Coronavirus Care Home and Village Visitor Guidance
Augustinian Care, The Lodge Admin Centre St Georges Park, Ditchling Common,
Ditchling, Sussex, RH15 0US
Tel: 01444 259725 www.anh.org.uk
13 May 2020
Dear Family and Friends
I hope this letter continues to find you well. As always thank you for your continued support and patience.
We realise just how difficult it must be not being in direct contact with your loved ones, so with the Government’s announcement on Sunday 10th May stating that people are now able to meet with another member of their family as long as they were outside and maintained the 2m social distancing rule, we have decided that this is sufficient to allow us to try to facilitate meetings between residents and their families. We are currently in the process of looking at ways of making this possible that will still ensure residents, staff and relatives are as safe as possible. We are looking at different ideas and once we have confirmed one of these I will be writing to you again.
As of Tuesday 12th May all three homes have signed up to the new Government led testing portal for social care only, we hope that this will further enhance the testing procedure for both staff and residents. Our staff are now able to be tested the moment they show any signs or if they have been in contact with someone that has tested positive. This is giving us much greater control on our staffing levels and making it safer for all staff and residents alike. I am pleased to say that in all three homes the level of residents tested positive has reduced.
Over the last few weeks I have tried to keep you as informed as much as possible, we have been asked a number of questions, so I thought I would list them with the answers to hopefully give you some more information:
Q. How do you protect your staff from spreading the virus?
A. All our staff practice good hand washing procedures and have the necessary personal protective equipment in line with guidance from Public Health England. We are also following strict infection control measures in all our homes.
Our staff are following government guidance on self-isolating if they, or a family member they are living with, is symptomatic or confirmed with COVID-19.
In addition, we ask our staff not to travel to and from our care homes in their work uniform and they are provided with masks for the journey on our minibuses. We have an in-house laundry service across our care homes, which staff can use for their uniforms in readiness for their next shift.
Q. Has recruitment been put on hold?
A. We welcomed the government’s announcement on Wednesday 15 April 2020 of a recruitment campaign to encourage experienced colleagues to return to social care and attract new colleagues into the sector. We are closely following the government guidance on Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks, and making sure these are in place for all new staff members working in care and clinical roles. We are therefore continuing to recruit.
Q. How are you maintaining nutrition within your homes; is there a steady food supply?
A. Our food supplies have not been impacted across our homes, and orders and deliveries are arriving as normal. All deliveries made to homes follow a robust delivery process all being left outside the home.
Q. Can I see my relative if they are very unwell?
A. In exceptional circumstances, where residents are in the last days of life, our home managers will contact relatives to closely manage visits, whilst taking measures to minimise any spread of infection. Full PPE will be provided.
Q. Are there any activities taking place to keep residents occupied with no external entertainment?
A. Our staff and activity coordinators have programmes of activities that the residents can participate in. We are limiting the group size and offering more one-on-one activities with residents such as walks outside and gardening activities, in line with social distancing measures. Residents are able to communicate with relatives via our Relatives Gateway and by Skype.
Q. What are you doing to support your care home staff?
A. It is really important that everyone at Augustinian Care feels supported. Our free Employees Assistance Programme provides support for physical and mental health concerns, for use by colleagues and their families.
Q. When will I be able to visit my relative again?
A. Unfortunately we are unable to answers this as it will very much depend on the Government Guidance. We are currently looking at ways of enabling relatives to come and see their loved ones in a controlled manner, such as through a window when travel restrictions are lifted.
Q. Will my relative be tested for COVID-19?
A. We now have the facility to have all residents and staff tested whether they have the symptoms or not. Your home manager will contact you regarding anybody being tested.
Your home managers will continue to liaise with you on an individual basis regarding your relative and again thank you for your patients when contacting the homes.
On a slightly lighter note you will be pleased to hear that even our Water Buffalo and Alpacas are keeping to the Social Distancing rules.
Chief Executive Officer