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Covid-19 News #8

Covid-19 News #8

#8 – Monday, 11th May 2020

We remain at Implementation Level Two, with no Residents, Clients or Staff being Symptomatic. However, one HomeCare Staff Member has tested Positive (see Testing section for more details).

Morale has continued to be good, although some Residents felt a bit blue when the sun decided to desert us. However, our Staff are encouraging them to be in greater contact with their families, and we are thinking up new ways to keep them entertained.

Changes to Lock-Down

The Prime Minister’s broadcast last night led us to reflect that we have now been in Lock-Down for nearly Eight Weeks, with another Four  Weeks still to go in theory, although possibly longer; the rules for our Residents and Clients coming out of Lock-Down will obviously be different due to their different Risk Profiles. Written in a simple sentence, this belies quite what this period has meant to everyone involved.

  • For our Staff, the outstanding and unrelenting work they have done has kept Covid-19 out of the Homes and away from our Clients; no small task when we see how prevalent it is in many other care homes;
  • For our Residents’ and Clients’ Families, being separated from their loved-ones must have been both very worrying and trying, and;
  • For our Residents and Clients themselves, who have also been separated from their families, but which they have faced up to with unrelenting courage and good cheer.

Looking from a distance, seeing how much everyone is contributing, it really has been an inspirational example of the best of humanity.

However, we recognise that, as the rest of the population start returning to the New Normal, we must not be lulled into a false sense of security. The fact that pandemic measures are relaxed outside of the Homes and our Clients Homes is therefore a time of Heightened Risk as the threat to our Residents and Clients has not changed. Whilst for the population in general, the R0 number has reduced to below 1 (0.5 to 0.9), were the virus to get into either Home this is unlikely to be the case. So whilst everyone else starts to relax, we recognise the need to Remain Vigilant.

Whilst this means keeping the Lock-Down in place until advised otherwise by the Government, we are also looking forward to, and preparing for, the time when we can start welcoming Families back into the Homes. We recognise that this has to be done in a way that effectively mitigates the increased risks this may bring, which requires preparation. This is an issue we are working on now so we have Detailed Plans in place for when the wonderful day arrives and, as always, any suggestions will be very welcome.

NHS Support

We continue to receive all the support we need at the present time, including adequate supplies of PPE, although we should explain this is in part because we have gone to multiple sources and have been able  to pay for what we need. Apart from the supplies we have been given from NHS reserves, we have continued to buy supplies from our normal supplier (Gompels) plus two new suppliers (AliExpress and Tool Station), and have been donated supplies, including 100 Washable Face Masks from Sarah Holmes.


Testing continues to be a bit of a mixed bag:

    • Nettlestead, who were invited to take part in a trial, have had the results back from all nine Staff who have been tested to date, all of which were negative. The remaining Staff and all Residents are being tested today in the home.


  • Priors Mead has not been invited to be part of a trial and, whilst it has been more successful in getting Staff tested to date (eleven out of twelve have tested negative, with one result still awaited), they continue to find that all that day’s available Home Test Kits have gone by the time they can get through.
  • HomeCare, who were invited to be part of a trial but which keeps being delayed, have had nine Staff tested, with one testing Positive, and are awaiting for the trial to start to get our Clients tested too.
  • The Staff Member who tested Positive believed she previously had, and recovered from Covid-19, and has since been Asymptomatic. There were no tests available at the time she contracted the disease, and NHS111’s advice was that Asymptomatic Staff should return to work. Under these circumstances, we do not believe there is any significant risk to our Clients. However, as a precaution, we have asked the Staff Member concerned to Self-Isolate whilst she is re-tested, and have arranged for all Clients she visited to be tested too.



Nettlestead currently has one Staff Member Self-Isolating for twelve weeks.

  • The Lift installation is nearly complete!!!
  • We have received our Handmade Masks made by Sarah Holmes for which we have also purchased Reusable Filters. These are for Staff to use when out and about.
  • Stay-at-home VE Day celebrations went off well with a lovely afternoon tea and plenty of cakes!
  • We had a donation today from RAP UK who gave us over 400 Disposable Face Shields.
  • We have been receiving a number of letters and drawings from Highfield Primary School which our Residents have been responding to.
  • We have had a number of gifts, chocolates, cards and cakes arrive this morning and we would just like to thank each and every one of those who have been so kind, from all of us here at Nettlestead.

Priors Mead

Priors Mead currently has one Staff Member Self-Isolating for twelve weeks.

  • We have purchased reusable filters for staff to wear outside their working hours, with the Handmade Washable Masks made by Sarah;
  • We had a great excuse to enjoy lots of cake this week during our VE Day Celebrations, which were kindly made by Sandra Greaves and enjoyed by both Residents and Staff.
  • Redhill residents, Adele and Steve Jackson, have been bringing joy and amusement to the local community by dressing up as various inflatable animals and walking around the local area to cheer up children and adults alike during the lockdown. They have decided to set up a fundraising page as requested by several people and would like all monies raised to directly benefit our Residents! A huge thank you!
  • We have received some colourful rainbow drawings from children at Bright Horizons Day Nursery in Reigate.
  • We would like to wish Kelly a great final week before her Maternity Leave starts and she gets some rest before baby number two arrives.


HomeCare has two Staff Members Self-Isolating for twelve weeks.

  • All HomeCare Staff continue to take the current situation in their stride and are all working extremely hard and working with each other to go above and beyond for all of our clients.
  • We have two New Members of Staff joining HomeCare in the coming weeks – one for Reigate and one for Bromley.


We now have 14 Volunteers.


  • We have switched off our campaign to onboard any new Volunteers at this stage, as we feel we have a good reserve of Volunteers who are eager, ready and waiting to help should the time arise. Once again, we thank you for being there.
  • As Kelly is about to go on Maternity Leave, Nick will be available to support any Volunteers.



  • The Company’s finances have been impacted by the Pandemic, but within manageable bounds. Costs have risen supporting Shielding and Self-Isolating Staff, buying additional equipment and PPE supplies, often at inflated prices. We also still have one room vacant in each Home, and have the capacity to take on additional Clients in HomeCare if you know of anyone in need. However, we have not yet had to rely on the additional liquidity we arranged, and currently do not anticipate needing to.
  • We are developing Lock-Down Exit Plans, including how to lighten the impact if the Lock-Down needs to be extended.


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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