Covid-19 Updates

Download Infection Control Assurance

We are open for admissions

New residents can use our designated, safe admission suites and benefit from a personalised wellbeing plan during their initial 14 days. We are managing visits and are routinely testing everyone.

Most of our homes can offer virtual tours from the comfort of your home. Search for your local home to find out more.

Visiting update

We are pleased to announce that we have now started garden visits, window visits and internal visits in many of our Homes. We have risk assessed every one of our Homes to determine whether they are appropriately prepared for ensuring safety during visits and have been able to determine that many of our Homes, where they have been totally free or free of Covid-19 for 14+ days (28+ days in Scotland) are able to welcome visitors. Please contact your Home Manager to discuss how you might book to visit your loved one.

It is important to note in relation to visits that due to the high risk of Covid-19 and the affect it can have particularly on persons who are elderly or persons who have underlying conditions, any visits will need to happen in a controlled and organised manner and keep in mind three key principles:

  • The safety of residents, their visitors, and colleagues
  • The Shielding of our most vulnerable residents
  • Minimising the risk of infection

See Our Visitor Guides for England and for Scotland

Testing and admissions update

To support our new visiting arrangements and ensure we are all kept safe as we commence garden visits we have now put in place a system of regular retesting in England for both residents and our colleagues. The key aim of the regular testing is to continue to minimise the risk of infection.

Many of you may have seen in the media recently that the Government have faced challenges in supplying sufficient numbers of test kits to Care Homes in England to complete the regular testing of colleagues and residents.

Whilst we too at Caring Homes are experiencing a pause on delivery of test kits from the Government we are in a fortunate position of having a surplus number of kits which has allowed us to test once already during August and we will do another complete round in August including our residents at the end of the month. Although it is not possible to test weekly as per our desired frequency we have been able to commit to fortnightly so that we remain as vigilant as is possible to the transmission of the virus and maintain visits with loved ones, whilst we wait for the Government to get back on track with their programme.

We would like to assure colleagues, residents and relatives that we are not using any Randox Test Kits which were withdrawn by the Government and that we are committed to keeping everyone safe and maintaining our robust infection prevention standards.

At Caring Homes we are frequently updating our policies and procedures in line with Government and Public Health advice and keeping our residents, relatives and stakeholders fully informed. The latest changes are fully detailed in the Q&A and latest announcement sections below and include:

  • Routinely re-testing residents to ensure the most up to date picture of our Homes Covid-19 status
  • Letters to our residents and relatives keeping them informed of our progress and plans
  • Communication with our health and social care stakeholders from Managing Director Tracey Fletcher-Ray

Please speak to your Home Manager for further information.

Your questions answered

We understand that this is a worrying time for you and your family. Here are some of the frequently asked questions we have received. Of course if you have further questions, please get in touch with your Home Manager or contact us directly.

When can we start to visit?

We have risk assessed every one of our Homes to determine whether they are appropriately prepared for ensuring safety during visits. We have been able to determine that many of our Homes, where they have been totally free or free of Covid-19 for 14+ days (28+ days in Scotland) are able to commence visits. Please contact your Home Manager to discuss whether they are ready for visits to begin and how you might book to visit your loved one.

We will apply a phased approach that safely enables you to visit your loved one and will continue to align our policies with Government guidelines, as and when this is made available. Our Homes in Jersey and the Isle of Man have begun visits under strict protocols following Government guidance and our Homes in Scotland are now using our phased approach for visits on a Home by Home basis if and only when all conditions articulated by the Scottish Government have been met.

It is important to note in relation to visits that due to the high risk of Covid-19 and the affect it can have particularly on persons who are elderly or persons who have underlying conditions, any visits will need to happen in a controlled and organised manner and keep in mind three key principles:

  • The safety of residents, their visitors, and colleagues
  • The Shielding of our most vulnerable residents
  • Minimising the risk of infection

How will the visits look?

We will be taking a measured approach to bringing visitors back, decided on a Home by Home, resident by resident basis and we will be able to adjust these measures further in the future in line with guidance and the progress of the virus.

We have had to put into place a number of strict protocols to allow visits to go ahead safely and will ask for your support with these.

Initially all visits will need to be booked 24 hours in advance with the Home Manager, to enable the number of visitors to be kept within sensible limits. Please don’t turn up unannounced.

When we do begin to welcome visitors, the first visit will be allowed for just 30 minutes as we know a lot of people will want to visit. There is quite a lot of preparation involved in every visit, before you arrive and once you have left. We will stagger visits in order to ensure social distancing and want to give everyone the chance to visit.

Visits will be offered in allocated spaces and supervised by our care Home colleagues who will be wearing PPE, to ensure social distancing and infection control measures are observed. Entries will be made in the resident’s notes following the visit.

As this is a developing situation, we will aim to manage in the best interests of all. We really want to see you back visiting the Home and your relatives again. If for any reason the Home Manager feels it would be unwise, they will explain the reasons for their decision to you.

Can we visit loved ones through the window, or can they come to the window in the back garden?

