Care during Covid

Lilian Faithfull Care has taken decisive early action at all stages through the Covid-19 pandemic to protect our residents and teams. In this dynamic situation our proactive measures are regularly reviewed and carefully balanced with residents’ overall mental well-being. Constant vigilance through every aspect of the running of our homes is ensuring we remain a safe ‘home for life’.

We are working in close partnership with Public Health England and Gloucestershire County Council, and our early action has meant we have often been ahead of government guidance.

We are privileged to be at the forefront of the vaccination roll-out with residents and staff currently being immunised. Thanks to strong relationships with all our PPE suppliers we have not suffered any shortages and our new testing regime for residents and staff has already topped 3,000 tests. We have invested in new equipment, such as automatic hand sanitisers, UV light and anti-viral fogging machines to strengthen cleaning regimes. We have invested in technology increasing the number of iPads and similar devices to enable more virtual visits. There are special arrangements for visiting those receiving end of life care. We have a Covid-19 secure admissions procedure to enable us to welcome new residents to our homes.

We are grateful to our local communities, schools and other organisations who are continuing to support with virtual links as well as letters, postcards and pictures and we know much more is planned; this means so much to our residents and staff alike.

Welcoming new residents safely

New residents are welcomed into the home only if they have had a negative Covid-19 test; this policy has remained paramount throughout the pandemic. In addition new residents are in ‘home isolation’ for two weeks following arrival. They are retested on day 4/5 and again on day 10 before measures can be eased and they start to join in with home activities. To find out more about how we welcome new residents please contact our home managers.

Vaccine roll out

We have now reached another key milestone in the vaccination roll-out; residents at Faithfull House received their second dose of vaccine on Friday 5th March and in the coming weeks local GPs will be visiting our other four homes again to offer the second dose, which is so key in boosting immunity.

We were  privileged that our staff were amongst the first to be receiving vaccinations at Gloucester Royal Hospital, and now over 75% of staff have had their first immunisation, with many currently receiving their second dose.

Testing

We have testing for our staff every week and for residents every 28 days. This takes place in each home by our own trained staff. This testing regime ensures that we can pick up on any asymptomatic cases of Covid-19. This means it can prevent any spread of the disease when people maybe infectious but do not have any symptoms. If a resident feels unwell, they are automatically tested the same day.

Staff have their temperature checked at the start of every shift and residents have their temperature tested every day. These results are recorded to build up an accurate picture of each individual’s natural temperature range so any variation is picked up on immediately.

In addition, we offer antibody tests which indicate if staff and residents have had Covid-19 already. Although this information doesn’t alter our current infection control measures, it is building up a clear picture of the situation which will direct future strategy once the science around Covid-19 is more fully understood. These tests are also carried out by our own staff trained in phlebotomy.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

All staff and visitors to the homes must wear PPE.

The strong relationships we have with our PPE suppliers has meant we have not suffered any shortages throughout the pandemic and we continue to have plentiful supplies.

Equally important is the correct use of PPE and all our staff have completed virtual training to ensure its effective and safe use. We have regular reminders at the start of shifts regarding the safe ‘donning and doffing’ of PPE as well as spot checks on correct usage throughout the homes. This includes masks, gloves, aprons along with googles, visors and gowns where appropriate.

Any visitors are talked through PPE procedures on arrival. People exempt from not wearing a mask are not able to visit our care homes.

Cleaning and Cleanliness

A wide range of measures have been added to strengthen cleanliness and cleaning regimes including;

  1. Automatic hand sanitiser machines are at key locations throughout the homes to enable staff and residents to use without touching
  2. Entrances and key touch points within the homes are cleaned every hour
  3. Anti-viral fogging machines are used within the home
  4. UV light machines are located in key communal areas for continual protection
  5. The housekeeping teams ensure all rooms are cleaned down each day and the whole home is deep cleaned weekly

Maintaining safe care 'bubbles'

Our homes continue to operate in a safe care bubble with the help of a number of measures;

  1. There are no unnecessary visitors in the main home. Most GP and other care professional’s appointments are carried out virtually. In-person visits are only made when absolutely essential.
  2. Staff do not move around the homes
  3. On the rare occasions when we have to use an agency we have a preferred supplier arrangement where we book the same person, who only works for us and takes part in the weekly testing programme.
  4. Staff are regularly actively encouraged to think about maintaining their own safe bubbles at home and therefore reducing the risk within our homes.

Visiting

We are delighted that our homes have been able to reopen for visiting (under carefully controlled conditions).  Please visit our Visiting during Covid page for more information

Special provision is made for visiting those receiving end of life care, please talk to the home managers to find out more.

For those looking for care and wishing to visit to find out more about our homes we are offering live video tours and conversations with our staff, please contact the homes to find out more.

In the event of a positive test

If a staff member tests positive they leave the site immediately and do not return to work until after the self-isolation period AND has a negative Covid-19 test.

Families are contacted immediately if it is assessed that there is an increased risk for any resident.

If a resident tests positive they self-isolate within their room and care is given with a raft of extra measures (barrier nursing) to prevent further spread which includes extra PPE and the closing of individual floors or bubbles.

Virtual ways to keep in touch

Each home has devices such as iPads to enable residents to contact loved ones through live video links on facetime, Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp etc. If residents need assistance, then these sessions are usually pre-booked so that staff can ensure they are available to facilitate. Over the last few months we have purchased extra devices for each home to increase the opportunities for these virtual get-togethers.

We are always looking at new ways we can harness technology for the benefit of residents and their loved ones and we are currently taking part in a trial of a new robotics device called Genie. Part of the capability of this device is designed to enable residents to make video calls easily so we look forward to seeing how the trial develops.

Activities

Our Activity Coordinators have adapted their usual busy schedules to suit the current restrictions. The team continue to provide a wide range of activities to create different points of interest and stimulation each day.

There is a wide array of art and craft activities, active indoor games such as bowls, gentle exercise sessions, virtual singalongs, gardening and flower arranging, baking , jigsaws, board games and cinema nights. They are even continuing links with local schools and colleges with letters, postcards and virtual visits. The imagination and ingenuity of our teams are on display every day!

Follow our facebook page for our weekly updates (scroll to the top of this page and click ‘f’ located in the top left hand corner).

Gifts and Post

To prevent any cross-contamination all post and presents must be given to reception where they are then quarantined for 72 hours and sanitised before giving to residents (or staff).

Further information

To find out more about any aspect of the way we are responding to Covid-19 or any other issue please contact our home managers (details available on our Get in touch page) or email mailbox@lilianfaithfull.co.uk

To read the updated government guidance for care homes in full click on the link below;

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visiting-care-homes-during-coronavirus/update-on-policies-for-visiting-arrangements-in-care-homes

We are incredibly proud of how our staff are responding to the challenges that Covid-19 has brought. Their professionalism has been outstanding and their kindness, compassion and positive attitude has remained steadfast. Staff and residents often talk of how the people that live and work in our homes are like an extended family to them. This strong sense of community is proving more valuable than ever.

Martin Hughes, CEO Lilian Faithfull Care