With debate raging over the future of health care provision for the most vulnerable in society, Eidyn Care is a family-owned, at-home care provider that is demonstrating how to deliver a combination of compassion and companionship with expert care.
Meet Diana. She is a woman with an immensely interesting history. Her intelligence and spark are immediately obvious – not to mention her wicked sense of humour! She is perfectly groomed and lives in an immaculately kept villa in Davidson’s Mains, Edinburgh. She is also getting on in years, suffers from MS and is wheelchair bound.
She has suffered from her condition for decades but even after her diagnosis continued to work tirelessly as a director for The British Trust for the Myelin Project. The Myelin Project was established by Augusto and Michaela Odone, whose search for treatment for their son Lorenzo, who suffered from ALD, was made famous by the Hollywood movie, Lorenzo’s Oil.
Diana’s work has seen her tackle huge challenges and her fighting spirit and keen brain are clearly as engaged as ever. But Diana can do very little for herself physically. Since her beloved husband died a few years ago, Diana has been dependent on social care provision to help her to complete the daily tasks we all take for granted.
‘I am wheel-chair bound, but living independently,’ Diana explained. ‘After the sudden death of my husband who for 30 years cared for my every need, my challenges were many fold; moving house to a new city, and requiring urgent care and support, unfortunately the social could not meet my needs. I was fortunate to find Eidyn Care whose staff are carefully selected for their compassion and are trained in every aspect of care.
‘My support can include being accompanied to hospital visits, going to the post office, visiting the dentist, and when I’m ill I receive immediate extra support. But most important thing of all is they know when you are in pain or worried and they give you a hug or a cup of tea and have a chat. They really are my special angels.
‘I am so grateful to Eidyn Care, who so richly deserved the carer of the year award.’
Eidyn Care was established in 2017, by husband and wife team Andrew and Rebecca McLennan. Rebecca has a history of working in end of life and other specialist care at both the Western General Hospital and St Columba’s Hospice in Edinburgh. Seeing the gap between what government providers could offer and what clients needed, Rebecca was motivated to start Eidyn Care.
The company now employs more than 50 people and looks after clients all across the city. One of the problems they have faced is being able to recruit people because many have a very negative impression of working in the care industry.
Diana’s carer, Lynda McKenzie, said: ‘So many people think you spend all your time wiping bums and cleaning up vomit. It really isn’t like that at all! Diana and I have a cup of tea and a chat. I take her out shopping and make sure that everything in her house is within easy reach for her. I attend to her physical needs, of course, but her mental health needs are just as important, and for someone like Diana, who has spent her life surrounded by people, companionship is essential.’
Andrew McLennan, CEO of Eidyn Care, said: ‘When council carers are given just 15 minutes to rush in and administer meals and medicines it becomes a stressful and unsatisfactory situation for everyone involved. A lot of our work involves helping our clients to do things for themselves. This builds their confidence and self-esteem and over time they learn new skills, which even means in some cases they can become less dependent on care.
‘Care isn’t just about seeing to someone’s immediate physical needs. Diana’s boiler broke recently, and I was the first person she called. By being able to fix her boiler in the middle of December, I was able to make a bigger difference to her on that day than by anything else I could have done.
‘People with long-term and life-limiting conditions can become terribly isolated and alone. Life is hard enough and when even the simple tasks are made more difficult by illness and you don’t feel you have anyone in your corner, for many it can become unbearable.’
For Diana, the change to being looked after by the team at Eidyn Care has been a dramatic one.
‘It was just truly dreadful before,’ she said. ‘Eidyn Care are absolutely fantastic. I can’t say enough good about them. What would I do without my angels?’
Eidyn Care’s philosophy is that just because people have become older or have an illness doesn’t mean they have less value. They treat their clients with the respect, compassion and dignity that we all have a right to expect.
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