallway, with the seat that Sandy, a resident I spent a great deal of time with, would sit at after one of our many long walks. Sandy died of complications due to Covid-19 the week I was working. I didn’t get the opportunity to get out for one last walk. A number of other residents have also passed, I’ve worked with them all. Fortunately, a number have survived and although battered and exhausted, they are still here.

Assignment 5 – Initial thoughts

The brief

Continue working on your personal project and produce a photo essay of 15 images. Your work should demonstrate good research, a methodical approach and a wider scope than previous assignment work.To accompany your images, write around 300 words of background information about your project.

Assignment 5 comes hot on the heels of assignment 4. I very much got stuck on the critical essay and it was a relief to get back to taking photographs. The critical essay is usually a sticking point for me.

Assignment 5 was to be a series of images from work at my substantive post within the community campus I work at. I was to take images of the sports centre, its staff and patrons, as well as images of staff from the school/library/community spaces. This was to be mixed with residents from my immediate surroundings and possibly a couple from Edenholme, both staff and residents. Quite a number to fit in to 15 images. The idea was to capture what has been my community for this year, a year of pandemic and lockdowns, as we finish the calendar year. Events and the virus had other ideas. Slowly and steadily, Aberdeenshire’s numbers for the virus have increased. We were in one of the lowest areas for the whole country but in the past month, the numbers increased a great deal. All it took was for one staff member to take the virus in to Edenholme. It’s resulted in an outbreak at the home in both Farburn and Seaside units, with staff and residents infected. As staff sickness and quarantining levels impacted on staffing levels, those that were re-deployed earlier in the year were asked if we’d like to help out. I agreed to do so.

I will produce a PDF book using the Book function in Lightroom 4 for the final assignment.