Latest update: w/c 1st June
Latest update for family and friends
I’d like to say a big thank you for the continued messages of support we are receiving from families, friends and local communities. It’s a real morale boost for colleagues in our homes and Extra Care Housing schemes who continue to provide the best possible care to our residents and tenants.
We’re excited to share with you some recent developments, the most important of which is that we are now able to facilitate short visits from families and friends. We have opened up outside spaces at our homes and set up meeting areas where residents can be reunited with a family member. We’re still following the guidelines set out by the Government and Public Health England on social distancing, to keep everyone safe, and have introduced a booking system to ensure that we can offer as many reunions as possible. Initially we are keeping visits short, and we are spending some time explaining to visitors any requirements there may be around safety, infection control, and PPE. Short visits may be a little frustrating but we are doing this out of an abundance of caution and to best align ourselves with official guidance. Short visits provide the least amount of time possible for an infection to be transmitted and they also allow for the maximum number of visits to take place on any given day. We expect it to get easier and hopefully more relaxed as time moves on, but apologies if there are teething issues initially. Please call the home to arrange your visit.
An important aspect of living in one of our homes is a vibrant communal area, where residents and tenants can chat with each other over a cup of tea, a TV programme or join in with activities. We took the decision some time ago to close these areas, instead caring for our residents in their own rooms. We are now looking at how we can safely open some of these communal areas and we’ll share more updates on this with you shortly.
Our homes are open for new admissions, and everyone that joins us will go through a robust process to keep them and others safe for the first 14 days of life at the home. This means that they may not experience all of the positive aspects of life that there are in our homes for the first few days, but in short order they will become a full part of our loving and happy communities. New residents can receive visitors after 14 days’ self-isolation (following the guidance mentioned above), and of course there will be the access to our Ipads, the opportunity to get to know our colleagues, and we will keep all of our protective measures continually under review in conjunction with the government guidance and best practice, in particular in areas of PPE and testing.
The impact in our homes followed the same curve as the national picture with the peak being around the middle of April. I’m pleased to say that many more of those residents that contracted the virus have fully recovered than have sadly succumbed to it, but those that we have lost will be forever in our thoughts and we are looking at how we best remember the contribution they made in our homes. Every care home resident and employee were recently offered the test and this showed that 95% of residents were negative and 98% of employees were negative which was a wonderful result giving us confidence that we are doing the right things so again thank you for your patience as we cautiously make things a bit more comfortable for your loved one. Since the testing those results have improved even further. We continue to push at a national level for a regular testing cycle and based on correspondence we know this is actively being looked at.
We have had a number of measures in place for some weeks which include:
- All residents have their temperature taken daily and are tested immediately if their temperature is raised.
- We have pulse oximeters in every single home (normally these are only used in nursing homes) so that we can measure oxygen levels as a drop in oxygen saturation level is an early warning sign of both COVID and respiratory problems and allows us to speak to the GP sometimes ahead of any other symptoms being felt and the GPs are finding this very helpful. We are testing all resident’s oxygen levels daily,
- We have professional resilience and wellbeing support in place for our frontline teams most impacted and almost every day I host a video call with a small number of Home Managers along with other colleagues to provide them support, thank them for the fantastic job they are doing and listen to ideas of what we could be doing better.
- We have excellent infection control measures in place already but we are looking at ways in which we can improve these further and tailor them specifically to the COVID-19 threat. We employ our own clinical nurse specialist in infection control and she has been instrumental in ensuring that our teams have the right protocols and procedures in place at the right time.
Our stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE) i.e. masks, aprons, gloves remain high with no disruption in supply and every home has sufficient stock for 10 days. In addition to the stocks in the homes each of our regions have a central PPE store which is staffed by Trust employees, who despatch supplies to our homes and schemes on a weekly basis. We are currently building stock further as part of our winter planning so please be reassured that we have at all times operated in line with the government guidance.
Whilst the signs are promising regarding the pandemic for now, this is no time to be complacent. We remain committed to keeping your loved ones safe, following the guidance and protocols set out by the Government and Public Health England, and we will continue to do so for as long as is necessary.
We completely understand how challenging it is when you are apart from your loved ones, but please be reassured that we are all working tirelessly to ensure that they are kept safe, happy and well and encourage you to look at our facebook pages or our OSJCT moments page on our website to see the continued wonderful experiences our residents are having cared for by our frontline heroes.
If you wish to view further information for visitors, please click on this link to take you to our visitor information news page.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your home or our enquiry line 0800 988 8133 will be manned Monday to Friday 8.30am – 6pm and 8.30 – 5pm on Saturday whereby we will endeavour to answer your questions.