Gaynor Laycock has worked in the care industry since 1998, and until the coronavirus pandemic she thought she had seen it all.

"I've worked in care for 22 years," She said, "But I've never seen anything like this. We have experienced something that we will never experience again."

Mrs Laycock and her team at The Hollies Care Home in Hessle which is run by HICA, had to change the way they worked almost overnight to protect themselves and their residents from the deadly disease.

Despite being Deputy Manager, Mrs Laycock still gets stuck in and provides care "on the floor" alongside her team.

She recalls how she felt when the first elderly resident tested positive for coronavirus - and was released to the care home on the same day.

"It comes as a shock, it hits you, she said.

Gaynor Laycock loves her job and cares for residents as if they're her own family

"I wouldn’t try and deny that because it’s a fear of the unknown. Once you’re opening your doors to someone who has got that disease you think it’s here now, that's it, you realise how serious it is. But you think let’s stick together.

"Yes everybody did feel apprehensive but knowing we was well protected did make a difference. To be honest HICA has really looked after the staff, we’ve not wanted for anything, we’ve been safe and protected with PPE.

"The service users are our family, they really are. We all treat each other like family. We say to staff she’s still the same lady, she still deserves the same level of dignity and care.

"Care is from the heart and our carers are genuinely full of care and love.

"Anyone who says they would not have apprehension would be lying as we all feel the same, but regardless of the illness they still deserve the same level of care and dignity.

Mrs Laycock says she has never had a day where she didn't want to go to work - although it would be understandable if she had. She says staff tell residents they are smiling under their masks.

She helped personally care for 91-year-old Iris Wilcock who spent three weeks in isolation at the home after testing positive for coronavirus. Iris hit the headlines last week after doing a royal wave as she was wheeled out of isolation at the home.

"To be honest I've never thought of not going in, She added. "I’m not saying there's days where you wonder what it is going to be like.

The staff tell residents they are smiling under their masks

"But I've felt more protected in the care home with the PPE then I have going shopping in Sainsbury's.

"Our director of operations comes in every morning and brings in buns - we will all be size 20 by the time we leave. That’s the kind of buck up which everybody likes though and it's about supporting each other, it's what we’ve introduced from day one."

Mrs Gaynor says the staff have come to be used to wearing the personal protective equipment (PPE).

Find out how many coronavirus cases there are in your area

She said: "It's time consuming, it's there for a reason, if it took me an hour to get protected its worth not going through the virus.

"We never hear staff moaning about it even though it is hard some days, it is very warm. If you can take regular sips of drinks it helps. It's uncomfortable.

"We always wore the aprons and gloves but now we have the masks which steam up because you’re hot and trying to see to a person's needs.

"As soon as you get to work its what you put on."

Helping Hull's Hospital Heroes

Helping Hull's Hospital Heroes is a campaign launched by Hull Live and the Hull Daily Mail to raise £25,000 to support our incredible hospital staff.

Workers at Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital have been at the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic, caring for the most seriously ill patients.

The campaign aims to raise money to support staff and provide them with small treats to lift their spirits and say thank you for their incredible work.

Donations will go to the charity WISHH - Working Independently to Support Hull’s Hospitals - so will go directly towards hospital workers in Hull.

How you can help

A donation of...

£5 will support a front line nurse with a meal, drinks and a snack.

£10 will provide a nurse with a wellbeing care package including protective face and hand creams to care for skin from constant mask and PPE wearing.

£100 will provide a Wellbeing Room Box, accessible to ward staff with mindfulness and distraction items to help them relax including journals, colouring and puzzle books, felt tip pens, puzzles, distraction games and wellbeing books.  The ideas for the contents of these boxes have been inspired by the staff.

In addition to the above, the charity proposes to spend between £1,000 and £3,000 to help make enhancements to staff rest rooms in the hospitals by improving the availability of and access to drinks facilities including coffee machines, microwaves and improving furnishings to enable staff to take a break.

The more money that is donated will enable the charity to support as many of Hull's 9,500 hospital staff as possible, helping the charity to support them during and beyond the pandemic.

How to donate

You can donate through the dedicated JustGiving page here.

Alternatively, cheques can be made payable to WISHH Charity, writing on the back ‘Hull Live COVID-19 appeal’ and sent to the WISHH Office, Hull Live COVID-19 Appeal, First Floor Administration Block, Castle Hill Hospital, Castle Road, Cottingham, HU16 5JQ.

The care home now operates a one entry and exit system and only one staff member is allowed to enter at a time. No visitors are allowed to see their family members for the foreseeable future.

"No matter what, the home is remaining positive, she added.

"We do Skype calls for families. We do welcome families to come to the window even though they can't come inside. We give reassurance over the phone but to see someone see their relative through the window melts your heart."