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Covid-19 News #2

Covid-19 News #2

#2 – Monday, 30th March 2020

Covid-19 is definitely starting to make its impact felt. Whilst we are feeling this everywhere, HomeCare is very much in the front line. We remain at Implementation Level Two of our Pandemic Procedure, and currently have no known cases of Covid-19 amongst our Residents or Clients.


Nettlestead is in good shape, with all shifts covered, and everyone healthy and well looked after. The Residents are impressively taking everything in their stride, as are the Staff, with the vast majority still able to work their shifts. Where they can’t, their colleagues are willingly filling the gaps. A great team effort by all concerned. In fact, we asked Holly whether there were any Staff Members who should be singled out for praise, and she was adamant that everyone has been superb.

Nettlestead currently has two Staff self-isolating, both of whom are due back this coming Sunday.

We have also been blown away by the generosity of our neighbours:

After closing their doors for the lock-down, the Bickley Arms donated a large amount of vegetables, butter, milk and other supplies;

  • McDonalds in Bexleyheath donated 200 eggs and long-life milk;
  • Nando’s in Bromley gave over 20 meals for our staff to enjoy, and;
  • The students at St. Thomas the Apostle College will be writing to our Residents.

Priors Mead

It is an incredible testament to everyone at Priors Mead, that we can say they are in good shape too. Whilst everyone is healthy and well looked after there also, this has been with some considerable adjustment. All the Management Team – Kirsty, Kelly and Sarah Green – have all had to self-isolate. Kirsty’s symptoms are almost certainly not Covid-19, but we are being cautious as any infection in the home will weaken our Residents’ immune systems. Kelly may have Covid-19, but the chain of infection is clear of Priors Mead, and we therefore do not feel there has been or is a risk to our Residents and other Staff. Sarah Green is well, but has been in reasonably-close contact with a family member who has Covid-19, and is therefore self-isolating as a precaution. Joanna, who used to run Priors Mead, is taking the lead until Kirsty is able to return, supported by Kay and Vanessa , not to mention Kirsty and Kelly also, albeit remotely.

Priors Mead has four Staff self-isolating. Two are due back this week, one the week after, and one is on extended self-isolating because of underlying health conditions.
We have been amazed by the support of our neighbours at Priors Mead too;

  • The 4, 5 and 6 year-old pupils at Hatchlands Primary School have become pen-pals to our residents;
  • The children of Merstham Park School will shortly be joining them;
  • Lydl kindly gave us so many left-over flowers after Mother’s Day that the home started to resemble a flower shop, and;
  • Our neighbours in and around Blanford Road have also been spontaneously dropping various gifts off at our door.


HomeCare has been really caught in the eye of the storm, with all hands definitely now on deck. Lauren, Becky, Paige and Karen have been doing a superb job in the office, but there are now 14 HomeCarers having to self-isolate, plus a further two are currently unwell. Two are due back this week, six are due back on 8th April, one is off for an extended period due to underlying health issues, and we are currently clarifying the situation with the others. All visits are currently being covered in Bromley and Croydon, but in Reigate, where the situation is more challenging, some visits have had to be for a shorter duration; invoices are being adjusted accordingly. However, there are two new Members of Staff about to start in the Reigate area, which will make the situation easier. Joanna is also supporting Edna, who heads up the Reigate area, with administrative support so she can focus on caring for the Clients.

Thankfully, the cavalry is just coming over the horizon. Thanks to Kelly’s considerable efforts and the generosity of a great number of selfless people, we have 67 Volunteers registered, of which we are already processing two for training and induction, with others in the pipeline. We are therefore hoping the situation in Reigate is about to get very much better. In the meantime, Holly from Nettlestead is moving temporarily to HomeCare to support Lauren and her team, with Kim resuming the lead at Nettlestead .

The reality is we had not anticipated that so many carers would have to self-isolate so quickly, and which has really tested everyone at HomeCare, but which has thankfully not shown anyone wanting. The Carers who have not had to self-isolate have been incredible in covering the shifts, as has Lauren and her fellow managers in keeping their division afloat.

The challenges that Covid-19 has bought with it have meant that many of our HomeCare Clients have had to be patient. We would like to thank them and their families for the considerable understanding they have shown, and look forward to normal service being resumed as soon as possible.


As mentioned above, Kelly has done a great job recruiting Volunteers who are now starting the training process. In part this is a regulatory requirement, but we also want to ensure they have the knowledge they need to to be able to do a great job, but also to understand the steps they need to take to minimise the chance of Covid-19 getting into our Homes or our clients’ homes.


We continue to build our resilience, with Stathis having completed a train-the-trainer course in O2 Therapy in case we need to support any of our residents in the homes with oxygen. We are also looking to source higher grade Personal Protective Equipment to protect our Staff in this eventuality.


Suggestions continue to be welcome. Please share them with us by emailing .

Thank you all for your continued support and understanding.

Nick & Sarah Bruce

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