Latest update: 8 January
Update for family and friends
I am sure, like us, you have been reading and watching with concern as the new variant of COVID-19 takes hold across the country. It is spreading much more quickly than the previous strain as we know that it has a 50 to 70 per cent higher transmission rate.
Colleagues, residents, and their families have done a fantastic job in slowing the spread of the virus and have pulled together for the safety and wellbeing of all in our homes. However, we have seen a large increase of positive cases among both residents and colleagues across our homes, some of whom are symptomatic.
As of this morning we have seen a doubling in the number of homes that have cases since 7 December 2020. Homes with multiple positive tests recorded are not allowed to accept visitors due to Government regulation.
Vaccinations have been increasing across our homes and more than 1700 vaccinations have been given to colleagues and residents. This presents a clear path forward towards stopping the spread of the virus. GPs are actively contacting our homes to arrange vaccinations and we want to thank you for your help in supporting loved ones in securing consent for the vaccine. Seeing the positive way that so many of our residents have approached the vaccine – which you can see on our Facebook posts – has shown so much hope for the immediate future. Per the Government’s commitment, we expect to have the majority of residents and employees vaccinated by the middle of February
However, in the meantime responding to this current variant is putting a huge strain on our colleagues as any care home worker who records a positive result cannot return to work for 10 days. To ensure that we continue to be able to offer the best care for residents in the homes, in addition to those closed due to Government regulation we have reluctantly decided to suspend visiting to our other remaining homes. This means that 100% of our time and capacity is directed to providing loving care, activities and support to your loved one. This decision will be reviewed in two weeks.
We will, of course, continue to facilitate visits for residents receiving end of life care. Two individuals from the same household can visit at the same time. Family and loved ones from other households can also visit, but these visits must be on separate occasions and not mixing different households.
We will also enable all residents to have virtual visits and have invested in many more iPads to ensure that the frequency of these can be increased.
Please do understand that this decision has not been taken lightly and we have been committed to enabling visits to the best of our ability. However, our key focus must be caring for those in the homes and preventing this awful virus from spreading even further.
We would ask that you join us in continuing your support of our care staff through these unprecedented and challenging times. Please do access the COVID-19 vaccination as soon as it is available to you as this is a great path for increasing the safety of yourselves and your loved ones.
Every time we prevent infection, we potentially avoid the need for NHS care for a resident or colleague. In this moment our NHS colleagues are perhaps experiencing the most difficult time in the history of the service and we need to do all we can to lessen the burden on them.
We want to express our solidarity and respect for our fellow frontline heroes in hospitals, GP practices, and the community at this most difficult of times.
The vast majority of the visiting experiences have been welcomed and supportive to our residents, employees and family members however we have had a small minority of cases where our employees have not been treated with the respect they deserve especially at such a busy and challenging time.
We would like to politely remind all visitors of the importance to treat our employees and others with respect when visiting our homes/sites. We all work for the same outcome: the safety and good health of our residents and your loved ones.
All residents, employees and visitors have the right to be treated with respect and to feel safe and we have therefore introduced a Visitor Charter which can be found here.