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Courageous student caring for elderly during COVID-19 crisis

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) student and care worker Charmaine Binga is supporting the elderly and vulnerable in the fight against the coronavirus.

Alongside studying for her Health and Wellbeing in Society degree, Charmaine has been working as a care assistant in a nursing home for the elderly for the past two years, something she describes as “the most rewarding job ever”.

Charmaine Binga article image

The 20-year-old from Northamptonshire is more determined than ever to offer her services and skills during the COVID-19 crisis. Classed as a key worker, she has continued to work as a care assistant during the lockdown.

She said: “It’s in times like these that you put aside the things that don’t matter, and you focus on things that do matter – in this case, it’s offering support and care to vulnerable people.

“Due to COVID-19, it has been an incredibly challenging time, not just for carers and nurses in our nursing home, but for the patients we look after and also their families.

“I feel that it’s my duty to put myself forward and make a positive contribution to my community by going to work, despite what is currently going on. The people I look after need my support.”

Following government advice, care homes have closed their doors to visitors to protect the health and safety of residents.

Charmaine said: “Since the lockdown, the patients we look after have not seen their loved ones, and we’ve become their family. We have brightened up their days by organising fun activities, doing their hair and nails or simply just sitting with them and chatting.”

Despite suffering from asthma, a condition that may increase your risk from coronavirus, Charmaine has continued in her role.

“I’m a caring person by nature, so being at home when I know someone needs me goes against everything I stand for,” she said.

“In this time of difficulty everyone needs support. This is why it has been essential for me to go to work, because I know my colleagues and the residents need me.”

* How students and staff at DMU are supporting the community at this time
Advice and information on COVID-19

The hands-on nature of the degree programme has suited Charmaine, with her final-year placement proving to be a particular highlight of her university experience.

She said: “During my placement I was able to shadow an advice worker who worked with individuals dealing with issues such as food poverty, homelessness and benefits. This was incredibly eye-opening and made me even more passionate about working in the health and social care sector.”

Charmaine is planning to continue her DMU journey, applying for a place on the Social Work MA.

“My experience at DMU has been incredible. I’ve had so much support and advice from my supervisor and other module leaders, which has led to me knowing exactly what my next steps are after graduation,” she said. 

Posted on Tuesday 14th April 2020

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