Can I visit a loved one staying in one of your homes?
In common with local hospitals we are currently not allowing non-essential visits to our care homes and this includes visits from family and friends. This decision was taken on March 13 to ensure the safety of residents. However, arrangements are available for families and friends to keep in touch by Skype.
What about if my relative is receiving end of life care, can I still visit?
We understand that friends and family of those receiving end of life care will want to say farewell and we will work with families to ensure this can happen. In these instances visits will only be permitted just before the end of life and the visit will be strictly controlled.
Are you still allowing health care professionals to visit homes?
We are still allowing essential access for health care professionals and urgent suppliers. These visits are strictly monitored and controlled.
When do you think restrictions will be lifted?
At this stage it is too early to ease visiting restrictions at our homes. In common with most organisations we are keeping options under active review and we anticipate some easements to take place during June. These will be reviewed on a home by home basis and will be carefully monitored. We are grateful for the continuing support of friends and families.
Are you still admitting residents to homes?
We are still admitting people who require our care where possible, by following careful assessment of their needs and by applying additional screening to our normal thorough admission assessment. This now includes a test for COVID-19 indicating that the person is no longer positive and/or is asymptomatic. Following guidance, anyone being newly admitted to a home will be isolated and asked to stay in their own room for at least 14 days as a precautionary measure.
Have there been any confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Coverage Care homes?
Despite the heroic and unrelenting efforts of our staff over many weeks, it was perhaps inevitable that we would not be able to keep this highly virulent disease out of our homes forever. A small number of COVID-19 cases have been identified or suspected in a handful of our homes. For full details please see the latest statement on COVID-19 here.
Family members in these cases have been notified and staff are working hard to provide the care they need and continue to effectively combat the spread of infection. Family members should be assured that people who are unwell are isolated in their rooms and that should their loved one be suspected of contracting the disease, they will be contacted by the home staff.
What if my relative needs additional medical help?
Coverage Care Services continues to have access to a full range of medical services when necessary as well as additional health and social care support from its partner agencies.
What will happen if my relative or loved one starts to show symptoms associated with COVID-19?
In line with Government guidance a test will be arranged and any resident displaying symptoms associated with COVID-19 will be put into isolation for the recommended period. As next of kin we will naturally keep you informed of any change in health.
Will my relative be tested for COVID-19?
Any resident who has symptoms associated with COVID-19 is being tested for the virus. Testing is being carried out locally and we are keeping family members informed of the results when we receive them. On April 28, the Government announced that testing will be made available for every person living or working in a care home. This is yet to be actioned locally but it is likely to take effect in the coming days. Our priority is to ensure those with symptoms receive a test (and result) quickly.
If my relative tests positive for COVID-19 how will he/she be cared for?
We do not assume all illness is COVID-19 related and advocate for residents to be treated for infections and other illnesses proactively. If however residents test positive they will be isolated in their rooms for 14 days. Residents are monitored closely and their temperatures are taken twice a day. Acute care plans are introduced to monitor fluid/food intake and repositioning charts are completed to reduce the likelihood of pressure areas. Support is given to maintain mobility and muscle mass whilst in their rooms/units. Rooms being used for self-isolation are en-suite and have a TV available to provide background company if required.
Do staff have access to appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) equipment?
We are following all Public Health England guidance for the use of PPE and will continue to do so. We have good supplies of PPE equipment across our homes and we continue to be able to source PPE for our staff. Staff are suitably equipped with the recommended PPE and the safety and health of our staff and our residents remains our total focus at this difficult time. We also have in place an option for care home staff to wear a face shield whilst at work.
Are staff being tested for COVID-19?
Any staff member who has symptoms associated with COVID-19 is being tested for the virus. Testing is being carried out locally. Any staff member who suspects they have symptoms associated with COVID-19 is self-isolating for the recommended period of time. On April 28, the Government announced that testing will be made available for every person living or working in a care home. Our priority is to ensure those with symptoms receive a test (and result) quickly. If staff test positive then our policy is that they are able to return to work after 14 days or 7 days after the last sign of symptoms. This exceeds current guidance.
Will Coverage Care be providing recovery beds for COVID-19 patients who are discharged from hospital?
Any person who has tested positive and/or displaying acute symptoms associated with COVID-19 will not be admitted to any home run by Coverage Care Services. We expect people who have previously tested positive to be re-tested and to be asymptomatic prior to an admission being agreed. Requests may be assessed on an individual basis and if convalescent patients were to be accepted, they would be subject to strict isolation controls referred to above.
What action is being taken to slow the spread of the virus in your care homes?
We are adhering to strict protocols to protect residents and staff throughout all of our homes, based on Public Health England’s guidance, Government policy and our own experience. Measures in place include:
- No visitors other than essential health care staff
- Health screening questions on admission to a home
- Automatic 14 day isolation period for residents admitted into the home or following an appointment at hospital
- Residents will only be admitted from hospital after receiving a negative COVID -19 test result
- Staff do not wear their uniforms to or from work including footwear
- PPE guidance relevant at the time is followed (we have maintained supplies of PPE throughout)
- Infection Prevention and Control training is in place
- Hand washing guidance is adhered to and reinforced by posters
- Staff are trained how to safely put on and take off PPE
- We keep staff working on one unit (cohort) for their shift to limit the likelihood of transmitting the virus
- Cleaning regimes have increased and “deep cleaning protocols” are the norm.
What are the arrangements for keeping relatives informed about what is happening in homes? The Health Secretary said in the briefing on Friday all homes should be open and transparent.
At Coverage Care, we believe we have been and continue to be open and transparent about the situation in our homes. We communicate on a regular basis with all relatives and do our best to enable residents to maintain positive communications with their family members.
- We send weekly family letters via email updating everyone on what is happening in Coverage Care during the COVID- 19 pandemic
- We post regular updates on our website
- We purchased additional laptops to facilitate Skype calls between residents and their families. Feedback from relatives about this has been very positive.
- Individual homes make contact with relatives if a resident’s condition changes and reporting schedule is agreed to make sure relatives are kept up to speed on their family member’s health
- We have actively increased our social media engagement to make sure family members can view all the positive things taking place within our homes
Has Coverage Care furloughed any of its employees?
A small number of our staff are deemed as vulnerable and require to be shielded in line with the Government’s guidance. In some of these cases staff have been furloughed.
When will restrictions on visitors be lifted?
Our key focus at all homes is the safety of our residents and staff. A decision was taken on March 13 to restrict all non-essential visitors to homes, including family and friends. This decision was taken to combat the spread of infection. At the moment it is too soon to say when we might be able to relax these restrictions. We continue to follow Government guidance and, should the official advice change, we will undertake a review of the current measures we have in place.
What if I have further concerns?