The health, wellbeing and safety of our residents and staff remains paramount during the unprecedented climate. To uphold this commitment, B&M Care has put in place comprehensive contingency plans that respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the UK.
In line with the latest government guidelines, the information below outlines the steps B&M Care continues to take to best protect our residents and staff.
Due to individual differences between our homes, the way these processes are achieved in each care home setting may vary accordingly.
1. Can I visit my relative in your care home?
- Yes, absolutely. We understand how important it is to both relatives and residents to have visits.
- We are following the latest government guidance on care home visits which can be found here: COVID-19 supplement to the infection prevention and control resource for adult social care - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- We ask that for now you continue to pre-book your visits so we can plan out staffing levels accordingly as we are still taking enhanced measures to keep you and your loved ones safe.
- We can offer internal, external and bedroom visits to suit our residents’ individual preferences
- All visits are conducted according to the government guidance which includes use of PPE and a temperature check, and for visitors delivering personal care, the requirement for an LFD test on arrival.
- We follow guidance of the Local Public Health England team regarding the need to limit visits during outbreaks but all residents will always be permitted a minimum of one visitor even during outbreaks.
2. How are you managing new admissions?
- We continue to welcome new residents into our homes
- All admissions to our care homes require a Covid test prior to admission.
- We are no longer required to isolate new residents upon admission unless they are deemed to be at high risk of carrying Covid-19 following our risk assessment, or if they themselves have active Covid-19 infection, or if they are unable to tolerate Covid-19 testing.
- For new enquiries, we are offering face-to-face tours of our facilities for the prospective resident plus a family member, in accordance with our IPC requirements. Virtual tours are still being offered for those who cannot visit in-person.
- If isolation is required due to it being a higher risk admission, several of our facilities have created ‘Rainbow Suites’ or ‘Rainbow Areas’ where residents can isolate in an environment with more facilities than a bedroom. One visitor will be permitted during this isolation spell.
3. How are you looking after residents' wellbeing?
- We are working hard behind the scenes to make life as normal as possible in our care homes for the residents who live there, creating invisible barriers around them in order to allow them freedom within their area of the home, to live well during these challenging times.
- With years of experience in looking after elderly residents with or without a dementia, we are aware of the importance of social interaction and wellbeing.
- Our Engagement Leads and all our staff have been trained in our Rose Model of Dementia Care and are all experts in the personalised approach to care which is important to all residents regardless of a dementia diagnosis.
- We have a nearly-normal programme of Activities and Engagement within our care homes, with entertainers, or our in-house Engagement Leads and Activity Organisers, on-hand to plan personalised, meaningful occupation for our residents.
- Residents are welcome to go on trips out in-line with government guidance on care home visits out.
- We have created a Covid-secure ‘home from home’ visiting venue we call The Hideaway to enable all our residents to be able to go on scheduled trips out in small groups.
- Covid has become part of our normal working practice
4. What enhanced Infection Prevention and Control Procedures (IPC) have you implemented?
- All staff have undertaken in-house IPC training. Additional training is being rolled out across the UK by NHS nurses and we are availing of this as well.
- Every Care Home has a Rainbow Champion and there is always a Rainbow Lead on duty who is responsible for doing extra checks to ensure IPC policies and Covid procedures are being followed.
- We have increased our cleaning schedule to allow for a rolling deep clean programme to ensure all areas of the care homes are ‘deep cleansed’ at least monthly.
- We have purchased anti-bacterial ‘foggers’ to undertake deep cleaning in homes during and after outbreaks
- We have also increased the daily cleaning to allow frequently touched areas (e.g. light switches, door handles, corridor rails) to be cleaned several times a day.
- We have devised a Rainbow Code of Conduct which is a voluntary code we are
encouraging all our staff to sign up to and make a commitment to adhering to stringent infection control practices at work and obeying government guidelines outside of work.
- Agency staff are only used by B&M Care as a last resort.
- We have installed several more hand sanitising units around our care homes and each care home has one externally to be used before entering the home.
- We have placed signage externally and internally to draw attention to the Social Distancing/IPC/PPE requirements.
- We are undertaking detailed and thorough Infection Control Audits regularly in all our care homes.
5. What are you doing as an organisation around Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?
- B&M Care procured a large quantity PPE from our normal suppliers in early March 2020.
- We now source PPE from the national government portal.
- All staff in our care homes are wearing a fluid repellent surgical mask at all times while at work.
- Gloves/aprons/goggles are all worn in the homes in line with government guidelines.
- All our staff have been trained in ‘donning’ and ‘doffing’ and PPE usage.
6. What are you doing around testing?
- We follow all the government guidance on Covid-19 testing and reporting results.
7. What are you doing around vaccination?
- Virtually all of our residents have been vaccinated with 2 doses and boosters by the home’s GP or affiliated nursing colleagues.
- The majority of our staff are also double-vaccinated and boosted.
- We are actively promoting the covid booster vaccine and supporting staff to obtain this.
8. What other action are you taking as an organisation to deal with the Covid pandemic?
- We were one of the first Care Home Providers in the country to bring in our ‘cocooning strategy’ on 11th March 2020.
- We review government guidance and key documents from external organisations and make any necessary changes to our strategy to reflect the latest updates.
- We are tracking daily data from our care homes regarding our staff and residents and can quickly respond if there are any new suspected cases or potential outbreaks.
- Any resident that becomes unwell with any symptom is treated as a potential case and isolated until told otherwise by a Health Professional. This is because our experience, and what we are learning from the NHS, tells us that in elderly people Covid can present as virtually anything, and we want to protect all our residents hence our cautious approach.
- We have regular ‘virtual meetings’ with Herts CC and are in communication when required with our other Local Authorities.
- We are working with our GP partners as well as District Nurses and hospitals to provide information and offer good on-going care to our residents.
- We are flexible in our approach and keep abreast of changes in government policy, keeping up to date with new initiatives as they are announced.
- We have looked at our crisis response during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd waves of Covid-19 and taken some key messages that will now feed into policy development, hopefully helping to protect our residents from any future impending waves of infection.