Latest update on the vaccination rollout and visiting at our homes
We were delighted to hear the news over the Christmas period of the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine and most recently the Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine being authorised by the Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). These have been described as a ‘game changer’ in the fight against the pandemic, and for the rollout of the vaccination programme in care homes.
As we’re sure you are aware this is proving much easier to administer logistically than the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and our residents and colleagues are already receiving vaccinations authorised by MHRA, as and when they are called forward. Care home residents and social care workers, are a priority for vaccinations which signals light at the end of the tunnel, for us and we are hopeful that the programme will be completed quickly, helping us to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our residents, colleagues and of course you when you are able to join us again in our Homes.
We are monitoring the progress of vaccinations across our Homes and can share that currently 73% of our residents have already had one dose of the vaccine, and over 49% of our colleagues, and some are on their second dose already. We are extremely proud of our colleagues who are once again doing all that they can to protect residents and one another as the number of those vaccinated increases every day. They continue to step up to every challenge with commitment, compassion and great professionalism.
The vaccination adds another layer of protection in our fight to protect everyone from Coronavirus. However, whilst the national vaccination programme takes its course and takes place in all of our Homes, the rate of Covid-19 community transmission still needs to be carefully managed. At Caring Homes, we are ensuring that all the necessary and appropriate precautions are in place, to protect both our residents and our colleagues.
We continue testing both residents and colleagues on a very regular basis. PCR tests being used every 28 days for residents in England and in line with Government guidance in Scotland, Jersey and the Isle of Man, and every week for colleagues, along with an additional two Lateral Flow Device tests for colleagues every week too. Whilst it is recognised that the Lateral Flow Device tests are not as accurate, in conjunction with the PCR tests which are very accurate, they too represent an added level of information that can help to limit transmission, and we are very supportive of that.
We continue to ensure that all additional essential health professionals and contractors who enter our Homes to support vital care and or maintenance do so with a recent negative test result and we have maintained our health screening checks which include oximeter and temperature checks before entry into any Home.
The safety and wellbeing of your loved ones and our colleagues remains our utmost priority and we continue to do all we can to care for them and protect them by following our robust infection control protocols.
We are conscious that right now the whole of the UK is living within very restricted measures, and whilst the recent Government announcements allowed for window visits, and or garden visits, this is subject to local Public Health sign off. Colleagues in our Homes will be able to share with you what is available as they comply with their specific local Public Health guidance. Unfortunately, for our Homes in Jersey, no visiting is allowed unless this is for a compassionate visit at end of life.
Residents have a full programme of events to enjoy this month which aim to serve cultural and spiritual needs as well as the many awareness days and milestone celebrations. Look out for posts on our Facebook pages to gain an insight into how our residents are keeping well and active including of course the famous Burns Night celebrations on the 25th of January, where some will host a Scottish supper, listen to his famous poems and no doubt enjoy some whisky tasting activities.
There are a number of ways in which you can keep in contact with your loved one including by telephone, Skype, email, Facebook and other social media outlets. We frequently support residents to view any messages sent for their attention, so that they can remain connected with their social networks and we hope you will continue using all the available technology we have on offer to stay in touch whilst these very tight restrictions are in place.
We will continue to do everything we can to keep you updated but please don’t hesitate to contact our Home Managers with your queries and concerns. Our colleagues remain hugely appreciative of your encouragement, support and thanks, as they continue to do their best every day in these extraordinary times and we thank you for your continued patience as we all work towards safe visiting and brighter days.
With our best wishes to you, stay safe and well.