07 June 2020
We hope you are keeping safe and well.
I am writing this letter to outline the measures we are taking to keep everyone at Sussex House as safe as possible
The health, safety and wellbeing of our residents and staff are always our top priorities and we are continuing with our robust and comprehensive contingency plans to respond to the coronavirus outbreak in the UK. Our plans will be kept under regular review and updated as advised by the public health authorities.
We are playing our part in the wider care sector and supporting the NHS where possible. We are currently still taking admissions into our Care Home for those that need care but want to assure you that when we are admitting new residents and patients from the community, we have clear protocols in place to ensure that if they haven’t been tested they will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19, and if it is appropriate for them to move in, they will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days. In line with government guidance, any hospital admission or readmission has to be tested before being accepted into our care. We have clear protocols in place depending on the outcome of the test, to ensure the safety of all our residents.
It is important to ensure that we keep you and your loved ones as safe as possible as we all know that this virus is highly contagious. We will still ensure that vital medical visits are made ensuring that a strict protocol is followed by washing hands on entering and we will be asking all visitors to ensure they have no symptoms and will be taking their temperature.
To support our residents, patients and staff during this period of uncertainty with coronavirus COVID-19, we are asking for your help and support. We are asking that we have no visitors, except healthcare professionals but instead to keep in contact by Skype, the Relatives Gateway, video calls or telephone as we know how important it is to stay in touch.
Our Care Home is set up for video calling to enable you to keep in touch and we are confident that our staff are doing all they can to ensure that life within the home remains as comfortable and sociable as possible as we support our residents by delivering interactive activities, whilst practicing physical distancing.
We know how important it is to you to be able to visit, and physically see how your loved one is, and we know that many of you are missing this tremendously. Please be reassured that we are working hard to see how we can balance this with the safety of our residents, as well as ensuring our staff are protected as much as possible.
We are conscious that as of this week the Government has opened up slightly and are allowing us to visit others in private gardens, although there is no change in guidance for visiting inside care homes. In the meantime, we are looking at how we can have a phased approach that safely enables you to visit your loved one living in the home. Please bear with us as we do the best we can to align with Government guidelines and also support your needs, and we will, keep t you updated on our plans. In the meantime please continue to support us by not visiting, and continue to use the video calling service we have.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org and please feel free to call the home if you would like to speak to your loved one.
If you are required to make an essential visit to the Care Home, which is only by appointment or invite and subject to a risk assessment, it is important that you do so safely and in a way that minimises the risk of infection to our residents and staff. Therefore, before visiting and whilst on site, please follow this simple guidance:
Our staff are all trained in infection control and are vigilant to the symptoms of COVID-19. We have a clear process should a resident or member of staff show such symptoms and, to date, all of our staff have been brilliant in following this.
If a resident is showing symptoms of COVID-19, staff will follow medical advice and the resident will be cared for using stringent infection control practices, and with the appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) until we are confident that they are not contagious. Please be reassured that our staff are trained in this practice, and we are confident that the right procedures will be followed to keep everyone as safe and well as possible.
We have been fortunate so far not to have had an outbreak in our Care Home.
Should our home be impacted by COVID-19 a letter will be sent to you informing you that the home has been impacted by a case of COVID-19, the letter will outline what we are doing to keep residents and patients as safe and well as possible. If we need to contact you about your loved one, we will call and discuss the situation with you personally.
Rest assure that contingency plans are in place should the Care Home be impacted by a case of COVID-19.
We are very aware that an important part of living in a Care Home is being able to socialise and enjoy physical, mental and spiritual activity that is vital for overall wellbeing. As you are aware we have stopped external visits, and therefore some of the activities that happen through external provision are not happening, and outings are not taking place. Instead we have weekly activity plans in our homes with new ways of keeping everyone active, whilst ensuring that the group activities are smaller and adhering to physical distancing advice.
We also want to reassure you that we have been working with our suppliers to ensure that food provision is plentiful and that our residents, your loved ones, will continue to be able to enjoy the food and drink that we offer. Should the situation change we have contingency plans with suppliers for simplified menus but we are not in this position currently.
Our staff are ordinary people, but doing extraordinary things day in and day out during these very anxious times. I am very humbled and extremely proud of them. They are doing an amazing job in very difficult circumstances.to ensure you and your loved ones are kept safe.
We are proud to say that we are surrounded by a professional, skilled, dedicated, and compassionate team who are willing to put the care of our residents first. We have been truly humbled by seeing everyone work together using their expertise, and positive attitude to do the right thing.
In order to ensure that our staff have the support they need to continue their great work we have been listening to understand how the impact of COVID-19 is affecting their lives.
We are ensuring that the care that we give is maintained to the standard that we all expect. We have developed a robust assurance system involving a detailed care audit, including infection control, health and safety and a range of other key care metrics that will be undertaken by key personnel with oversight by the Registered Manager, Consultant and the Proprietor. Alongside this we are still having resident and staff meetings to ensure that the residents and staff are heard, and are able to feedback on how they are feeling.
Please be assured that, whilst there is always more that can be done, we feel that as a Care Home provider we are more fortunate than others in that we have a robust supply chain of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) in place, which has been supplemented in small pockets by Government supply and Local Resilience Forums, and our staff are using this in accordance with the public health authority guidance. As we have previously mentioned the use of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) guidance has been changing, and, as always, we have moved quickly to deliver this. All of our staff will now be wearing face masks, aprons and gloves as a minimum, even though we currently don’t have any residents with COVID-19, or anyone displaying any of the symptoms related to it. We remain confident in our supplies of this and that our Care Home has what it needs.
We are really pleased to tell you that we have now received home testing kits and that the staff and residents have been tested and results confirmed as negative. This is a huge step forward, and will go a long way to helping us protect our residents and staff going forward. Testing is hugely important to help us understand the actions we need to take in managing our Care Home even more safely and effectively.
If you have any questions or thoughts regarding this letter please do not hesitate to contact me on 01472 694 574.