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Covid-19 News #5

Covid-19 News #5

#5 – Monday, 20th April 2020

We remain at Implementation Level Two, no Residents or Clients are Symptomatic, and the one Carer who was suffering from Covid-19 is making a good recovery.

Testing of Care Staff

We have been asked to trial new Covid-19 testing stations at Gatwick and Greenwich aimed at getting Self-Isolating Key Workers back to work as soon as possible. One Member of Staff has a test booked for this afternoon, and another is being sent a Home Self Test Kit.


We continue to receive good support from the NHS, have sufficient PPE with no anticipated problems and, whilst we are having to be creative as to how we get food, supplies are not a problem.


Nettlestead currently has 2 Staff off but for non-Covid-19 reasons.

  • Where possible we are going to be Emailing Invoices to families rather than posting them.
  • The Lift Installation has recommenced!!! All three members of the installation team have been in Self Isolation for over 14 Days before coming into the home, but we are still taking no chances. They access the building via the external fire exit stairs to reduce footfall through the home, have their temperatures taken each day, and use separate facilities.
  • Video and Voice Notes (thank you for the idea Shirley) are really working well and being enjoyed by all the Residents receiving them.
  • Skype and Facetime also remain popular, but may we ask that Families please call ahead to book a time-slot.
  • We have been using Video Links on the Smart TV in the lounge to enjoy Live Theatre performances. We have now watched two which the Residents have loved!
  • We have also been sourcing Fresh Fruit and Veg from local greengrocers.
  • A report in The New Scientist has underlined quite how good resistance exercise is for the elderly, and so Katherine has upgraded our exercise programme, including indoor and outdoor sessions accompanied by music.
  • All rooms in Nettlestead now have an Air Purifier which are set to Auto Ionising 24 Hours a Day.

Priors Mead

Priors Mead currently has no staff Self-Isolating.

  • Where possible we too are going to be Emailing Invoices to families at this time rather than posting them.
  • Our Resident, David Barrell used to serve in The Royal Navy. In light of the Pandemic, David received a courtesy call from Commander Edward Hall on Wednesday to reflect upon how The Royal Navy has changed since he was serving there! David thoroughly enjoyed this and brought back some good memories.
  • Nikki Old has brought in some more supplies of Paracetamol; we really appreciate this and continue to be glad that we do not have to use it!
  • We had a Short-Term Resident who returned home on Wednesday having rebuilt her strength. She enjoyed her time with us despite the current circumstances, and very kindly gifted us a £100 cheque for Staff as appreciation of their hard work. We are very grateful for this unexpected gesture. The Family then followed this up by sending us a personalised Thorntons Chocolate gift selection basket – not the worst way to start a Monday! Thank you!
  • We are delighted to welcome Kirsty and Kay back to Priors Mead following bereavement leave; not related to Coronavirus. Kirsty will resume running the home with support from Jo and Vanessa whilst Kelly will continue to work from home until her maternity leave commences.
  • We are aiming to use our Facebook page more regularly so our Relatives are able to see more of their loved ones during their daily lives, and hope they will be further reassured that the Fun Must Go On! If you haven’t already, please head over and like our page: Please let us know if there is anything you would like to see more of.

  • Additionally, Kirsty has been emailing photos directly to Relatives – please let us know if we are missing anyone off our mailing lists.
  • We would like to welcome our two new Carers, Carol and Myriam – we look forward to introducing them to you once things return to normal.



HomeCare – We no longer have any staff who are AWOL. We still have Seven Staff who are Self Isolating with three returning back this week.

  • Not wishing to be left out, where possible we too are going to be Emailing Invoices rather than posting them.
  • We have Two New Members of Staff on training this week for the Reigate Area which will be a massive support for Edna, (thank you), our Reigate Area Supervisor and the HomeCare Team.
  • We are carrying out regular phone calls with the Clients and Families who are currently in Self Isolation to check that they are safe and well, and to offer Shopping visits etc.
  • If any of our Clients who are looking for some extra calls for Shopping etc., please contact the office.
  • Infrared Thermometers are continuing to be distributed to all our carers. They are also available to collect from the office.
  • All HomeCare Staff continue to take the current situation in their stride, and have gone way above and beyond for all of our clients – thank you!


We now have 15 Volunteers

  • Katie Manser has stepped in twice this week to support us with Reigate Homecare, thank you.
  • Jordan Sobers has her first Shadow Shift set up for this week to prepare her to support us with Bromley or Croydon HomeCare.
  • Thank you to those waiting in the background; as grateful as we are for your support we are equally thankful that we have not had to ask you for help as yet! You have not been forgotten.


  • Lisa reminded us that, for any members of Staff who would appreciate some guidance at this difficult time, our insurers offer a confidential counselling service on 01273 424904.
  • We undertook a Simulation Exercise which one of our Priors Mead Clients was kind enough to make more realistic by developing a temperature! This thankfully vanished as soon as it started. The focus of the Simulation was how we would respond should one of our Residents become Symptomatic, with the resulting changes to our Pandemic Procedure;
    • Covid-19 Symptoms are atypical in the elderly, and so any Resident who is unwell will be cared for in their room until such time as we are sure it is not Covid-19;
    • The Initial Symptoms for Covid-19 in the elderly include their becoming withdrawn, loss of appetite and breathlessness. If any one Resident develops these symptoms, all Residents will be cared for in their room (Implementation Level Three) on the presumption that, if it is Covid-19, the person who transmitted the disease to the first Resident may also have infected other Residents. Given that people are often infectious before they are symptomatic, this is designed to minimise the spread of the disease. We hope under these circumstances that testing would be made available, but otherwise would mean Residents remaining in their room for seven days.
    • We are making provision for Staff to ‘camp’ in the lounges if we have to go to Level Three Implementation, with a number of Staff already volunteering to do so without even being asked.
  • We have also been reaching out to providers who have been directly affected by Covid-19, as well as scouring the press for insights as to what they would have done differently had they known what they do now. The Key Insights seem to be the same ones we identified as part of the Simulation Exercise, above, but also taking the separation of Staff treating Covid-19 cases from those who are not even further. These insights are currently being added to our Pandemic Procedure.

We appreciate that this is a very worrying time for Families who are currently unable to see their loved-ones. However, frequent examples of Staff doing so much more than can be expected of them have left us feeling that, whatever the outcome for our Residents and Clients, it will not be for the want of trying.

We keep referring to Implementation Levels which may confuse people. If you want to know the chapter and verse, you can access the latest version of the Pandemic Procedure here, but broadly:

In the Homes;

  • Level One involves enhanced hygiene and various preparatory and preventative work, and is triggered by the World Health Organization declaring a Pandemic;
  • Level Two restricts access to the Homes to essential personnel only because of a perceived heightened risk, either by us or the UK Government;
  • Level Three is where Residents remain in their rooms because of a suspected or actual outbreak.

And HomeCare;

  • Level One involves enhanced hygiene and various preparatory work, and is triggered by the World Health Organization declaring a Pandemic;
  • Level Two increases protective measures because of a perceived heightened risk, either by us or the UK Government;
  • Level Three is where Clients are symptomatic, leading to the use of higher levels of Personal Protective Equipment to minimise the risk of transmission.


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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