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.
- 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 the government guidance which includes use of PPE and a temperature check, and for close contact visits, the requirement for an LFD test on arrival.
- Government guidance on care home visits can be found here: Visiting arrangements in care homes - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
- We follow guidance of the Local Public Health England team regarding the need to suspend visits due to increase.
2. 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 in the first instance. We will then offer an escorted tour of the home for the prospective resident plus a family member, in accordance with our IPC requirements.
- This tour will be supported by LFD testing and PPE will need to be worn.
- 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 will be possible for nominated individuals to visit the newly-admitted resident.
3. 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.
4. 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
- 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.
- 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. From May 17th we hope to be able to welcome entertainers back indoors once the lockdown restrictions ease further.
- 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.
- 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. They are supported with regular Covid-19 testing.
5. 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
- 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
- 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.
6. 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.
- During the second peak January - March 2021, we purchased and provided to all care home staff the higher grade FFP2 masks to offer them added protection. .
7. What are you doing around testing?
- All care home staff, Head Office personnel who visit homes, and B&M Care contractors regularly going into homes are being tested for Covid-19 at least 3 times a week.
- We track all their results and should anyone return a positive test they are contact traced and anyone thought to be exposed is also isolated.
- Government funding has allowed us to pay our staff who are off isolating, which encourages honesty and adherence to our testing regime.
8. What are you doing around vaccination?
- Virtually all of our residents have been vaccinated with 1 if not 2 doses by the home’s GP or affiliated nursing colleagues.
- The vast majority of our care home staff and central B&M Care staff who visit care homes have also been vaccinated.
- We are well ahead of the national figures for percentages of care home staff vaccinated.
- We have been actively promoting the vaccine, conducing Q&A sessions, producing literature, testimonials, and we are finding that more and more staff who were initially reluctant are gradually taking up the vaccine.
- Any staff member unvaccinated for medical or personal reasons, has a risk assessment, and may be required to wear enhanced PPE for their own and our residents’ protection.
- We are closely watching the government and legal discussions around mandatory vaccination of staff.
9. What other 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 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 and 2nd wave 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.