Care home chef moved into centre over Christmas to protect residents

Care home chef Caroline Lloyd stayed at Prince George care home in Ipswich for three weeks to ensure she could safely cook residents Christmas dinner.

A care home chef slept in its day centre for three weeks to ensure she was Covid-free and could give residents a special Christmas lunch.

Caroline Lloyd, a head chef at Prince George House care home in Ipswich, stayed away from her family and moved into the home over Christmas.

In mid-December, one of Lloyd’s family tested positive for Covid and she decided, in a bid to stay infection-free, to move into the day care centre next to the Care UK home, which has a kitchenette, bathroom and TV.

She said: “When one of the people I live with tested positive, I knew I couldn’t risk coming into contact with them. Luckily, they hadn’t been home for a few days but were going to be in my house for Christmas. So, I decided to stay at Prince George House and not see my family at all to make absolutely sure that I wouldn’t catch the virus. Thankfully, my family were very understanding about the fact that I couldn’t spend Christmas with them.”

The home’s second chef tested positive just before Christmas and was unable to work, so there was a kitchen team of just two - Lloyd and a kitchen assistant. The pair prepared a three-course lunch for their 76 residents and offered the menu to every colleague on duty that day.

It included starters of either prawn cocktail or butternut squash soup and mains of roast turkey, with a sausage, bacon and stuffing roulade and all the usual trimmings. There was a mushroom Wellington for vegetarian residents and those that don't like turkey. Dessert was a traditional sherry trifle and Christmas pudding - and the pair even did the washing up afterwards.

“I’m not quite sure how we did it, but on Christmas Day, with my one remaining team member, we ended up preparing a traditional Christmas dinner for over 120 people, that’s a lot of sprouts,” Lloyd said. "I love my job. As a chef, I get great pleasure from knowing residents are eating well-balanced meals that they truly love. I’ve been here since 2014 and Prince George House is like one big loving family, I have great colleagues. I really enjoy being able to interact with the residents, finding out what they most like to eat. Seeing how much my home cooking means to them is very rewarding. Cooking in a care home has to be one of the most fulfilling roles any chef can undertake.”

After the new year, Lloyd was able to return home and celebrate Christmas with her family.

Jennifer Rodger, home manager at Prince George House, said: “This is not the first time we have seen Caroline going above and beyond to support residents and my team. Last year, over Easter with the pandemic in full swing, she discovered another member of her household had tested positive so ended up staying in the home for over a week to ensure the residents and colleagues were kept safe and able to enjoy the delicious Easter meals she and her kitchen team had planned.”

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