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Covid-19: Keeping our homes happy and healthy

 

At Gracewell our focus has always been the health, happiness and fulfilment of our residents. It’s why over 95% of our care homes are rated as good or outstanding by the CQC. And in this current climate we don’t believe that should change. That’s why we’ve put in place a range of rigorous measures to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection within our homes, so that we can get on with the important job of protecting the independence and emotional wellbeing of those in our care.

Roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine

"The news of the Pfizer vaccine was truly a landmark moment for us. All our team members have worked exceptionally hard throughout this pandemic, and our residents and their families have been nothing but brave, patient and supportive. The news has given us immense hope - we can finally see light at the end of the tunnel.”

Anna Selby, Head of Gracewell Healthcare's Covid-19 Taskforce

 

So far, team members and residents across numerous Gracewell care homes have received their vaccinations or are booked to receive them. More of our homes are being notified and will receive a date soon.

 

“After having Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, I feel it is safe and effective which is essential to stopping the spread of infection will leads to reducing the rate of mortality and morbidity. It also helps to prevent future outbreaks. I strongly recommend the vaccine so we can support the NHS and social care sector to bring our country back to normality.”

Adarsh Kurian, the General Manager of Gracewell of Newbury

 

What are we actively doing?

Reducing infection risk

Infection control is vital to keep everyone inside our homes safe and healthy. And with this in mind we have put in place a number of enhanced measures to help reduce our risk:  
  • Enhanced cleaning We have increased the regularity of all our cleaning and sanitising procedures and provided extra training where required.
  • Plentiful PPE As well as the NHS Portal we have established our own regional hubs to ensure we have enough PPE to stock our care homes for at least a month. We also allow our team members to use PPE free outside of the work setting to further reduce their risk of exposure.
  • Testing All team members and consenting residents are subject to regular temperature checks and COVID tests to ensure cases are picked up early.
  • High team member to resident ratio We’ve actively recruited to ensure we have enough staff on the ground to maintain the safety and security of our homes, even in the case of illness absence.
  • Minibus services We’re providing minibus services in many areas to help our team members avoid the use of public transport and its associated risks.
 

Listening to the experts

At the start of the pandemic, we immediately realised this wasn’t something that could be managed individually within each of our 21 Gracewell homes. We knew we needed to pull together a group of experts to take the lead and oversee the activities of the entire group. So we set up a Covid-19 Task Force, responsible for ensuring our alignment to the evolving government guidelines on care home safety. During those first months they issued over 120 new protocols, implementing important operational changes in all our care homes. But the job wasn’t over then. The Task Force continues to monitor Covid-19 using their expertise and available data to ensure we are able to keep our residents safe and comfortable.   “The Covid-19 Task Force has steered Sunrise through the pandemic, establishing effective protocols in response to changing government guidance at short notice. Its success is a testament to the wealth of skills and experience we have at our disposal and will continue to lead our approach to managing Covid-19.”
Anna Selby, Head of the Covid-19 Task Force

 

Enabling meaningful contact

We recognise that lockdowns and visiting restrictions have had an impact on our residents and their loved ones. And while this has been necessary to maintain distance to keep everybody safe, we want to do more to help families and friends come together in person once more. 

In order to create opportunities for meaningful contact our team has gone a step or two further than many care homes by: 

  • Putting in place measures to allow residents to continue with a programme of daily activities to keep them active and stimulated.
  • Investing in our homes to provide safe visiting facilities for the future. This ranges from hubs to clear screens which, while not perfect, do allow families and friends to stay connected with their loved ones, seeing them face-to-face rather than on a tablet.
  • Introducing a 'Nominated Person' scheme to enable every resident to choose up to 2 individuals who can visit them as safely and freely as our team. This involves a little training, regular testing and PPE but means residents can be much closer to two family members.
  • Introducing ‘Enhanced Visitor Protocols’ after extensive consultations. As long as risks can be mitigated, Enhanced Visiting means family members can visit their loved ones where there is a demonstrable clinical need or support the move-in process for new residents to reduce any distress.

 

“Sunrise has worked impressively with family members to understand the issues that lockdown has brought and has worked with us to develop a meaningful protocol that will help. I am looking forward to being able to spend more time with Mum, engaging in small activities which will make the world of difference to her.”

A family member’s testimonial on the enhanced visitor protocol.

 

Supporting new residents

Many of our homes are now accepting new residents, whether for respite care or on more permanent residential, nursing or dementia care agreements. While this is ultimately positive, with families who require support to look after a loved one now able to access the care they need, it can be an anxious time too.

In order to make the transition as smooth and risk-free as possible, we’ve established a framework to provide personalised support to both the resident and their family members. It uses established methods to protect existing and new residents from COVID-19, while making sure all parties are able to get the information and reassurance required, and facilitates family support where people may be distressed during the very early days, safely.

To reduce the distress of the transition we may be able to make Enhanced Visiting a possibility so that new residents see more familiar faces who can help them feel at home.

Take a tour of our homes

With the introduction of rapid testing at our care homes, you can now visit and take a tour of our care homes prior to moving in with us. To find out more and to book a tour please contact us on 0800 0318 042.

 

A message from our CEO

“I’m immensely proud of all of our team members, residents and family members for their dedication, endurance and understanding during the Covid-19 pandemic. While this has been a testing time for all, the countless instances of heroism that have been displayed across our organisation have allowed us to manage this pandemic effectively. As we look forward, Sunrise Senior Living UK has put in place strong measures to continue adapting to this challenge, always prioritising the safety and wellbeing of our residents and team members.”

Natalie-Jane Macdonald, CEO of Sunrise Senior Living UK and Gracewell Healthcare

 

  

To see our latest Covid-19 updates, please contact your local Gracewell for more information.

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