As visits commence in many of our Homes a window visits may be available, you should speak with the Home Manager to discuss this option more fully. Any visits will need to be arranged and our protocols need to be adhered to in order to minimise the risk of Covid-19 to visitors, residents and colleagues.

What do we need to do when visits go ahead for my loved one who is shielding?

We will need to put into place special measures for residents who are shielding. This may include ensuring the visit is just a window visit at the present time.

What is your admissions policy at the moment?

We are welcoming new residents into areas of our Homes designated as admission suites. Ask us about our restricted visitor policy and regular routine testing for residents, visitors and teams to give you peace of mind.

We continue to not admit anyone with a positive test result for Covid-19, nor are we admitting anyone showing symptoms. We insist that any potential admission has been swabbed and gained a negative result for Covid-19 as close to potential admission date as possible. Local Authorities, Hospital Assessors and Discharge Teams are working with us to ensure this cannot occur.

We have very robust and stringent clinical screening processes in place, to determine whether we will admit a new Resident and we are in full discussions with Public Health, Local Authorities and CCG’s on a case by case basis to identify how we can support people needing care without placing our existing Residents and Colleagues at risk.

Before admitting any new residents there are a number of factors which influence our decision including but not limited to;

  • All Government social distancing rules must have been followed by the potential resident if being admitted from Home
  • The resident is not living in a household where others are symptomatic or confirmed positive for Covid-19.
  • If being admitted from hospital the residents must have tested negative for Covid-19 within the last 24 hours, preferably immediately prior to discharge
  • All the criteria set within our admissions screening documentation must be met
  • 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 want to assure you that the safety and wellbeing of our Residents and Colleagues is always our top priority.

How are Caring Homes protecting Residents and Colleagues?

Please be assured that Caring Homes is treating the Covid-19 pandemic extremely seriously and comprehensive contingency plans are in place for all of our Homes.

It is important to bear in mind that every year Caring Homes prepares to respond to infectious diseases, including a severe flu outbreak, and therefore, whilst this illness is new, it is very much business as usual for how we safeguard the health of our Residents and Colleagues.

All Home Managers and Colleagues are well informed and familiar with the steps we are taking and how they can help prevent the spread of infection. This includes establishing hand washing stations in the reception areas of all Homes, installing additional prominent signage about handwashing, and completing the infection control training modules through our digital learning platform.

Channels of communication are in place to ensure the latest guidance and support is available 24/7 to each Home and we have implemented comprehensive wellbeing programmes and support for Residents and Colleagues.

We continue to source supplies of all the necessary protective clothing and equipment and have been advised there will be more provided via the Department of Health and Social Care should we require it.

What are Caring Homes doing in response to the coronavirus outbreak?

Back in March we set up a Coronavirus Steering Group, which out Managing Director Tracey Fletcher-Ray, CEO Paul Jeffery and other members of the senior leadership team are part of. The group meets frequently (3 times a week) to ensure we are reacting to events in our Homes and responding to the latest guidance from local authorities and Government.

Every Steering Group call is followed by a conference call with Managers to keep them fully up to date. We are working hard to ensure we offer peace of mind as well as support during this unprecedented time.

How can I contact my relative at this time?

There are a number of ways in which you can keep in contact with your loved one and in touch with life at our Homes – by telephone, Skype, email, Facebook and other social media outlets.

We are supporting our Residents to view any messages you send over. We would love to encourage relatives, friends and members of the local community to stay in contact and we hope you will in the main take to using technology to get your messages through so that we can maintain the highest standards of hygiene and protection.

How will you support resident’s wellbeing during this emergency period?

We have designed our own unique wellbeing response to the virus with several projects and initiatives underway to support our residents’ wellbeing during this period of restricted visiting.

We have increased our use of technology across the Homes – all Homes now have a smartphone allowing for WhatsApp and Skype connectivity with relatives outside of the Home. In addition, all Homes now have SMART TV connectivity enabling virtual and digital activities to take place. Some of the activities taking place across our Homes include: Armchair travel, virtual Church services, virtual pet shows, create for COVID and virtual concerts such as Andrea Bocelli’s Music for Hope.

We have also launched our Regional Wellbeing Ambassador scheme, creating a support network between the Homes with a dedicated Regional Wellbeing Ambassador appointed per region to help support and embed our Wellbeing strategy throughout this period and beyond.

Furthermore, all Homes receive Caring Homes Wellbeing Communication Packs with plenty of access to suggested resources for activities in isolation, following social distancing measures and also offering 1:1 personalised wellbeing support. Included in the packs are also activities beneficial to clients living with dementia and those in self-isolation as well as a link to the Alzheimer’s Society’s Talking Point online forum. If you’d like to get involved with any of our virtual activities – please do get in touch outreach@caringHomes.org

What happens if a resident gets coronavirus?

The health of our Residents is our utmost priority and in addition to all normal clinical observations and practices we are well prepared to support a Resident should they become unwell and or display any symptoms associated with coronavirus.

We have access to medical professionals and are working with local health organisations, GPs and Hospitals, all following the same guidelines, to ensure the highest standard of care is provided to Residents.

