In these difficult times I’d like to take the opportunity to share more detail about our thought processes as a company and the measures we have in place to keep you, your loved ones and our staff as safe as possible.
I’m sure that you will be aware that there are many government guidelines in place, and that the guidelines can sometimes change quickly. For example, earlier in the pandemic it was necessary to change our PPE policy three times in one week!
You may also be aware that we do not receive advance warning of changes to the guidelines- we hear about them in the news at the same time that you do.
For this reason we really appreciate you allowing us to take time to fully study the guidelines, to interpret them and then to make changes- our main desire is and always has been to keep you, our staff and residents safe, whilst at the same time being the least restrictive as possible. Sometimes following changes to the guidelines we need to write or re-write risk assessments, policies and procedures, train and inform staff, and sometimes we need to take advice from our legal team on how best to proceed as a company.
Regional lockdowns and semi-lockdowns
Currently the government is asking certain areas of the country to lock down to prevent the spread of Covid. Should such a lock down be imposed on an area in which we have a care home it will be unfortunately necessary for us to stop all visiting in those homes. As these areas change quickly, please keep in touch with us and/or keep an eye on the news. We will of course lift any government regional lockdowns as soon as we are able to according to government guidelines.
We have reviewed our current visting situation and based on where we think we are with the virus in our region at this moment we have taken the difficult decision to continue to keep our visiting arrangements at ‘Phase One’ for the time being. We absolutely understand that this is extremely difficult, however we hope you all agree this is the best way we can keep your loved ones safe and minimise transfer of the virus as much as possible. Garden, window and drive by visiting will continue,
Keeping in touch with loved ones
All of our homes have mobile phones, tablets and Zoom accounts to enable bot telephone and virtual contact between residents and their loved ones, and between you and ourselves. Where possible please would you be able to call the home’s mobile phone to speak to your loved ones, as we need to keep our office phone lines clear in case we need to call members of the multi-disciplinary teams such as GPs, district nurses etc. Thank you very much for your help with this, we really appreciate it.
End of life
Should a resident be approaching the end of their life, we will make special arrangements for you to visit on an individual basis, please speak directly with the home manager to discuss how this can be achieved.
Caring safely for our residents
Staff are protected with the necessary PPE equipment, well trained and informed, and all staff follow Public Health England robust procedures. Please be reassured we will contact you immediately should a resident become unwell. All staff in our homes follow universal infection control processes to avoid the spread of the infection. Should a member of staff or resident show symptoms of Covid-19 we immediately implement isolation procedures, which unfortunately includes stopping all visits to the home.
As you can imagine day to day life has changed in our homes – the pace has been replaced with the stoic resolution of everyone pulling together – both staff and residents. It’s heart-warming to see our residents and staff drawing on their determination, spirit and life experiences to help others stay strong during this time.
We are keeping visits from outside the home to an absolute minimum but where urgent work is needed, such as machinery breakdown, strict measures are in place to allow work to be completed safely.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Cleaning
We have invested huge amounts of time and money to ensure that all our staff have access to the PPE necessary to undertake their role safely. Our staff are now expert in the level of PPE they need to use for each given situation in our care homes. We always follow government guidelines in how to use PPE.
Cleaning and disinfection
As you can image, our teams are working tirelessly to repeatedly clean all areas of the home, with special attention being paid to any areas that that are regularly touched in the homes such as door handles and keypads.
We are currently testing all staff weekly and all residents every 28 days, which is a great step forward in the control of the virus. In addition to this we are soon to be able to access antibody testing for staff, which will also help us learn about the virus and how it may best be controlled in the future.
The future of our business
We would like to reassure all stakeholders that although the care sector is currently undergoing many challenges, Warmest Welcome remains very healthy. We have a robust business plan in place and we are a small enough company to be agile, which is exactly what is needed at this current time. The company directors meet at least weekly (via Zoom) to reflect, make suggestions and implement changes where necessary to ensure that we are doing everything we can to ensure that we emerge from these difficult times as a healthy, forward thinking company.
Our wonderful staff
I’d like to thank every single member of our staff- they are the super-heroes of our time. We are currently fighting a war against an invisible enemy and our staff are managing to do this whilst remaining strong, cheerful and looking after our residents with love and care. They have all absolutely stepped up to the challenge and they are the backbone of the care industry.
All our staff have been and continue to be given training and information about Covid symptoms for both themselves and the residents, and what to do in any suspected case of the virus. This helps to keep everyone as safe as possible. Most importantly, staff and teams are supporting each other and also have access to support from their managers and outside agencies.
We are very aware of how difficult this time is for not only our staff but also both you and our residents.
And finally, thankyou.
We’d like to finish with a huge thank you from all of us at Warmest Welcome for working with us during this very challenging time. We look forward to being able to return to less stressful times and being able to welcome you all back into our care homes again as soon as possible.