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Coronavirus update 

Last updated 29/06/2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

Since our latest update it is fair to say that the Health & Social Care sector has very much been at the forefront of the news and media. Protecting our residents from Coronavirus continues to be the main focus of our efforts currently alongside working with the national and local health and social care authorities to achieve testing, training and support.

Whilst it is encouraging that the figures being released by the Office for National Statistics show a great downward trend in the number of people passing away due to coronavirus in care homes, we still must remain diligent and ‘Stay Alert’.  We would like to again extend our thanks to all families and residents who have gracefully continued to accept the restrictions we put in place to for the Coronavirus Lockdown.   Whilst our visiting policy remains unchanged since our last update in late April, we have been regularly in touch with our families and of course our residents on a personal basis since then.   We are looking at how we can start to ease our own lockdown and will be sharing this with families shortly.

New Admissions

We are pleased to say we are now accepting admissions of new residents and can do this in the safest way possible with access to testing to ensure the new resident is COVID negative, and then a period of isolation / barrier nursing once moved in to ensure no symptoms develop.  We are very grateful that our environment allows us the space to admit new residents in such a safe way giving those residents, their families and our staff the peace of mind that any risk of transmission of the virus is eliminated as far as possible.

The Park View current status

We are pleased to say that Park View has remained COVID-19 free since mid April.   On the whole Park View Gloucester was impacted much less than many other care homes, although very sadly residents did pass away.  We cannot begin to comprehend how difficult that must be to come to terms with during this current situation and we mourn for their loss. Thankfully, due to everyone’s efforts, more residents recovered from this virus than passed. We believe this is a result of the quick action we took at the start and during the outbreak to protect our residents, ensuring we obtained sufficient stocks of PPE and establishing clear procedures for our staff to follow in line with the guidance provided by the Government and Public Health England. We do believe the design of the building with its spacious communal areas and wide hallways is fundamental in allowing us to socially distance indoors and greatly minimise the possibility of spreading the virus. 

As you may be aware, the testing availability for staff and residents has now increased and the testing kits that are available to us have all been used as appropriate.  Any resident showing any symptoms is tested, and any resident attending hospital for an overnight visit for any reason is also tested.   We took a test ‘snapshot’ of the home last month where we tested all staff and all residents.  All staff tested negative, but we did have one resident test positive, who was of course immediately cared for by barrier nursing.  There were no symptoms present and on retesting the resident was found to be negative. 

Ongoing, any positive tests will of course be actioned and isolated immediately. Contacts will be tracked and traced.  We will continue to access as much testing as is made available from Public Health England, CQC and local testing centres.  We are also keeping a close watch on the availability of Antibody testing as we believe this will give us a greater control over ensuring our most vulnerable residents are as safe as possible, although it is emerging that thee are concerns over the reliability of these tests.

We remain immensely proud of all our staff and their professionalism, dedication and above all, care which has been reflected in all the positive feedback we have received.  We have been overwhelmed and greatly humbled by the messages of support, and gifts we have received from families and the greater local community 

PPE  

We still do not have a shortage of appropriate PPE or hand sanitiser and have plenty of stock to ensure we have enough should a further outbreak occur.   We have maintained, and even increased in some areas, our levels of infection control, cleanliness etc.   

We closely follow the guidance and relevant updates from Public Health England on the use of PPE and ensure we use it appropriately, conducting regular checks with staff to observe techniques.

End of life  - the Park View approach

We fully appreciate how difficult it must be to be told you may not visit a loved one at the end of their life.  At Park View family members are NOT excluded from seeing loved ones at this time, but are given protective equipment so that if they wish, they may visit and spend precious moments at such an important time.  With the availability of testing now we can ensure that families are safe in the knowledge of the COVID-19 status of their loved one and can act accordingly.

Please be reassured that our team will be in contact if your relative becomes unwell and will keep you updated of any changes.  If it becomes evident that your loved one is nearing the end of their life we will do our utmost to arrange for those family members who wish, to come and visit.

Living life to the full

Many of our residents have expressly stated their wishes to still ‘live life’ despite the virus, and we therefore continue to provide activities as safely as possible to nurture and maintain emotional and physical wellbeing.  We have really aimed to ‘think outside the box’ on how to hold purposeful activities safely.  Our Activities Team have really pulled the rabbit out of the hat (metaphorically only currently but watch this space!) in creating meaningful Activities inside and outside using all the space available to us – and all staff have embraced our new approach – we are sure some of our new ways of working will stick after the end of the pandemic.   Last month we welcomed the new ‘Indoor/Outdoor’ space so we can enjoy time outside in the shade.  Sunscreen and Hats are available for all.

Keeping in touch and “seeing” your relatives

Many families continue to have regular scheduled Skype / telephone calls with their loved ones within the home, and we continue to telephone family members with updates.   Our ‘pod visits’, have proven to be really popular and successful giving families and residents the opportunity to see and speak to each other through an intercom.  We are looking at how we can extend this to more family members  in a safe way according to risk posed by a: the family’s living and working situation, and b: the resident’s living situation.  Our social media posts have garnered a huge following and private emails containing photos of residents continuing to enjoy activities have been welcomed.

Our staff  -  our greatest asset

Many organisations say this, but we mean it and do our utmost to demonstrate it in everything we do.

We continue to support our staff through the pandemic and want to ensure as far as possible that our staff feel supported and appreciated – although our ‘shop’ is less used now supermarkets have lessened their queues, but we are ensuring we make time for supportive 1:1 meetings and ‘household’ staff meetings to ensure communication is not lost with social distancing and separation of ‘households’ within the home.  We celebrate and reward our achievements and offer support for the more difficult days and are looking at other ways to reward staff.

To sum up

Having to find different ways of working to promote wellbeing, train and support staff,  and keep a meaningful activities schedule for our residents during this time has had its challenges, but we believe we have more than risen to the occasion – in fact we have never been busier!    We think that some of these ways of working will stick for the future.  It has certainly captured the team spirit of supporting each other – we have never been prouder of our staff than we are now. We hope you agree.


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01452 671 499