Should a Resident become extremely unwell we follow all the guidelines and involve medical professionals. In the case of suspected Covid-19 this may mean the Resident being admitted to hospital.

I’ve heard stories that certain people will not be prioritised for a hospital bed. What are your plans for your colleagues and residents?

Capacity at local Hospitals is no longer an issue however, we understand your anxiety about the Hospital bed situation if a person deteriorates. The decisions which residents and relatives discussed prior to this virus coming to the forefront remain valid. There is no need in our view to change our criteria in relation to Hospital admissions or to review current care plan documentation in relation to decisions regarding the same. Where a resident has stated that they wish to undergo hospital admission if their conditions deteriorates, or if a relative has expressed this wish on their loved one’s behalf, we shall pursue the fact that such an admission should go ahead.

Can you tell me whether your colleagues have enough equipment such as gloves and masks?

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.

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. We have also ensured that all training continues remotely and through virtual technology and that all colleagues are able to access training at Home 24/7 as well as in the workplace.

Has Caring Homes tested Colleagues and Residents for the virus?

We have completed the testing of all colleagues and residents across our 69 Homes. We are now participating in the next Government pilot programme which will mean that residents are tested monthly and colleagues are tested each week in addition to any additional testing following the onset of symptoms with 14-day periods of self-isolation adhered to wherever necessary.

We have been keeping accurate records to show the numbers of positive tests and of those self-isolating or with symptoms at our Homes. We realise a swab test is only a snapshot in time as we focus on infection control procedures including advice regarding social distancing and the correct use of PPE. We have always maintained strict admissions protocols, and at Caring Homes these remain in place.

It is important to bear in mind that every year Caring Homes prepares to respond to infectious diseases, including a severe flu outbreak, and therefore, whilst this illness is new, it is very much business as usual for how we safeguard the health of our Residents and Colleagues.

How often will Caring Homes be retesting residents for the virus?

At Caring Homes, the comfort and safety of our Residents is always our top priority and we will be retesting Residents monthly under a new Government pilot for a number of reasons. Although the test itself should not be painful, it can be uncomfortable. It can also be quite distressing for some Residents, particularly those who may be unable to understand the reasons for the test being undertaken.

Although the test can be carried out at our Homes by individuals in the general population, there are potential hazards with completing the test for those living with dementia or confusion and therefore they need to be completed by someone experienced and done so extremely carefully as well as compassionately. As time progresses and new, less invasive, ways of identifying those with a positive Covid-19 status are available, we may increase the frequency of tests for Residents. If you have any questions about the test itself please speak to your Home Manager.

It should also be noted that a swab test is only a snapshot in time, it gives an indication of an individual’s Covid-19 status at the time the swab was taken. The best methods to lower the risk of Covid-19 in any Home is by ensuring there are strict admission criteria, isolation of new residents, appropriate infection control and correct use of PPE. At Caring Homes, we have all of these in place.

How can a resident self-isolate at your Home?

Many of our Residents have en-suite rooms and can therefore elect to self-isolate in their rooms if they wish to and we are able to provide the essential contact if that is what they prefer. Many of our Homes now have a dedicated area, an Admissions Suite, to allow residents to isolate when they first arrive with us, or if they should wish to. In these areas social distancing can be strictly observed, without them having to stay in their room.

What can we do as family members to help Homes at the moment?

Many thanks for asking if there is anything you can do as a family to help the Home in anyway. All we ask is for your continual support and as soon as we can lift and or ease the visiting restrictions, we will do. 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 the colleagues should you have any worries.

Useful Resources

Here are some additional resources where you can find further information and the latest Government and NHS advice.

If you do not have symptoms and are looking for general information on the Novel coronavirus (Covid-19), a free NHS helpline has been set up on
0800 028 2816.

The helpline is open:

Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 10.00pm

Saturday and Sunday, 9.00am to 5.00pm

Gov.uk website
www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

NHS website
www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

NHS 24 website (Scotland Only)
www.nhs24.scot/

NHS Helpline Number
0800 028 2816

The helpline is open:

Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 10.00pm

Saturday and Sunday, 9.00am to 5.00pm

Handwashing Advice
www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/best-way-to-wash-your-hands/

Advice for Travellers
www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/advice-for-travellers/

Healthcare professionals

During this unprecedented time, we have taken on-board the latest public health and Government advice to enable our care homes to continue admitting elderly and frail people safely from home and hospitals safely. We use the discharge to assess model (D2A) to provide the right support in the right way at the right time. We share our bed availability via the NHS Capacity Tracker and the information is updated daily.

Any questions?
Call us free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Last year we helped over 5,000 families find the right care with free advice on anything from funding care to finding the right home and moving in.

We can help with advice on paying for care and how funding works. We can check availability in all of our homes and send you the latest brochure. If you'd like to meet our Home Manager, we'll book an appointment at a time to suit you.

0808 169 8661 Freephone
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Source: https://www.caringhomes.org/coronavirus-covid-19-and-caring-homes/ Find out more about Recite Me Last updated: 25/09/2020 22:30:21