Lesley Lord and Ewen Cameron have been providing a vital lifeline to vulnerable adults for over 15 years.
But earlier this year, the couple who work for Barnsley Council’s in-house provider, Shared Lives, literally became lifesavers.
Shared Lives is similar to a fostering service where the Carers support vulnerable adults who have a physical or learning disability within their home and in the local community.
It has been established in Barnsley for over 15 years and is part of the Council’s offer to meet the needs of its local community.
Lesley and Ewen have been Shared Lives carers since 2008 and have adapted their home with a low level ramp, downstairs wet room, stairlift and downstairs bedroom. They are both experienced carers who have dedicated their lives to supporting vulnerable adults in a variety of care settings.
Earlier this year, they were supporting a 65-year-old person with a diagnosed learning disability and a diagnosis of dementia. The person had Type 2 Diabetes and required support to ensure this was managed safely. They lived in a Shared Lives’ long-term placement with Lesley and Ewen, along with another person with learning disabilities.
The person was dependent on Lesley and Ewen for support with all aspects of daily living meals, drinks, personal care, finances, laundry, shopping, appointments and correspondence.
They were unable to access the community alone and required support at all times when doing so, due to their disability, health conditions and vulnerability.
They had acute hip pain and their health and mobility had deteriorated. They used a wheelchair when mobilising over longer distances, and a wheeled zimmer frame with support over shorter distances. They also had a stairlift in situ at home that they required support to use.
The person had lived with Lesley and Ewen since November 2014 and had enjoyed family life with them since that date.
In May, the individual had returned home after attending a meeting and was sat at the table eating a sandwich.
They took a couple of bites when their eyes started to roll and their lips turned blue. Lesley supported the person to the floor and checked for a pulse no pulse was found and Lesley began CPR, 999 was called by a visiting friend who witnessed the incident.
Minutes later the person’s other carer Ewen, 67, returned home and took over CPR from Lesley. By the time the Air Ambulance arrived the individual was breathing again.
Lesley and Ewen’s manager contacted them that evening to ensure they were ok following the incident and Ewen said that they were both fine and that their Emergency Aid training “kicked in” and they “just did what they had to do”.
The social worker involved praised both Lesley and Ewen for saving the person’s life.
Ewen and Lesley from Wombwell were nominated by the Shared Lives’ team for a Proud of Barnsley award and the couple are one of four finalists in this year’s Carer of the Year category.
The nomination said: “The whole team in Shared Lives are so proud of Lesley and Ewen for their quick response and commitment to their role in what must have been a highly distressing situation.”
On hearing of their success in making the shortlist, Ewen said: “I’m really surprised we goth this far but we’re really happy. It’s a non-stop kind of job but so rewarding too.”