CARE workers at a home in Littleton Panell are choosing to look after their elderly patients ahead of their own families in an amazing response to the coronavirus lockdown.

Many of the 18 staff at The Haven Care Home are saying farewell to their own families, and packing their bags for a three-week stint on duty.

They then get a week off, before heading back to the home to care for their elderly patients suffering from dementia.

They have all committed to sticking out the punishing regime until the coronavirus lockdown is lifted.

Care home manager Harriet Mays is leading the effort. She has two young children, Archie, 10, and Riley, seven, who are being looked after by her partner David.

“We have been looking at ways to reduce the footfall, and the possibility of infection at the home,” said Harriet.

“So we decided the best way to do that was to just move in.”

She is now two weeks into a three-week stint, and says it is going well, adding: “We have made sure that the seven staff on shift at any time have their own rooms.

“Also, the home has two kitchens, so the staff are using one of them to cook in.”

They are keeping themselves entertained in lockdown with group yoga sessions, a bit of gardening and playing board games.

“I keep in regular touch with my boys,” she said. “We do a lot of FaceTime chats.” Her partner is at home as his decorating work has dropped away during lockdown.

“They all seem quite happy, but I am looking forward to seeing them a lot,” she said.

Another of the lockdown carers is Helen Lane, whose 13-year-old son Callum is at home with her partner, Mike.

“Mike is a bus mechanic and is out of work at the moment,” she said.

“They seem to be looking after each other OK I think. It is obviously a little bit difficult..

“I talk to Callum on the phone or FaceTime him to remind him that he still has to do his homework and not play on the XBox all day. But he is a good lad and seems to be doing it.”

She is also managing to enjoy some downtime with the girls.

“We’ve been having pamper nights, doing our nails, and we had a hair dying session the other night, so we are having some fun too.

The 11 residents currently at the home are all dementia sufferers needing full time care.

Relatives who wanted to stay anonymous contacted the Gazette and Herald to shower praise on the staff, who they are calling heroes.

“I live far away from my father and it is a great comfort for me to know that he is in such good hands,” said one.

“I am full of admiration for how the staff have coped. They genuinely care for his wellbeing. They treat him with respect and affection. He also has wonderful, wholesome home cooked meals.”