Helping to keep people safe during a global pandemic

We've been carefully following government guidance, alongside our own Covid-19 infection control procedures, to do everything we can to help keep residents and our staff safe throughout this global pandemic, while making life as normal as possible in our homes - and this continues to be our focus.

As we're caring for some of the most vulnerable people in society, it's even more vital that we carry on with all of the necessary precautions for the safety of everyone living in or working at our homes, in the absence of a vaccine or a cure. 

A number of precautionary social distancing and additional infection control measures have already been in place in our homes for some time to help reduce the risk of illness. These include pausing group activities and bus trips, and ensuring staff only work in our care home to reduce the risk of cross-infection.

We have had full access to PPE throughout the pandemic and have adequate stock going forward, through established supply chains. We also have access to regular testing for everyone, and are taking precautionary temperatures of our staff and residents every day.

We’re still admitting new residents who might otherwise be cut-off from their families and communities because of lockdown. Anyone moving into our homes (or returning from hospital) is tested during a precautionary isolation period from other residents.

Although we’ve paused our usual approach to activities, bus outings and entertainment, residents and staff are coming up with creative ways to ensure daily life continues as much as possible.

There are still plenty of opportunities for people to enjoy their hobbies including arts and crafts, games, puzzles, reading and music. The local community has helped us create busy boxes full of fun bits and pieces for residents to use, and we’ve received hundreds of letters, pictures and messages of support, as well as donations of sweets, chocolate and other goodies, which are very much appreciated by all.

At some of our homes, residents and staff have been celebrating their love for music by holding a daily dance or two, which is a great opportunity to share some fun and laughter - you’ll see some examples on our Facebook page.

We’ve also been working with entertainers to find new ways to ensure the show goes on – from kerb-side saxophone players to performances from the garden, while residents enjoy a sing-a-long from their rooms.

 

 

 

 

Outdoor visits at our homes are still allowed, as we do everything we can to ensure loved ones can stay in touch during these unprecedented times including:

  • Pre-arranged garden visits are an option available to relatives, and we ask that only one family member visits at a time, so we can continue to protect all residents and staff from the risk of illness. A limited number of pre-booked window visits are also available
  • Pre-booked video conferencing or phone calls are available for relatives and continue to be the most popular way for people to stay in touch with loved ones
  • Our Relatives Gateway provides 24/7 access to a loved one’s care notes (with appropriate consent), wherever relatives are with an internet connection. Messages and photos can be shared with each other with the option to ask questions about their care

Visiting inside the home is still not allowed, unless there are exceptional circumstances agreed in advance with the Home Manager. Residents are unable to leave the home for visits to relatives’ houses or other public areas at this time.

We provide regular updates through our homes’ weekly phone calls to relatives (or sooner if anything changes), so relatives can be assured they have the information you need.

We’re also developing visitor pods that mean relatives will be able to safely visit in any weather as autumn and winter approaches. Our pods will be ready soon and you can read more about these, here.

 

We take our responsibility to ensure the health and wellbeing of residents, staff and essential visitors seriously. 

We've introduced a new infection control process for welcoming essential visitors to our homes. All essential visitors must agree to the following statements before proceeding inside the home:

  • My visit is essential and I am either a member of staff, a volunteer or other essential visitor e.g. health professional or urgent contractor
  • I do not have Coronavirus symptoms, nor have I been in contact with anyone who has in the last 14 days
  • I do not have symptoms (even mild) or a cold, flu or respiratory illness
  • I will wash and sanitise my hands on entry/exit and will follow all hand-washing/infection control guidance
  • I will have my temperature checked and recorded when signing in, witnessed by a member of staff (you will not be permitted into the home with a temperature of 37.8 degrees celsius and will need to be re-checked if between 37.4 degrees celsius and 37.7 degrees celsius) 

While we don’t know what the future looks like with the global pandemic, we’re doing everything we can to be as ready as we can be for whatever is round the corner.

Looking to the winter months, we’re investing in new technology such as automatic sanitising gates, portable fogging machines and airport-style infrared temperature scanners to help reduce the risk of bringing illness into the home.

What is in the spray that is used in the automatic sanitising gates?
The gates use a natural antiseptic and antibacterial solution that kills 99.99% of bacteria and viruses. It's made of a salt and water mix that is put through a process called electrolysis to produce a hypochlorous solution. This is naturally produced by white blood cells of all mammals, playing an important role in immune systems.