Shropshire’s largest independent care provider has invested almost £50,000 in state-of-the-art thermal imaging cameras as it prepares to reopen its homes to visitors for the first time in nearly three months.
Coverage Care Services, which cares for in the region of 800 residents and employs around 1,200 staff, is in the process of installing the cameras at each of its care homes as part of a number of new safety measures.
The high-tech cameras supplied by Shrewsbury-based Border Communications will be used to scan and assess the body temperature of every individual entering its care homes to make sure they are safe to be on the premises.
It is considered to be a less invasive process than requesting to check people’s temperatures with a thermometer.
Screens are also being installed at reception areas and a new protocol for visitors is being drawn up.
Coverage Care Chief Executive David Coull said: “We care for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and up until now it has been too soon for us to open our doors to visitors.
“However, we have been constantly reviewing the restrictions we have in place and are making plans and preparations to start allowing visitors to some of our homes where the thermal cameras have been installed from Wednesday.
“Other homes will follow next week depending on results and all easements at homes will remain under review.
“The thermal imaging cameras present a significant investment and demonstrates how seriously we take the safety and health and well-being of residents, staff and visitors.
“Anyone coming through our doors will have to agree to having their body temperature scanned and will only be allowed to enter if they have a normal temperature. Any sign of a raised temperature and people will be turned away.
“Other new safety measures include plastic screens in our reception areas and we will have limited visiting arrangements in place. Initially we will only be allowing one family member into the home to visit their family and all visits will have to be pre-booked with homes.
“Designated visiting areas will be set up, outdoors when feasible, otherwise inside and they will be thoroughly cleaned in between each appointment. For the time being we will not be allowing children to visit our homes.
“The safety of residents and staff remains our absolute top priority and we will be monitoring any easement of the restrictions extremely carefully.”
He added: “It’s been a tough time for everyone over the last 12 weeks or so. Our staff have worked tremendously hard, our residents have sacrificed seeing loved ones and family members have been hugely supportive.
“We know families are desperate to see their loved ones and we hope the changes we are planning will enable residents to be reunited in a safe and controlled way.”
Sam Thomas from Border Communications added: “We’re proud to support Coverage Care in protecting its residents.
“We have always prided ourselves in providing first class communications and technology solutions to Shropshire businesses.
“It’s fantastic for two local businesses to be able to come together to protect some of the most vulnerable local residents in times of crisis like these.”
It is thought that Coverage Care Services was one of the first care providers in the region to take action to restrict visitors when it placed all its homes in lockdown on March 16, a week ahead of the Government’s own official announcement.
Homes have strict safety measures in place to prevent and limit the spread of any infection and staff continue to be able to access supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Homes are accepting new admissions and referrals but under strict new guidelines including quarantining arrivals where necessary and anyone with active COVID-19 symptoms will not be admitted.
Picture caption: Coverage Care Chief Executive David Coull pictured with Steve Mills from Border Communications at Montgomery House in Shrewsbury where new thermal imaging cameras have been installed.