Re: Caring Homes and the UK Coronavirus outbreak – Update
Following on from our previous letter of the 3rd April 2020, from our Chairman Michael Medlicott we would like to update you of the key steps we have taken to ensure the continued safety and wellbeing of our residents and colleagues which is paramount.
Since the outbreak our Steering Group has continuously monitored all Government, Public Health and devolved Government guidance and advice. There have been a considerable number of updates and amendments throughout and the Steering Group has reviewed each new document, then made adjustments to our own Company protocols and guidance ensuring that they remain at all times robust, meeting, and in many key areas exceeding, guidance from Governments both in their measures and the speed at which they have been put in place.
It is this attention to detail and commitment to maintaining the safety of our residents and colleagues that has seen us implement some of the most stringent admissions policies and health screening for resident’s pre-admission from hospital and from home of any care provider. Those measures put in place include not admitting anyone to any of our Homes who is testing positive for COVID-19 and ensuring that we do not admit unless a person has been tested negative for the virus as close to admission as possible. This means within hours not days.
We have come under increasing pressure to admit patients from hospitals without such assurances and we want to assure you that we remain determined in our present stance of not accepting any resident who has not been swabbed negatively for COVID-19 and furthermore, we will not accept any resident whose swab was taken some time before the discharge date rather than immediately prior to it. In addition, any new resident must also agree to self-isolating within the Home for 14 days upon admission and remain symptom free in that period before being permitted to use any additional facilities within the home.
We have had occasions where GP’s have asked that DNAR status is reviewed for residents and Caring Homes has maintained the stance throughout that decisions made by residents prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic remain valid. All of our residents have Advanced Care Plans in place which are regularly reviewed, and the residents wishes in relation to future hospitalisation, if their condition deteriorates, will be respected.
In the media over the last few days you will have heard much spoken about the availability of testing for residents and staff in Care Homes, we welcome this move by the Government and it is our strong belief that all residents and colleagues, regardless of whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic are tested. This for us is critical in enabling us to overcome this pandemic and the impact on our residents, colleagues and you, their loved ones.
You may have also heard the many news features about personal protective equipment (PPE). We appreciate coverage of this nature will cause anxiety. We totally understand your concerns at this time and want to reassure you that we have put robust measures into place to try and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our Homes. Although we have followed National Guidance, we have also taken additional measures as we believe the safety of our residents and our colleagues is paramount.
Our colleagues are trained in infection control and we have ensured they have appropriate equipment in place to help prevent the spread of the virus, proactively sourcing as an organisation significant amounts of PPE when not supplied by the Governments. We have also ensured that all training continues remotely and through virtual technology and that all colleagues are able to access training and wellbeing support at home 24/7 as well as in the workplace.
Whilst residents are unable to receive visits from family and friends, we have implemented an enhanced wellbeing programme supported by our in-house activities’ teams, which include the use of technology and virtual activities enabled through smart TVs, Amazon firesticks, Google Chrome sticks, iPads and smartphones. Sessions include baking, gardening, arts and crafts, singing, exercising, religious events and enjoying the fresh air in many of our large landscaped gardens.
Please do maintain your contact with the Home and by all means do not hesitate to pick up the phone and speak to the Manager or our colleagues should you have any worries.
We remain committed to working collaboratively with the NHS, but such collaborative working needs to be measured against the possible risk to the existing residents and colleagues. We believe that the ongoing safety and welfare of our existing residents and our colleagues remains paramount when making decisions about future admissions.
Our priority is to support and protect our residents, to support you as their closest friends and relatives, and to support our courageous and committed colleagues.
On behalf of all of us at Caring Homes, stay safe and well.
CEO, Caring Homes
Managing Director, Caring Homes