What measures have been taken so far to protect the residents and staff?
As well as using PPE (personal protective equipment) in a home for residents who have symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 we are also using PPE when delivering care and other services within two metres of all other residents in that home. This therefore applies to personal care, assisting our residents who need help with eating, when delivering medication and when providing one to one activities at a resident’s bedside or chair, as examples. This is intended to minimise the risk of spread of the infection from one resident to another. I hope that these measures reassure you, when you are not able to visit as usual, that we are taking every appropriate infection control measure to safeguard your loved one.
Are residents’ and staff being tested for COVID-19?
All of our residents and staff have now been tested more than once. We are able to test people who appear symptomatic very quickly and we are on schedule to provide regular testing as advised by the Government.
Our infection management protocols remain the same. The tests being offered tell whether the person has the infection at the time of the test and we have protocols to ensure we support that person in the safest way if they need to self-isolate to minimise the risk of infection spreading. The tests aren’t antibody tests, which tells you whether someone has had the infection previously.
How are residents being kept informed of changes within the home due to COVID-19?
Our residents have been regularly communicated to by our CEO by letter and the management team within the home have been providing daily updates to all residents.
Will a new resident be tested for COVID-19 prior to moving into the care home?
Yes, a new resident will be tested up to 5 days prior to moving into the care home. If the test is negative the resident can move into their room. They will remain in their room and will be tested again 7 days following the first test. If that test is negative they can leave their room.
Why are team members not wearing PPE (personal protection equipment) all the time?
Our policies on PPE utilisation comply with that of the Public Health bodies, we continue to review both national and international evidence and guidance to inform our policies on PPE utilisation as we move forward. As national restrictions are lifting and we can invite visitors to our homes we are we are also providing PPE to any visitors.
We are using PPE when delivering care and other services within two metres of all other residents in the home. This therefore applies to personal care, assisting our residents who need help with eating, when delivering medication and when providing one to one activities at a resident’s bedside or chair, as examples. This is intended to minimise the risk of introducing infection into our homes
Do we have enough PPE as the media make it known that even the NHS is struggling?
We remain well stocked with all items of all PPE that we need – masks, gloves, aprons and visors, as well as equipment which we need more rarely and we have sufficient supplies to see us through the duration of the pandemic.
What happens if many team members become affected? how will we manage to care for the residents?
Whilst we have had a number of team members absent with symptoms of COVID-19 at the beginning of the pandemic, or other team members who have been advised to shield or self-isolate, many of them are now back in work and our teams remain at capacity. We also take measures to ensure that we don’t have people crossing between our care homes unnecessarily.
Now that we are able to test our team members and the national test and trace service is operational, we are able to support our team members quickly to isolate. We also have an expectation that our team members will act responsibly to protect themselves from the risk of exposure.
If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 would family members and friends be informed?
Whilst we understand this is a very worrying time for you we can assure you that our residents are being looked after to the highest of standards. We would inform you if the home has a confirmed case of COVID-19.
How do we isolate in a care home and prevent the resident from deteriorating emotionally and physically?
Our Director of Memory Care and Activities has provided guidance to all our homes on supporting residents to keep well while in their room. This includes a plan’ for every resident, detailing the resident’s routine of preferred meaningful activities in order to provide a sense of purpose. Activities are planned to support some physical action with chair-based exercises; window-based activities for maximum access to daylight and sunshine and also a range of stimulating 1:1 activities, including quizzes, word searches, poems, colouring pages, crosswords, short stories, and copies of the Daily Sparkle.
Can family members and friends be with residents at end of life?
Yes, we are restricting this to two people but we would support you to be with your loved one if they were end of life
We are also supporting controlled visits to our homes using a set of criteria to ensure it is as safe as possible for all our residents
Are we still allowing new residents into our homes?
Yes, we have protocols for supporting new residents to move into our home safely
What happens if someone in the home tests positive for covid-19?
Anyone who tests positive for covid-19 is required to self-isolate for 10 days. Team members will isolate at home and residents will be supported in their rooms. During this time they will be supported to maintain social contact via iPad and a bespoke plan, which will enable 1:1 activities and contact with carers, friends and family
We continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis, following public health advice. We've a detailed set of criteria to inform when an individual home can be reopened safely to limited visiting either by families of existing residents or by potential new residents who may want to view one of our homes. The majority of our homes are open for admissions.
As part of our approach to reopening for visitors, we'll be operating in a very different way. To minimise the risk of infection we've produced a safety guide.
We'll continue to follow public health advice to determine when visits will return to normal and will continue to do our best to support residents to keep in touch with loved ones.