COVID-19 Coronavirus: advice and guidance

We will be in touch with you if we believe that your relative is nearing the end of his or her life. We will then arrange for you to visit your relative, but this will be by arrangement only as you will not be able to visit the home without an appointment.

The government has decreed that people can no longer leave their homes unless absolutely necessary. This is to reduce the risk of infection from COVID-19 and our aim is, as ever, to protect the vulnerable residents in our care. We do have plans in place for you to stay in touch with your loved via phone and video calling. And we will be giving regular wellbeing updates by phone to the relatives of residents who are unable to make or receive calls.

We totally understand your concern. You can communicate with them via your phone or other electronic device using Skype, Google Hangout, WhatsApp or Facetime (if you have it). If your relative does not have their own mobile phone, we have tablets in the home for their use (following strict hygiene protocols). Because the number of tablets is limited can you please call the home to arrange a convenient day and time to speak to your relative. We will also give regular wellbeing updates by phone to the relatives of residents who are unable to make or receive calls.

As a matter of course, we maintain good stocks of cleaning and care home products, as well as food supplies, and are in daily touch with our key suppliers. These include Caterplus (which provides in-house catering services) and Gompels (which sells cleaning and care home items) and all have robust contingency plans in place. There are also strategies to source alternative products, if required.

At all times we will endeavour to staff the homes to the best of our ability and appropriately, notwithstanding the COVID-19 coronavirus. If any member of staff becomes ill they will self-isolate and recover at home. If necessary, we will source additional temporary staff (risk assessing them to ensure that they are virus-free) and follow our strict cleaning protocols and no non-medical visitor policy. We will also keep in close contact with our local health protection team (part of Public Health England) and follow their advice/government guidelines. Our aim, as always, is to minimise any impact on residents.

If a resident develops the virus we will immediately isolate them and seek guidance from medical professionals and the Department of Health/PHE. Our priorities would be to care for the resident concerned and to protect other residents from contracting the illness.

We will follow government guidelines and implement the wearing of face masks as and when appropriate. Public Health England (PHE) maintains that the best way to reduce the risk of infection is to practise good hygiene and avoid direct or close contact (within two metres) with any potentially infected person.

We have no plans to do so at the moment, but will follow the advice of medical professionals and PHE.

A varied programme of activities is essential for our residents’ health and wellbeing. However, these are extraordinary times and residents must be protected as much as possible from infection by COVID-19. We have suspended visits by outside entertainers and fitness instructors until further notice. Any resumption at a later date will be in accordance with government and PHE advice. Although trips out have also been suspended, we are continuing to offer activities, such as arts and crafts, cake decorating, bingo and puzzles, that are normally organised in-house.

We have strict cleaning protocols in place at all times, and these are subject to regulatory and statutory requirements. However, we have issued extra guidance for staff and have already increased the frequency of the cleaning of core communal areas including doors, door handles, handrails, bathrooms, dining tables and chairs and kitchen facilities.

We will continue to deal with all waste in the usual manner. Should any resident be suspected of having the virus, we will remove waste in accordance with advice from PHE. We seek at all times to minimise the risk of transmission to other residents and staff.

We will continue to work closely with our local doctors and NHS professionals, and be guided by their expertise. We will ensure that all residents have contact with a GP as and when required.

The NHS has suspended all non-urgent operations as of 15 April and we are currently unsure about any impact of COVID-19 on routine hospital appointments. However, we are in regular contact with health professionals and are monitoring the situation carefully.

Your relative will continue to receive a high level of care 24/7 from our dedicated team of carers and nurses. We will keep you fully updated on their health and wellbeing and can support them in speaking with you on their mobile phone, if they have one, or one of the home’s tablets. If that is not possible, we will give regular wellbeing updates by phone to those residents’ relatives.