Sophie Taylor is a Senior Staff Nurse from Armagh working at Bluebell House – Carrickore Respite Unit, which is a residential facility for young people with complex disabilities based in Newry.
The 27-year-old is working on Christmas Day – it’s not the first time either.
Have you worked Christmas day before? (If so what has it been like or if not what are expecting?
“Christmas is a lovely time of the year and it’s important that all our young people are supported to see their families and be supported to partake in festive activities. Christmas Day is spent opening presents and having Christmas dinner with our young people and supporting them to enjoy each part of the day.”
Obviously, Christmas day is going to be very different for many of the patients, how are you going to keep spirits high this year?
“Our young people will be getting presents on Christmas morning and seeing their families on Christmas Day, with Covid-19 guidelines being adhered to. We have decorated our unit with festive window paintings and decorated trees. Staff keep the spirits high by wearing Christmas jumpers and there’s always happy faces coming into work. And we keep each other’s spirits high by baking festive treats and sharing them with our young people.”
Describe how it has been working through the pandemic?
“We have worked positively as a team to ensure consistency and routine has been maintained for our young people. Things have been difficult for everyone but as a close knit staff team we have all kept each other going and been supportive. The most important thing has been keeping our young people happy and maintaining family connections through restrictions and finding creative solutions to some of our difficulties.”
It what has been a difficult year, are there any positives which you have been able to take from it?
“This year has shown us that we have a strong and committed staff team, who are continually working to improve the lives of our young people every day. I am proud to work with an amazing staff team and support incredible young people every day.
How do you feel about the reaction from members of the public to the work you have done?
As a small residential unit, we may not be widely known for the therapeutic work that we do in supporting the young people that use our service; however, families and friends of the young people we support have always made it clear that they are happy with our service and that makes me proud to work here.
What are your plans for Christmas, how will you be celebrating this year?
This year I will be celebrating Christmas morning at home with my partner before coming to work to help our young people celebrate Christmas and support them to see their families.