#4 – Monday, 13th April 2020
We remain at Implementation Level Two of our Pandemic Procedure , and thankfully continue to have no known cases of Covid-19 amongst either our Residents or Clients. However, one of our HomeCarers has tested positive. Thankfully, she has been Self-Isolating for more than seven days and, as none of the Clients she cared for prior to this are symptomatic, NHS-111 have advised that we should carry on as normal. We obviously wish our Carer a speedy recovery.
The Queen, in her broadcast to the nation, hoped that ‘everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge’. Whilst morale amongst all our Staff, Residents and Clients remains high, there are bound to be moments of concerned reflection; particularly for HomeCare Staff who typically work on their own. The fact that our Staff continue to turn out, day in, day out, to support our Clients and Residents certainly fills us with pride. It is something that we know is also felt by many of the Families who have been kind enough to write and share their admiration.
We therefore want to again thank all our colleagues who, to a woman (97% of our staff are female), continue to not only do their jobs, but fill the gaps left by those who are Self-Isolating. We also want to thank our Volunteers for standing ready to support them, and our Residents, Clients and their Families for being so ready with your praise for the amazing job our Staff and Managers continue to do.
You may have read some reports in the press critical of the level of support that Care Homes are receiving, which has not been our experience to date. However, as this is bound to be of concern, we thought we should share with you the support we are receiving now, and what we have been told to expect should we have any cases of Covid-19. Our principal objective remains to keep it out of the homes but, given that approximately half of homes nationwide now have symptomatic residents, this is a possibility we are taking very seriously.
The nature of the support we are receiving has changed to reflect the need for Social-Distancing, with our GP’s now typically supporting us via Video Conferencing, but have made clear they will visit when necessary. District Nurses are also visiting both our Residents and Clients as needed, and Medication continues to arrive uninterrupted. Personal Protective Equipment can be difficult to come by, and which is important to protect our Staff, Residents and Clients, but has not yet reached critical levels.
In regard to the future, we have been advised that should a Resident or Client become symptomatic we will be expected to continue to provide care to them. In more normal times the person concerned might have been moved to hospital where they would be in the best place for specific medical interventions. However, principally due to age, the types of medical interventions available for treating Covid-19 may not be suitable
Nettlestead currently has one Staff Self Isolating.
- The children of Edgebury Primary School will be sending some pictures and letters to our Residents over the coming weeks;
- Sarah Holmes, who in more normal times works in the costume department at the National Theatre , has kindly offered to make Face Masks for our Staff , and;
- There have been various Easter-themed activities over the weekend.
Priors Mead currently has no one Self-Isolating.
- A second-time-around Relative at Priors Mead, Jes Chandler, has built and donated a number of planters to celebrate his birthday; thank you Jes!
- Hatchlands Primary School, whose children our pen-pals to our Residents, plan to arrange a concert for the home once lock-down is over;
- Amica Loach, who is a member of Make NHS Visors Appeal dropped off 14 visors this weekend. She and her daughter Mikaela are supporting all Key Workers around the Dorking and Reigate area;
- There have been various Easter-Themed Activities over the weekend here too;
- Blanford Road Residents Association kindly dropped off some board games and puzzles over the weekend, and;
- Joanna and Vanessa, along with literally every Member of Staff, have continued to do a fantastic job covering the management shift, with Kirsty due back tomorrow.
Home-Care continues to be on the front line. Notwithstanding the tremendous dedication of pretty much all the HomeCarers, the fact their roles take them out into the community means they are not only bound to feel less supported, but also have more opportunity to cross paths with people who may be symptomatic. We therefore wanted to acknowledge the special challenge HomeCare is facing, and the tremendous lengths Lauren, Paige, Becky and everyone in HomeCare are going to to keep the service running; thank you.
Currently we have seven Staff Self-Isolating, two unwell, and a further two AWOL.
- Karen and Edna, our two Area Supervisors, continue to do a fantastic job doing all they can to make sure each Client gets the care they need, and;
- As mentioned below, we have started to distribute Infrared Thermometers to all HomeCarers, which Lauren has offered to deliver to any Carers unable to make it to the office.
We now have fourteen Volunteers on board and ready for deployment, however, we are particularly keen to attract Volunteers able to help HomeCare in Reigate.
- The initial advice that any transmission was likely to be via non-airborne routes now seems misplaced. However, to wear Surgical Masks all the time is likely to be harmful to rapport between Staff on the one hand, and Residents and Clients on the other. All Staff are therefore now wearing Surgical Masks, but only when they are within 2 Metres of a Resident or Client.
- All HomeCare Staff will shortly have Infrared Thermometers so that they can check Client temperatures as they arrive. This is so we can quickly arrange for appropriate support, and elevate the level of PPE to minimise the risk of onward transmission if they are symptomatic;
- We continue to run Simulations so that should Covid-19 get into either Home, we are also practised in how to minimise its impact;
- The Ionising HEPA Filters are in the process of being delivered and installed in each Resident’s bedrooms. Whilst we don’t believe these are a cure-all, we are hoping that by reducing the viral load they may reduce the likelihood of any transmission:
• This is something we would recommend for HomeCare Clients too. The ones we are using in the Homes are:
- We are currently researching Humidifiers which are likely to be helpful to anyone who becomes symptomatic.
- Shirley Johnson, a relative of one of our Nettlestead relatives, has suggested that our Residents may find it easier to listen to recorded messages at a time to suit them, and which could be sent in by email. We think this is a great idea and will be happy to play these for the recipients.
Suggestions continue to be welcome. Please share them with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you all for your continued support and understanding.
Nick & Sarah Bruce