30 September 2020
Dear Sir/ Madam
Re: An update on our response to Covid-19
Since we began to welcome visitors back into our Homes and establish our regular testing regime, we have closely monitored the impact of these steps, and believe therefore it would now be an appropriate time to provide you an update on general progress in relation to our continued response to Covid-19.
As you are aware, our main priority throughout the Pandemic has been the ongoing protection of our residents and our colleagues and the continuity of our high-quality care. Caring Homes’ Steering Group has throughout these past seven months implemented some very robust procedures to attempt to quell the impact of Covid-19 on our Homes. All our Managers and colleagues have been instrumental in ensuring a coordinated and appropriate response to the protection of our residents, themselves, and their colleagues. We have managed to quell the impact of the virus in our Homes because of their diligence and professionalism.
As time has progressed, we have been able to lift some, but not all, of our original restrictions on visits to our Homes. We have adopted a phased approach to the lifting of restrictions, particularly where the restrictions involve the general community having direct contact with our Homes. It is with good reason we have adopted a phased approach.
Since the Pandemic was announced I have been collating daily statistics on the number of new UK cases. When one looks at the data for April and May 2020, there were many new cases of Covid-19 in the UK being reported during those months and the data shows a great deal of instability. By this time, we had already implemented a number of policies for instance; not permitting admissions to our Homes unless a potential resident was able to evidence a negative Covid-19 Test result in conjunction with us implementing a total restriction on visits.
By July 2020, the data showed much fewer cases and a degree of stability which allowed us to lift some of our restrictions although we have maintained our stance, often against pressure, to require a negative test result of any potential resident prior to admission. In August 2020, what we saw was a slight rise in UK cases and also a degree of some instability again and now in September 2020, cases have risen further, and instability continues.
I know that a few relatives have asked why we have not lifted some of our present visiting restrictions. The reason is because of the rise of cases in the UK and the possible impact this could have on our residents and colleagues alongside the need to also adhere when required to both local and national advice and guidance. We do need to maintain our focus and think very carefully before lifting any further restrictions at the moment. We need to consider things very carefully before reviewing our current approach to the Pandemic and only lift further restrictions when we believe it is safe to do so. Our focus must be the ongoing safety and wellbeing of our residents, colleagues and indeed you when you visit.
We remain committed to protecting the health and wellbeing of residents and our colleagues through maintaining our robust infection control protocols, ensuring a good supply of PPE for the winter months, and regular testing of both colleagues and residents, which after a brief challenge in August is back on track.
With additional technologies we are also able to provide enhanced wellbeing programmes and small socially distanced group events, and we are helping residents to make the most of our excellent hospitality teams, their skills, and the outdoors. We can offer a range of technologies to help you stay in touch and facilitate virtual visits by health and social care professionals along with pre-bookable socially distanced visiting options.
As summer comes to an end and the winter months approach we are reviewing how we can ensure that visiting continues to be possible whilst balancing robust infection control measures and government guidance and are preparing to support the national influenza campaign which we will update you on more fully in the next few weeks.
I am sure you will join me when I thank our colleagues who have worked tirelessly in the last few months to provide exceptional levels of care under challenging circumstances. I am proud to say that at Caring Homes I am surrounded by professional, skilled, dedicated, and compassionate colleagues who are willing to put the care of our residents first.
Many of our Homes have received cards, gifts and other messages of support which have been invaluable in lifting morale and motivating our teams to continue working through these challenging times. Your kindness and generosity has and continues to be greatly appreciated.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, personally for your support of our Homes and our colleagues over the last few months and once I am confident that we can lift further restrictions without significantly increasing risk, I will update you again.