What have you been doing to manage the spread of infection in care homes?
The safety and wellbeing of residents and staff in our care and nursing homes is of paramount importance to us.
We have been following Government and PHE guidance on infection control.
Steps we have taken include:
- ensuring social distancing where possible
- caring for people in isolation for 14 days when they are admitted to the home
- using appropriate PPE
- strict cleaning regimes
- regular testing of residents and staff.
Infection control champions were appointed for each home at the start of the pandemic, supported by infection control nurses from NHS Solent. We are also supported by clinicians, including GPs, who provide advice and guidance on appropriate care for residents who are symptomatic.
What do you do when a resident shows symptoms?
Where residents have symptoms, they are cared for in isolation in their rooms to prevent the infection spreading to other residents and staff. The staff caring for them put additional measures in place, including using extra PPE.
We carry out twice-weekly testing for staff and whole home testing every month for residents. We are provided with extra test kits which allow us to test a symptomatic resident or staff member in between the routine testing if necessary.
Staff are well trained in caring for people with dementia and cognitive impairment who may be less able to report symptoms because of communication difficulties, and they are therefore alert to the presence of signs as well as symptoms of the virus.
Why have you been accepting admissions from hospital?
The discharge of people who no longer need acute hospital care during the coronavirus pandemic is specified in Government guidance, which we are following.
The Government is clear that people who not need acute hospital care must be discharged as soon as possible that day, to reduce pressure on the NHS. You can read the guidance here.
Both new arrivals and residents returning to the care home from hospital are tested for coronavirus 48 hours beforehand. We do not accept new arrivals if they currently have the virus, and current residents with coronavirus are cared for in isolation in their rooms for 14 days.
How have you been supporting families and carers during the pandemic?
We know this has been a difficult time for families, and we have been making sure they are offered appropriate support. This has included calling families and carers with regular updates on how their loved ones are doing, as well as having dedicated wellbeing staff available to provide wellbeing support for families and carers. Each resident is assigned a key worker who supports them to stay in touch with their family.
How have you been supporting care home staff?
Staff working on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic have been providing a vital service to our residents in challenging circumstances. Their safety and wellbeing has been of utmost importance.
Dedicated wellbeing champions have been in place for each council-run home so there has always been someone on hand for staff to contact for support.