At the beginning of March 2020, it became apparent that the whole world was on the brink of a worldwide pandemic. By the 23rd of March we were instructed to go under an enforced lockdown. The impact was something that not one of us at Next Steps could have predicted.
Overnight all visits by family into our supported living services had to cease. All appointments for clients were cancelled, all therapy sessions and other professional appointments also cancelled. All social visits cancelled and any free movement in the community also. Our focus became ensuring all our clients and staff remained well and protected from COVID. The impact on our clients with learning disabilities was incredibly hard. They struggled to understand and make sense of all the restrictions. Day to day life our clients knew changed in an instant. We noticed an increase in behaviours as a knock-on effect of not having exercise and social interactions.
We quickly as a company adjusted to the new way of life and then in turn a new way of ensuring all our clients were fulfilled and that all elements of their care were attended to. We all soon became experts in video call and virtual meeting rooms to facilitate interaction with families separated by the pandemic but also to ensure some of therapy sessions could still take place. Daily exercise remained vital where possible to ensure that our clients still had fresh air stayed active. Staff thought outside the box to replicate some of the day centres activities, lots of baking and other sensory activities soon became a daily norm. All staff pulled together and made what a very tough time something that we are all very proud of at Next Steps, a time when unity and resilience was definitely key and one that still remains today.