Update from Sarah Clarke-Kuehn, Group Director – Sanctuary Care, 5 January 2021
Today, I would like to acknowledge the latest announcement from the government regarding lockdown restrictions across England and Scotland, and what this means for care home visits and general care within our homes.
I appreciate the news on the new variant of Covid-19 and returning to tougher restrictions may cause concern and increased anxiety for many. That’s why I want to assure you our priority has always been and will continue to be preventing the spread of Covid-19 and maintaining the safety and wellbeing of our residents, their visitors and our teams.
Continuing safe care home visiting
We are pleased that care home visiting can continue throughout this lockdown and we already have the measures in place for this to do so in many of our homes.
As always for families of our existing residents, I welcome you to speak with your home’s manager in the first instance to find out how our visiting guidance applies to your local care home. All our homes are of different designs with varying indoor and outdoor space available, so visiting options listed may vary from home to home. For those who are enquiring about new care options for loved ones, our dedicated Enquiry Support Team are here for you.
At all times, we continue to take direction from the local Public Health Inspector regarding the ‘R’ rate in every area and monitor this ourselves very carefully. We will also consistently reviewing our visiting guidance and details below may change instantly, as and when required.
Our overview on care home visiting at this time:
- All visits will be carried out in dedicated visiting rooms with screens, visiting pods with screens , or behind closed windows
- We are welcoming two visitors at a time per each resident. Visitors must be from the same household
- The two designated family visitors will remain the only parties who are permitted to visit the home while we remain in the current national restrictions
- Face masks or coverings must be worn for the duration of the visit and until you have left the home
- Residents who are receiving end-of-life care will continue to receive family visits and all parties will be supported throughout this time.
All of our homes have iPads so that residents and their loved ones can continue to catch up over FaceTime, Skype or alternative video calling apps. Our teams will happily support residents with accessing apps, ensuring virtual visiting is accessible for as many of our residents as possible.
Delivering safe care in our homes
Since the early stages of the pandemic, we have had processes in place to protect everyone in our care. And these continue to be in place, ensuring our homes are as a safe as they possibly can be:
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): at the start of this pandemic we worked around the clock to ensure all 100 of our care homes had sufficient levels of PPE so they can continue to deliver high-quality care safely
Covid-19 testing cycles: all our teams take part in a weekly re-testing cycle, while our residents complete a test every 28 days
Vaccinations: many of our teams and residents have already started the vaccination process within our homes, or for staff at their local hospitals. We are encouraging and supporting staff and residents who are invited to receive the vaccination to make the most of this opportunity
Safe new admissions: we remain open to safe care home admissions across our homes, where new residents can self-isolate within their own home before coming to our care homes, or join us and self-isolate within our care. Following their self-isolation options, all new residents will take a Covid-19 test and will join the same re-testing cycle as other residents
Robust cleaning and infection controls: our housekeeping teams continue to deliver enhanced cleaning and infection control practices, following the latest guidance and training at all times
Bubble living: different units or floors are kept separate and residents mix in small, socially distanced groups
Full training and continuous communications: staff have received additional training in infection control and how to keep all our residents as safe as possible during the current pandemic, as well as receiving weekly, and in some cases daily, Covid-19 information and updates
Chief Nurse: our Chief Nurse provides national support to all our homes, ensuring the latest practices and guidance are adhered to at the highest level under critical observation
Technology: all our homes have equipment that enables them to test the efficacy of their hand washing techniques – and our residents join in this too sometimes.
Sarah Clarke-Kuehn, Group Director Sanctuary Care