As you know, we are all in the most challenging of times due to the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
So much change in the week since my last update. I sincerely thank you all for accepting the restrictions we have put in place, for the foreseeable future homes will remain closed to all relative visits.
I thought it would be helpful to reassure you all by outlining what we are doing.
Firstly, I have a team who report to me on a daily basis all that is happening and we are doing. We have a meeting (tele conferencing) three times a week to cover all the detail and plan ahead. Having all our homes in close proximity, all can be reached within 1 1/4hrs from our head office, means we know first-hand what is going on and are able to provide support quickly.
Social distancing, a phrase which a few weeks ago was unknown is now firmly at the forefront of our minds. We have introduced it within the homes, key areas include activities being run in small groups and lunch will now be served over two sittings. Staff where they can will keep at least 2m apart, clearly that is not always possible, we cannot compromise care.
We have brought in more people to deliver activities and companionship and are actively involving residents in shaping what they do. We plan to produce every 2 weeks a newsletter about what is going on in homes. I would like to encourage letter writing; we will of course be helping residents do this. We are very fortunate to have fantastic outdoor spaces and we are making sure that residents are able to use these to the maximum.
We are initiating a training programme so that the support teams based at Head Office are able to be deployed, if needs be, into specific homes as extra resource supporting non care roles. We have a great Learning & Development team who are putting this together combined with delivering training via webinars. I am delighted how everyone has risen to the challenges and embracing how they can deliver what they do differently.
In terms of supplies for our homes, we are assured by our food suppliers that there are no issues, but as a precaution we are making meals to freeze in our many freezers and we have also created a backup menu which can be delivered without a chef – if needs be.
Equipment supplies, purchasing of these remain a challenge but we are well stocked in our warehouse and now we are also seeing deliveries of essential Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
We are about to undertake a new recruitment campaign. Not because we are short staffed, but to try and secure extra staff to support the teams. There are clearly many people who have unfortunately lost their jobs and are looking for work.
Given the pressures the NHS is facing it is inevitable we will be asked to take hospital patients, it is starting to happen. We have therefore introduced strict admission processes, which adhere to our no visitor policy and will require any admission to self-isolate for 14 days. I can reassure that we will not compromise the safety of our residents or staff.
I think it is important for me to say that whilst we are taking all the measures my clinical team believe appropriate, we cannot stop the virus getting into our homes. As you would expect we have a clear policy re how to care for residents who are symptomatic.
All our homes are well versed in caring for residents with viruses, this is familiar territory to our experienced teams.
We have also taken guidance from Public Health England (PHE) re the impact on other residents where homes have potentially symptomatic residents. I am pleased to advise that there is not a need to self-isolate all residents, our daily monitoring of residents combined with social distancing and deep cleaning of communal spaces will ensure residents the freedom to continue to use their home’s facilities and gardens.
I hope that you find this update helpful and reassuring, we know more than ever that communication is so important. We have seen a large increase in the volume of incoming calls between 8 – 10am when so many of the team are supporting residents to start their day.
Finally, all that I have outlined is only possible because of the fantastic team of people we have across the homes and in support. I would like to say a massive thank you to them all, it is they that are making a difference.
Mark Aitchison, Chief Executive, Colten Care
We have been taking proportionate measures to allow relatives to continue to visit their loved ones for as long as possible. As we all know these times are unprecedented and circumstances are quickly changing.
We had wanted to be able to enable visiting this weekend, particularly mindful that it is Mother’s Day. However, we believe that we have now reached that point where I must advise, that with immediate effect, all our homes will be closed
for resident visits. The only exception would be exceptional visits that must first be agreed with the Home Manager.
I am very mindful of the distress this will cause, so this is not a decision taken lightly. Our focus is wholly on keeping residents safe and staff protected.
We do not have the virus in our homes and we want to keep it that way for as long as possible. Clearly, we have to keep the homes operational, therefore only visits essential to this will be allowed and access to within the homes greatly restricted.
Residents’ spaces will be protected areas.
To further reassure you, we are working closely with all our suppliers and service providers to ensure ongoing access to supplies and we also have stocks of essential items in our warehouse facility. Having all our homes in easy access from Colten
House means we can quickly respond. At this stage I cannot say how long these restrictions will be in place. I will of course keep everyone informed.
