As you know, we are all in the most challenging of times due to the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
25th September 2020
In the three weeks since my last letter much has happened with restrictions now being imposed that are set to take us into the New Year. I am sure we all hope that we do not return to a national lockdown situation. I can reassure that, whatever happens, we are now well versed in how to operate our homes such that staff are protected and residents are kept safe, whilst continuing to ensure that our residents are happy, engaged and able to make the most of life in their homes.
I am pleased to report that Covid-19 testing has increased dramatically, such that during the last 4 weeks over 950 tests have been carried out for our residents and more than 4600 tests for our staff. A massive undertaking, which is going to be with us for a while. Weekly testing is a major factor in facilitating the managing the risks of Covid-19. It enables us to take prompt action, for instance of the residents tested 5 were positive. They were all in one home and they were all asymptomatic and well. Consequently, we immediately put the home into lockdown and have written to all relatives explaining why this course of action was needed. Staff wise only 12 out of the 4600 tests have been positive, all are isolating as per the Government guidance.
At the risk of tempting fate, contrary to the media messages, we have been able to source all the test kits needed and tests are being submitted each week. We have noticed, for some homes, a slight delay in the results being received, but that is all. All homes have a plan for their weekly testing regimes for staff and 4 weekly for residents.
On the matter of visiting, an emotive topic and rightly so for us all. Following my last letter, I know a few relatives raised concerns about my not looking to extend our visiting options. I hope now everyone feels that was the right decision given the restrictions now being placed upon us. However, we are planning how we can evolve visiting and looking ahead at options regarding Christmas. We will be prepared, if/when Government guidance allows.
With regard to visiting option 1, the screen visits, I can confirm that we are happy to allow the number of visitors to increase from 2 up to 4. The need to socially distance is very much down to the visiting group. These visits will remain in their current locations, so with 4 people space may be tight, but it does at least enable wider family/friend interaction.
Back in July I mentioned in one of my letters about the Colten radio show that was being led by our Music and Arts Partner – Fiona Pritchard. Relatives were asked to send in requests to play for loved ones. Over 90 requests later, many videoed, lots of emotion, smiles and great fun we have produced a video capturing some of the highlights, please see the link below. I defy anyone to watch this and not get a tear in their eye.
The power of music - CLICK HERE TO VIEW
Thank you to Fiona and everyone involved in this amazing piece of work.
If that isn’t enough we have also held the judging of the Colten Village Produce show and the winners announced. This has been led by Charles Hubberstey our Head of Gardening along with our Companionship Teams based in the homes. All the homes have been involved and there was a good dose of healthy competition. With 5 compulsory and 9 optional categories there was something for everyone.
I had the pleasure and honour of reviewing all the scrapbook submissions. These showed how each home tackled the categories and most importantly for me reflected the residents’ engagement and enjoyment in the many activities. To say I was blown away by what I saw was an understatement. To try and capture what the homes achieved a short film has been put together, please take 5 minutes to watch it - CLICK HERE TO VIEW
And the winners are:
Across the 3 clusters
New Forest – Linden House
Bournemouth & Poole – The Aldbury
East & West – Braemar Lodge
Congratulations to The Aldbury, they and Linden House typify the spirit of our dementia communities. Well done to everyone and get planning for next year’s show!
The newsletters are also being prepared this week, as always there is much going on in all the homes to share, I hope you enjoy. I started my letter by saying - residents are able to make the most of life in their homes. For me these newsletters and videos showcase how our homes are achieving that objective. I hope you agree.
I can assure you that as we move into Autumn and Winter our residents will continue to partake in interesting activities, enjoy our delicious home cooked foods and the companionship of fellow residents and staff. There are many great things planned across all homes which I will update you on in my future letters.
Chief Executive, Colten Care