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. 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.
- We continue to replenish stock from those suppliers, and are also working with our Local Authorities and the government supply lines as these routes open up.
- 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.
2. 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 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.
- For those areas with buttons and difficult to clean surfaces, these have been covered with plastic sheeting that can be cleaned.
- 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.
- We have developed a new ‘entry-exit’ procedure for staff to enable social distancing and effective IPC when arriving and leaving work
- All staff have their temperatures checked daily when arriving at work, and are not allowed to work if their temperature is above 37.8 degrees
- We have modified our staff facilities to allow for additional space for staff to get changed at work and store their clothes
- 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 have undertaken modifications to our communal areas to allow for effective Social Distancing of staff and residents where possible
- We are undertaking detailed and thorough Infection Control Audits regularly in all our care homes
- Workmen are only entering our homes for essential repairs and maintenance. They are wearing PPE and following stringent infection control
- We are disposing of waste in line with government guidance and in accordance with our waste disposal companies
- Deliveries to our care homes are cleaned with disinfectant on entry
3. What action are you taking as an organisation to deal with the Covid pandemic?
- Since February 2020 we have met with the Senior Team at Head Office at least twice weekly to go through our Covid Strategy and make necessary updates
- We were one of the first Care Home Providers in the country to bring in our ‘cocooning strategy’ on 11th March 2020
- We have regular ‘virtual meetings’ with our Operations Managers who deliver key messages to and from the homes
- We have regular ‘virtual meetings’ with all our managers where we share experience, deliver key messages and provide peer support
- 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.
- The above means our ‘number of new suspected cases’ might seem higher than it actually is- because we are including people who may have other conditions. We arrange testing for all symptomatic residents.
- We follow Public Health England advice and the advice of our NHS colleagues if we suspect a new outbreak of Covid 19 in a care home
- We are currently organising testing of every resident monthly and every staff member weekly as per the Government guidelines for care homes.
- 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
4. How are you isolating your residents with Covid-19?
- All our bedrooms have en-suite facilities
- We adhere to government advice on isolation for suspected and confirmed cases of Covid 19 for 14 days
- For residents with dementia, our experience shows us that in many cases and with good care from our staff, they are happy to remain in their rooms for the required period.
- For those residents who need to roam, we have a cohorting strategy where residents with Covid 19 symptoms are looked after together in a mobile space where they will not interact with other unexposed residents. Each home has an individual approach to cohorting, tailored to suit the environment of the home.
- In some of our facilities we have created ‘Rainbow Suites’ or ‘Rainbow Areas’ where residents can isolate in an environment with more facilities than a bedroom. Or cohort together with small groups of people with the same isolation dates.
5. How are you looking after resident’s well-being?
- 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 well-being
- 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
- Isolation in their rooms for long periods of time clearly creates challenges for a person’s wellbeing. Our staff all work hard to provide meaningful activities and engagement for residents in this position. We utilise technology to allow communication to family/friends, we have garden entertainers they can watch through the window, we use music as a distraction. We are also monitoring people’s well-being at all times and engage with health professionals if we see a decline. So far the 14 day isolation period does not appear to have a lasting effect on our resident’s well-being.
- For residents who are not in isolation, we are using the outdoors as much as possible for activities and entertainment. There are projects and clubs going on in our care homes just as much as normal, the only difference is that we are not having entertainers coming into our homes, but many are using technology to ‘virtually’ be there. And entertainers are back in the homes entertaining in our outdoors areas.
- Residents can go on drives out singly or in small groups in our company vehicles, strict infection control and social distancing is practiced.
- 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 from November even during the pandemic.
- We have established the role of ‘key worker volunteer’ for key relatives to enable them enhanced visiting options during the pandemic. These people have undergone structured training in IPC and PPE donning and doffing. Their loved one has an individualised visiting plan and their role varies from person to person.
6. How are you managing new admissions?
- All admissions to our care homes require a Covid test prior to admission. And all admissions must remain apart from our other residents for a period of 14 days. This controlled approach to admission protects the in-coming residents and our existing residents.
- Admissions of Covid positive hospital patients are only accepted after a minimum of 14 days isolation in a health care facility and once all symptoms have resolved
- For new enquiries, we are offering ‘virtual tours’ of our facilities for the moment
- If it helps to make a final decision, we can offer a visit to the home for the resident plus a family member in accordance with our IPC requirements.
- Each home has a slightly different approach to where they place new-coming residents and this can be discussed on an individual basis with the home of your choice.
- In several of our facilities we have created ‘Rainbow Suites’ or ‘Rainbow Areas’ where residents can isolate in an environment with more facilities than a bedroom. Or cohort together with small groups of people with the same isolation dates.
- During the initial period, it may be possible for nominated individuals to visit the newly admitted reside
7. Can I visit my relative in your care home?
- Since 1st June we have been allowing visits to our residents in a controlled and safe manner according to our Visitors Protocol
- All our care homes have set up a dedicated ‘visiting area’ that is considered a safe place for resident and relative to meet in a socially distanced way without compromising the safety of other residents or staff
- Where possible, there is an outdoor area that has been set apart for these essential visits. If weather or situation does not permit an outdoors visit, there will be an allocated area indoors, away from any communal area. In some cases, this will be in a resident’s bedroom if that is deemed the most appropriate location.
- For residents who are unable to leave their bedrooms ‘essential’ visits will be conducted in their rooms following stringent IPC procedures.
- All visits are conducted according to our visitor’s protocol which includes use of PPE and a temperature check.
- We follow guidance of the Local Public Health England team regarding the need to suspend visits due to increases in the R number locally or for any other reason.