All the homes have extensive Wi-Fi capabilities and can support contact through Skype, FaceTime etc. The teams in the homes will endeavour to support residents to stay in contact.
I thank you for your understanding.
As you know, we are all in the most challenging of times due to the spread of coronavirus.
The health, wellbeing and safety of everyone at our homes and our Support Centre – Colten House is and will remain our absolute top priority. The objective is to keep the virus out of our homes for as long as possible, to keep our
residents safe and staff protected. Last week, we began asking relatives and friends of residents to think twice about whether or not a visit is really necessary.
We know how difficult this is for people who just want to spend time with each other. I would like to thank everyone for their patience, understanding and goodwill in helping with our move to minimise non-essential visits at our homes.
We have certainly witnessed a significant drop in the numbers of people coming in.
This week we are also introducing temperature tests for all visitors. We had hoped, for ease of use, to have infrared thermometers available but these have proved impossible to source given national demand. We will continue with our usual
thermometers, which are more accurate. We will ask you to wait in reception while we organise for your temperature to be taken. We have also taken the decision to introduce visiting hours, which reflects the latest guidance from Public
With immediate effect there will be two visiting times a day, 10-12pm and 3-5pm. Please can these be followed. We are also restricting the number of visitors for a resident at any one time to a maximum of two and one would be preferable.
Please can visits, where possible, be held in the resident’s room or a walk in the gardens. It is important to minimise exposure to other residents.
At the same time, I would like to reiterate the current public health advice on self-isolation.
The guidance remains:
By way of reassurance our staff will be adhering to these requirements. I thank you again for your support and understanding. Be reassured that we will continue to monitor and act on public health advice and I will of course update you
in line with any changes to what we are doing.
If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact your Home Manager.
Thank you. Mark Aitchsion, Chief Executive, Colten Care
I would like to take this opportunity to reassure you that Colten Care is doing everything we can to keep our residents, relatives and staff safe from the potential risk of contact with Covid-19, or coronavirus.
Up to now, and fully in line with advice from Public Health England, we have taken a range of steps such as requiring all visitors to our homes to wash their hands immediately on entry. Now, reflecting the changing situation here in the
UK and across the world, we are going further and strengthening our preventative measures.
Effective from today, we ask relatives and friends of residents to think twice about whether a visit is really necessary. If you feel you must visit, please be mindful that for ALL visitors entering the home, in addition to hand washing,
we will require additional procedures to be followed.
At the moment these will be completing a questionnaire to confirm you have no virus symptoms and have not travelled from any affected areas. We are also making arrangements for your temperature to be taken. It is obviously your choice
whether you wish to do these. However, their completion will be mandatory for anyone to enter the home. If you already have any concerns about your own health, we politely ask you not to come. As a further protection, we are restricting
children’s access to our homes, so we request you do not bring any under-16s with you if you visit.
Until further notice, we are also putting on hold all the usual community visits and events we host at our homes and restricting minibus trips for our residents. We have also put in place measures to restrict the visits from our Colten
House Support Staff and external contractors to essential only.
Wherever possible we are also restricting our staff from visiting multiple homes. Strengthening our measures is not a decision we have taken lightly, and we understand the distress it may cause. In due course we may need to take further
steps, we will of course keep all residents, relatives and staff fully informed.
At the moment we consider these steps to be a proportionate approach to keep everyone safe and our homes operating normally and without undue restrictions. This is all about managing a potential risk that could go on for weeks or months.
Please be reassured that we will of course continue to ensure that community healthcare professionals can make medical visits to residents as required.
Our overriding aim is to ensure everyone stays safe and our team members can continue to provide the excellent standard of care our residents and families expect and deserve. In challenging times like these, we want people to be reassured
that Colten Care is a safe haven for the delivery of care. #
We will continue to follow the very best public health advice and update you in line with any changes to what we are doing. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Home Manager.
Thank you in advance for your understanding and co-operation.
Mark Aitchison Chief Executive, Colten Careplease share this with the Home Manager.
if you have any suggestions re what would help make a difference then