Latest update: w/c 19th October
Latest update for family and friends
Dear family member/loved one,
I would like to begin by thanking you for your support during 2020. This global pandemic has been the greatest challenge modern social care has faced and the kind words and actions of our residents’ families and friends have been of enormous help to colleagues across the Trust.
We know that winter provides an extra challenge when faced with a virus and, since summer ended, we have already seen that numbers of positive diagnoses of Covid-19 are rising across England. We must consider the potential for this trend to continue and, as usual, prepare in the most thorough manner that we can. We must also be vigilant of other viruses which see a spike in cases during winter months, and I would like to take this opportunity to remind you how important it is that all of our residents take up the winter flu vaccination. We work closely with GPs and local Pharmacists to organise for them to attend our homes and so we would encourage you to discuss this with your loved ones and encourage them to have the vaccination in order that we can keep everyone as safe as we can.
I would like to explain some of the actions we are taking to keep residents and colleagues as safe as possible for now and in the future and then outline current visiting protocols.
We have significantly limited movement between care homes of both our own colleagues and private contractors, as well as limiting colleagues working in other settings. We are confident that this has contributed significantly to minimising cases and reducing the risk of spread. This has, however, caused a number of challenges, such as with hairdressers where we have had to find alternative short and medium term solutions and this has been achieved in nearly all our homes and we continue to work on this to ensure that all residents have access to hairdressing facilities.
Current visiting protocols
The importance of visits in terms of resident and family member wellbeing is always utmost in our decision making on visiting protocols whilst following government and Public Health guidelines to keep our residents and employees safe. We have clear protocols in place which are developed in line with government guidance and in discussion with the Department of Health and Public Health England and it is essential that we follow these protocols consistently. Initially Care Homes were restricted to visiting from essential visitors only, but we were pleased that this was then extended to limited family visits over the past few months.
In recent weeks, the Government introduced a new Tier system, we are in a position to update visiting. The overall national picture follows, and regional exceptions can be read on our Regional Update page.
- High/Tier 2 and Very high/Tier 3
If a care home is in a Tier 2 or Tier 3 location then it will not be open to visitors and potential visitors who live in a Tier 2 or Tier 3 location will also not be able to visit any care homes. There will be exceptional circumstances to these rules such as when a resident is receiving end of life care and we will conduct a thorough risk assessment to ensure we keep everyone as safe as possible. The link to government guidance is here.
- Medium/Tier 1
Where homes are in Tier 1, they will still be accepting visits unless in outbreak status. However, potential visitors who live in a Tier 2 or Tier 3 location will also not be able to visit these homes. We will monitor this on a weekly basis.
The local Directors of Public Health have a responsibility to provide us weekly updates on whether it is safe for care homes to have visits. Public Health look at a variety of information to make a decision which includes the level of local cases and geographical mapping; test and trace information; R value; Cases in care homes; care home testing of staff and residents and infection, prevention and control and Personal Protective Equipment use in care homes. In the event they were to issue a local instruction to further restrict visits to our homes we would write to you as soon as we were made aware.
We review our protocols weekly to ensure that our residents are comfortable during visits whilst keeping them protected from the risk of coronavirus. We are currently working hard on our dedicated visitor rooms to ensure the best protection is in place for internal visits.
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 at the bottom of this update.
Vivaldi Antibody Study
We are also pleased to have been selected to participate in the Vivaldi Antibody Study to help tackle the longer-term challenge of Covid-19. The study is sponsored by the Department of Health and Social Care and is being run by University College London. The study involves taking blood from participants on a schedule of visits - at the start, at 6 weeks, 3 months and for residents with a positive antibody test, two further blood tests at 6 months and 12 months.
The research will determine what level of antibodies are maintained and it is vital we participate because there has been a disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on the elderly and some other groups yet the reasons why these population groups are at increased risk remains unclear. Asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic infection has been shown to contribute to transmission of infection and understanding this is vital when considering disease control measures, particularly in care homes.
All OSJCT home are taking part and all residents and paid employees are able to take part, although participation is voluntary. Consent for participation will be obtained prior to the study starting.
We would like to thank you again for your patience, understanding and support during these incredibly different times. Everything we do is carried out with the welfare of residents, their families, and colleagues as our main priority and working with you to help steer a course through these challenges is hugely appreciate by everyone at the OSJCT family.
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 be 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.
The Trust advises all visitors (e.g. friends, family members and representatives) to refrain from unreasonable behaviour when communicating with employees, residents and other visitors. This includes any unreasonable behaviour demonstrated face to face, over the phone, in an email, in writing or online (including social media). Unacceptable behaviour also includes not adhering to our protocols in relation to infection control which include the wearing of personal protective equipment i.e. masks and social distancing.
We appreciate that visitors and relatives may sometimes act out of character when facing situations of stress, anxiety or distress, and that this may result in them raising their voice or losing their temper. However, such behaviour will be regarded as unacceptable if it persists or becomes abusive, violent, threatening or harassing.
As outlined in the Trust’s Contact with/Visits by family and friends Policy, employees and/or residents have the right to refuse visitors and as such, employees may ask people to leave or refuse entry if they feel contact will cause distress to the residents or pose a security risk.
Examples of unacceptable and unreasonable behaviour may include:
- Being abusive or using aggressive tone or language towards employees or other residents that goes beyond the level they should not reasonably expect to receive.
- Harassing employees or other residents such as holding personal grudges or repeatedly targeting their correspondence towards an employee or manager whom they hold some personal enmity.
- Recording meetings or face-to-face/telephone conversations without the prior knowledge and consent of the other parties involved in line with data protection guidance
- Making unfounded or defamatory comments/accusations against the Trust or specific employees.
- Abusive or verbal aggression toward employees, residents, families or other visitors.
- Making contact with the organisation, which is unreasonably lengthy, complicated, aggressive, threatening or abusive towards employees.
- Making unnecessarily excessive demands on employees’ time and resources (e.g. excessive telephoning or numerous e-mails or writing lengthy complex letters every few days and expecting immediate responses).
- Continuing to complain about a historic or irreversible decision or event.
- Combinations of some or all of these.
- Refusing to comply with the Trust procedures and protocols
Should a visitor or relative demonstrate any unacceptable or unreasonable behaviour, the Trust will issue them with a written warning stating that if such actions continue, the Trust may decide to treat them as ‘unreasonable or unreasonably persistent’, as per the Trust Complaints, Comments-Suggestions and Accolades Policy, and provide an explanation as to why this is the case. In some cases, it might be appropriate to provide copies of this notification to others involved. It may also be appropriate to try to resolve such matters by drawing up a signed agreement with the individual concerned setting out a code of behaviour for the parties involved.
If the above steps do not lead to a change in the individual’s behaviour, the Care Quality Director will determine whether to identify the person as ‘unreasonable or unreasonably persistent’ and if so, what action to take. The Care Quality Director, with the agreement of the Chief Executive will implement such action and will notify the individual in writing of the reasons why they have been classified as unreasonable or unreasonably persistent and what action will be taken which could result in visits by the specific individual/s being temporarily stopped.
In extreme circumstances the Trust reserves the right to pass any unreasonable or unreasonably persistent individuals/complainants to the Trust’s solicitors or police, which may result in legal action against the individual.
For further information on the Trust’s unreasonable or unreasonably persistent’ status, please see refer to the Trust’s Complaints, Comments-Suggestion and Accolades Policy, which is available on request.
“We encourage everyone to go and get jabbed! Together we can beat it!”