Latest update: 14th April 2020
A letter from Dan Hayes, Chief Executive of The Orders of St John Care Trust
Updated Tuesday 14th April 2020
Dear family member or friend
I am sure you are anxious due to being apart from your loved one at this unprecedented time, but I wanted to write to you to reassure you that our residents, your loved ones, continue to be at the heart of all of our actions.
Our teams are working tirelessly to keep residents safe and as happy as can be, and our organisation is influencing actions at a national level and working hard to ensure that social care gets the help that it needs during the crisis.
You may have seen in the media that some care homes now have positive occurrences of COVID19 in their homes. Just as with our wider communities, we have to accept that COVID19 will reach far and wide, and of course we have to be mindful that the group of individuals we care for are particularly vulnerable to this kind of infection. With this in mind we also have to be totally committed to minimising the effect and spread of the virus in our services, and I can assure you that we are doing just that.
Currently, The Orders of St John Care Trust has had a number of confirmed cases across our 69 homes and 15 Extra Care Housing Schemes, and we expect to have symptomatic individuals living with us in the coming months ahead.
To offer as much reassurance as possible, I am writing to you to share the current protocols in place at the time of writing.
We will be moving to a position where we plan to support all residents to stay within their own rooms for their own protection wherever possible and this will be happening in homes over the coming days. 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 you again in the coming days with more detail on this.
As a minimum however if a resident displays COVID19 symptoms we are supporting them to self-isolate for 14 days and we are providing care whilst wearing gloves, aprons and masks where this is required. As is usual, we will contact the 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) we will continue to self-isolate for the 14 days and monitor their health supported by the GP.
Where an individual’s health deteriorates, we will notify NHS111 or Public Health England in accordance with the guidance, and we will call the GP and paramedics as required and follow their advice along with the preferences in an individual’s care and life plans.
At all of the above stages, we will contact the next of kin/assigned contact of the resident that is either symptomatic or confirmed as having the virus.
Where a home has two or more confirmed or suspected cases, whether resident or employee, then we will be planning to supply the home with sufficient PPE for all employee and resident interactions no matter whether confirmed or symptomatic for the duration of the potential outbreak in line with government guidance.
You may be concerned about our PPE supplies and I can share that we have a dedicated procurement team focusing on this daily and have regular exchanges with our Local Authority partners, Local Resilience Forums and the National Supply Distribution Line as well as key suppliers and we are ramping up stock levels whenever and wherever that supply is made available.
Where a new resident comes to the home, as we continue to support the most vulnerable, our policy is to support them to self-isolate for 14 days and we will provide care wearing gloves, aprons and masks for this period.
We have additional protocols in place to support those individuals who lack capacity.
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 every home with an iPad so that they can continue to have regular dialogue with you, and a second iPad is on its way if it hasn’t arrived already. We will continue to look to provide more activities in the coming weeks.
If your home has a dedicated Facebook page, they will be keeping you up to date with their activities through that forum.
Direct communication with your loved one 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 they develop symptoms of the virus.
We will update our website regularly and where relevant endeavour to issue this as hard copy in the days thereafter noting how busy our home teams are. It would be helpful in the days ahead if you are able to share with the home team if you require a hard copy so that wherever we can we use our website as the main mode of communication at a Trust level.
These are unprecedented times, and we, like the rest of the country, are expecting to deal with sad circumstances at times, but we are totally committed to the loving care of all of our residents and colleagues throughout this intense period.
If you wish to view further information for visitors, please click on this link to take you to our visitor information news page.