Our homes were among the first in the country to access the vaccine, a fact that was recognised by Minister for Care Helen Whately who paid staff at one of our homes a suprise virtual visit.
By the middle of February 2021, more than 90% of residents have received the vaccine and more than 70% of colleagues.
All our homes and schemes have stocks of PPE that far exceed minimum requirements and which is being used in line with government guidance. We also constantly review the effectiveness of PPE against new strains of COVID-19 to ensure we are doing all we can.
We monitor stock levels proactively and rigorously, and our equipment levels have not been disrupted since lockdown began.
In summer 2020 we were part of a pilot programme for increased regular testing of colleagues and residents which was then introduced at care homes across the country. We have also introduced the 'instant' Lateral Flow Testing at homes, which produces a result within 30 minutes and further increases safety around visiting.
In addition to this we carry out temperature, oxygen and wellbeing checks daily on all residents in our homes. Anyone displaying symptoms is immediately tested and then has in room care away from other residents until the results are known.
We have meticulous deep cleaning and infection control protocols and practices in place to ensure the ongoing safety of residents, colleagues and visitors. This includes investing in technology such as electrostatic cleaners which quickly and evenly coat surfaces with a disinfecting solution.
We recognise that keeping in touch with family and friends is essential for resident wellbeing and we have worked hard to achieve this during lockdown and beyond.
Technology has played a key role here with nearly 400 iPads and tablets being delivered to our homes. There has been a lot of fun and laughter as residents learnt how to have video calls with their loved ones and share special moments that would normally happen face to face.
We know how important visits are for the wellbeing of our residents and their relatives. With this in mind, we review our visiting protocols weekly while ensuring we continue to keep everyone safe in the ever-changing environment of the pandemic.
We have installed visitor rooms at all homes across The Orders of St John Care Trust. Ideally these have been in the home with visitor access that doesn't require going through any shared space, where this has not been possible we have installed new 'pods' in the gardens. All the rooms are ventilated with fresh air - another vital infection control measure.
Our protocols are developed in line with government guidance and in discussion with the Department of Health and Public Health England. We keep residents' loved ones up to date on any changes to our visiting protocols, and you can also read the latest on our guidance to visitors on our FAQ page.
Our activities calendar has never been so full. Activities Coordinators in our homes have come up with brilliant ideas to keep residents laughing, singing and generally having fun. Many residents have enjoyed bingo and quizzes from the door of their bedroom or socially distanced games in small groups.
We recognise that the pandemic has had a real impact on our frontline teams, and we have put easily accessible professional resilience and wellbeing support in place for them.
All colleagues take part in on-going training and are kept regularly up-to-date with the latest guidance, which is provided by our COVID-19 Working Group. We are in regular contact with the Care Quality Commission and adhere to their Emergency Support Framework.
As a top 20 recommended care home group in 2020, we are also working closely with the Government and Public Health England to push forward key issues around social care for the benefit of all.
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