Caring for almost 1,400 individuals in 26 care home locations during one of the most unprecedented times observed in recent history has given rise to an exponential number of challenges; but in addition to ensuring best practice and preparations for any suspected outbreaks, B&M Care has made it paramount to reassure our homes and those that live there by answering their questions and concerns.
Content with our responses, residents have asked for their questions to be published to help us all better understand about what is going on.
Why was everyone buying toilet paper? – Doreen, White Plains (Denham)
Panic-buying is a phenomenon that’s plagued many of the countries devastated by COVID-19 – and one of the most sought-after commodities has been toilet paper. Consumer analysts have stated that this stockpiling started on the basis of people trying to be practical and purchase as much as they could in case they had to self-isolate. Among other foods and essentials, retailers have since rationed toilet paper – both in-store and online.
My dog is currently living with my daughter – will he still be walked? – Kathleen, Tremona (Watford)
In line with tighter restrictions announced week commencing 23rd March, the government has enforced a lockdown to encourage people to stay at home, but is advising those that wish to exercise to do this once a day – of which includes walking your dog. Parks will remain open, subject to the approval of local authorities, but remember to remain 2 metres (about three steps) away from other people.
So, the schools have now closed, what will my grandchildren be doing?
– Mary, Templemore (Northampton)
In line with research proving that children, although they are at less risk of serious illness, are ‘invisible carriers’ and may be key to spreading the virus, the government has since closed schools in England to encourage young people to stay at home – and in response to this, a number of initiatives have been set-up to ensure young people can still access content from their current school curriculum. These include: offline learning that encourages individual studying; home-tutoring that can be facilitated by a parent in the same household or via video link by someone in another location; and virtual classrooms organised by a teacher that replicates a seminar-based presentation. In addition to learning, children worldwide are taking part in a vocational project, titled ‘Chase the Rainbow’: a craft-led campaign that sees children paint rainbows to display in their windows at home to spread hope and cheer in their local communities.
What happens if you can’t work from home?
– Roy, Milford Lodge (Hitchin)
An employer has a duty of care for staff, and should, at this time, be encouraging home working. Although this puts new responsibilities on an employer, for example, providing equipment for an employee, depending on a person’s contract or role, an individual may still be employed, but currently have no work or be unable to carry out their work from home. Now, the plan is, in line with government guidelines, an employer will be able to access grants from the UK’s tax authority to allow them to keeping paying the individual. This means that the employee will be entitled to 80% of gross wages in the private sector, which is capped at £2,500 per month.
For self-employed people who have suffered a loss in income, a taxable grant will be paid worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years – up to a cap of £2,500 per month. This will be called the ‘Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme’ and is open to those who were trading in the last financial year, are still trading now, and planning to continue doing so this year.
I’m worried about my family, how do I speak to them?
– Elizabeth, Ashlyns (Berkhamsted)
In line with our Group-wide commitment to integrating technology into day-to-day practice, each of our homes have tablet devices, and respective apps, to contact friends & relatives. These include: WhatsApp groups; video calling such as FaceTime & Skype; and ‘email postcard’ schemes.
Will we still receive food deliveries (and fish & chips on a Friday)?
– Maureen, The Lodge (Hemel Hempstead)
Each of our homes’ deliveries remain uninterrupted and will still receive food and home essentials (including toilet paper).
What if I fall ill within my home?
– Derek, St Leonards (Aylesbury)
In line with our ‘Coronavirus Strategy’, B&M Care is prepared for any suspected outbreaks in each of our homes, including our Head Office. Weekly updates are communicated across the Group by our Senior Management Team to ensure all members of staff are delivering best practice in line with precautionary measures set out in the above policy.
Since Wednesday 18th March, the B&M Care Group has been ‘cocooned’ and closed its doors to all external visitors to reduce both footfall and risk of infection.