As you know, we are all in the most challenging of times due to the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
31st July 2020
As we come to the end of July and the end of the first month of lockdown easing we have seen the Government issue guidance re visiting care homes, impose a non-essential travel ban on Spain and an extension in the symptomatic isolation period from 7-10 days. For me, these just illustrate the uncertain times we are in, the Government’s focus on avoiding a second wave and how rapidly situations change.
In my last
letter I referred to the Government’s announcement of weekly testing of all
care staff. Two weeks on whilst all our homes are registered and we have
systems in place to handle the associated administration, no test kits have
been made available to us. Logistically this scale of testing is I am sure very
challenging. We do continue to test all new admissions and staff can easily
access test sites.
morning’s news re visits to care homes being delayed because of issues with
access to testing kits, further highlights these uncertain times. What I am
outlining below with regard to Phase 2 visiting is totally at the Home
Managers' discretion as to implementation. They are the Registered Manager
with the CQC and each home has its own challenges. So please respect their
appointment to visit remains unchanged from Phase 1. We are keeping visits
restricted to 4 per day, to 1/2hour visits and one every two weeks. Across our
dementia communities the approach will vary slightly, depending on residents’
care needs. The homes will explain the variation to the visiting approach at
the time of visit.
aware that I have taken the decision, after our own extensive risk assessment
and private trialling in a couple of homes, to push on the boundaries of the
Government’s guidelines. Namely visiting will be held within the homes and we
will allow a different person to visit. We are firmly of the view that we want
to leave our gardens as protected spaces for residents and we know how
important it is for residents to be able to see different family members or
friends. An important factor for me is I want Phase 2 visiting to enable ALL
residents to be visited safely, which this achieves. However, in accordance
with the guidelines, we will be adhering to only one visitor allowed to
visit at a time.
I hope you
appreciate these significant steps. We have listened to both residents and
relatives and looked for a safe solution which is in all parties’ best
interests. For those who may be concerned we are going too far too quickly,
please don’t be. The visiting policy is totally at Home Managers discretion, it
is robust and will be closely monitored and enforced.
emphasise that the homes are both excited and cautious of the next phase. They
know how important this is for residents and relatives, but also they do not
want to see all their hard work and achievements to date being undone. I am
sure you are of the same opinion. Phase 2 will be stopped if our guidelines are
obviously very aware that aside from the gardens, these last 5 months residents
have not been outside of the homes, unless on an essential visit. We are
currently working with the CQC to agree a safe way for residents, supported by
a team member, to go for a walk and where residents can be risk assessed to go
out themselves. We hope to be able to implement this later in August. It’s
about taking measured steps forward.
of other news, Companionship wise as ever a busy month ahead:
Village Produce Show:
entries are coming in thick and fast and it is clear to see both the residents’
engagement and their competitive spirit!
submitting their entries, the deadline for this is 31st July, the images will
then be judged and the winner will be announced on World Photography Day on the
August – All homes will be celebrating with a cuppa and homemade cakes.
thanks for continuing to send in compliments and support for the teams - they
really do appreciate it and I enjoy reading them!
Chief Executive, Colten Care