View answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19
My family member is a resident in one of your care homes or Extra Care Living schemes - can I visit them?
We have made the difficult but responsible decision to restrict access to our homes to all but the most essential visitors required to either protect the health of our residents, or to ensure that buildings remain safe and essential supplies are delivered.
We will continue to welcome new residents and employees following our strict protocols. For now, this means that we are respectfully asking relatives and loved ones not to visit as well as chiropodists, hairdressers etc.
Where circumstances mean that a visit is essential, such as deteriorating health, then we will plan for a visit. Requests should be made to the Home Manager in these circumstances. If your loved one is either COVID19 positive or symptomatic we will then provide you with PPE and advise you to follow our strict protocols and guidance during and after your visit.
We are incredibly sad to put this measure in place. We know how important contact is for our residents, and we are providing a varied and stimulating range of in-house activities to ensure life in our homes continues to be as engaging as possible. We are also ensuring homes have access to technology to enable residents to continue to connect with their families.
We ask families and friends to support our managers and teams as we all work for the same outcome: the safety and good health of our residents and your loved ones.
Who is deemed to be an essential visitor?
Health professionals, including Local Authority social workers, government bodies that support the work of Public Health and key suppliers will continue to be welcomed into our homes to support our residents. Every visitor will be required to follow our strict protocols.
What do you do if resident displays symptoms of COVID-19?
From the week starting 20th April 2020, we are supporting all residents to stay within their own rooms for their own protection wherever possible. This will be for a minimum period of 14 days and thereafter under constant review in line with government guidance on the spread of the infection. We will write to relatives with more detail on this as the situation develops. We will be working on corridor activities as well as individual activities to support mental and physical wellbeing and our residents will continue to be provided loving care as before but on an individual basis.
If a resident displays COVID-19 symptoms we are supporting them to self-isolate for 14 days and we are providing care whilst wearing the required PPE. As is usual, we will contact the resident’s GP in such cases, and we are following national guidance and contacting the NHS (via NHS 111 service). In situations where two or more residents have symptoms, we are following national guidelines and notifying Public Health England.
Where a resident goes on to be confirmed as having the virus (through a valid test) they will continue to self-isolate for the 14 days and monitor their health supported by the GP.
If an individual’s health deteriorates, we will notify NHS111 or Public Health England in accordance with the guidance, and we will contact the GP and paramedics as required and follow their advice along with the preferences in an individual’s care and life plans.
All homes will be supplied with sufficient PPE for all employee and resident interactions whether or not the home has confirmed or symptomatic cases. This will be for the duration of the potential outbreak, in line with government guidance.
At all of the above stages, we will contact the next of kin/assigned contact of the resident who is either symptomatic or confirmed as having the virus.
We have additional protocols in place to support those individuals who lack capacity and the Trust has its own team of Admiral Nurses who specialise in providing expert emotional support to families of residents living with dementia. If you feel you would benefit from speaking to one of the Admiral Nurses, please contact the Home Manager who can put you in touch with them.
What safeguards do you have in place when a new resident comes into the home?
The latest government guidance is that individuals from hospital will be tested to before discharged to a care home however our protocols are that any new resident coming to the home, as we continue to support the most vulnerable in our communities, will be supported to self-isolate for 14 days and thereafter supported to remain in their rooms wherever possible and we will provide care wearing gloves, aprons and masks for this period.
Are all Homes and Schemes practising social distancing?
All employees are required to follow most recent government guidance on 2m social distancing when not at work or on a break, and in the home where possible following our PPE guidance. All residents are being supported to stay within their own rooms for their own protection wherever possible.
What guidance are you giving to employees who work in your homes?
We have developed strict protocols for those working in our homes. These cover things such as coming to work, managing their own health and wellbeing, uniform, infection control, equipment and supplies and of course how to keep your loved ones happy and engaged during this challenging time.
We are also making sure that our employees are supported by encouraging them to talk to their manager if they have questions or need support. In addition, we have an Employee Assistance Programme which offers confidential and free advice on a range of topics including financial matters and stress management.
Our Chief Executive is issuing regular video communication updates for all employees and has a rolling programme where a number of registered/scheme managers join him via video conferencing to provide support, listen to the most amazing stories where our homes are supporting your loved ones and listen to how else we can provide help and support.
How can I find out if my loved one is OK and keeping busy during this time?
We appreciate this is a concerning time for you and your loved ones. We can assure you that we’re trying to keep life in the home as normal as possible for all our residents whilst ensuring their health and well-being remains our top priority.
We have supplied our homes with iPads so that they can continue to have regular dialogue with you. Please contact your loved one’s home to arrange a video call.
We have a team working to provide residents with engaging activities and if your home has a dedicated Facebook page, they will be keeping you up to date through that forum.
Direct communication may be challenging at times due to how busy our services are, but please be reassured that you will be contacted by the home or scheme should there be any concern regarding your loved one.
Are you testing for COVID-19 in colleagues and residents?
- All symptomatic care residents
- All patients discharged from hospitals before going into care homes
- All social care staff who need a test
The government also announced on 15 April that testing for social care employees will now commence and our Local Authorities have started to communicate how this will work.
We will provide more detailed information on testing in forthcoming updates.
Do you have sufficient PPE supplies?
There has been considerable media coverage recently regarding shortages of PPE within care homes. All our homes and schemes have stocks of PPE that is being used in line with government guidance. These stock levels are monitored rigorously. We have been working tirelessly 7 days per week to build PPE supplies and all our residents/tenants are being supported with PPE.
Do you have enough staff to manage through this period?
We have business continuity arrangements in place in the event any home or scheme were impacted by a reduction in available workforce which to date we have not needed to call on. We have been conducting a proactive and far-reaching recruitment campaign since early this year to ensure we have sufficient employees to cover our homes during these uncertain times. We have been overwhelmed by the response to our campaign, which has been targeted specifically at industries where employees have been extensively furloughed, and we are actively onboarding new colleagues every week.
Will any homes or services be closed or put on hold?
We will do everything in our control to ensure continuity of care to your loved one. If for any reason we felt this was at risk our monitoring would identify this and we would contact our Local Authority and all next of kin/named contacts to discuss our decision making. Moving residents/tenants would be an action of last resort.
Where can I get guidance on paying of fees and charges at this time?
We understand and appreciate that some residents and their families may be experiencing financial hardship because of the spread of COVID-19. Please speak to the Home Manager in the first instance so that we can discuss and agree the most appropriate way forward which will include advising you to contact your Local Authority who have the responsibility to ensure continuity of care.
How can I work for OSJCT as a paid employee or volunteer?
We are committed to providing the highest quality of care for our residents. This is especially important right now.
We are actively recruiting and are keen to welcome applicants from other industries such as retail, travel and hospitality as well as those who have experience of care. To find out more visit our Careers page
Our volunteers contribute so much to the daily life of our residents. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, then visit our volunteers page to find out more and apply