Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, virtually met with team members at Gracewell of Kentford care home, on Monday 21st December, to discuss the care home’s innovative visiting protocol - which has allowed residents to have meaningful contact with their loved ones.
The Health Secretary heard from Peter Walton, the care home’s General Manager, about how this protocol has proven invaluable to numerous residents and their families. The protocol, known as ‘Safe Visits’, identifies ways that family members can safely see their loved ones in a meaningful way, including holding hands, where there is a clinical need.
Hancock also thanked the care home for providing inspiration to the changes in government guidance earlier this year which re-introduced visits to care homes.
The Health Secretary said:
“I wanted to make sure that the guidance was clinically correct, and you showed how this could be done. I really appreciate what you are doing, not only in Kentford and across the country, but in inspiring the national guidance changes that we have been able to bring through.”
Speaking of the introduction of these visits, Peter said:
“There was a sense of determination that we wanted to implement safe visiting. We’ve had huge support from the region and Gracewell Healthcare, and it has been brilliant to see the reaction of residents and their loved ones when they have been able to see each other again.”
Anna Selby, Head of Gracewell Healthcare’s COVID-19 Task Force, also spoke about the care provider’s testing regime which underpins this protocol.
By using regular Lateral Flow Testing, Gracewell of Kentford has been able to effectively manage the risks associated with bringing visitors into the care home. Anna said that these tests, combined with appropriate PPE, has been key to facilitating numerous interactions in a safe and controlled environment.
Speaking of the care home’s efforts to implement this protocol, Beverly Cardosa, Gracewell’s Regional Director of Operations for the South East, said:
“The past nine months have been clearly challenging for our team members who have been at the coal face of the pandemic. They’ve worked hard to balance the expectations of our residents and their families against protecting the care home from the virus. Yet by making effective decisions on a day-to-day basis, they’ve been truly successful at maximising the quality of life for all at Gracewell of Kentford.”
Matt Hancock then welcomed an invitation to visit the care home in person, when it is safe to do so, insisting that the care home stays in touch to keep him updated on their innovative work.
For more information about Gracewell of Kentford, click here.