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’, including use of bedrooms, 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.
- All residents are recommended to nominate an Essential Care Giver who can have less restricted visits and spend time in their loved ones room - subject to the same testing and PPE requirements as our care staff. Please contact your loved one’s Home Manager for more information.
2. How are you managing new admissions?
- All admissions to our care homes require a Covid test prior to admission.
- All admissions are assessed using a risk stratification system. Admissions where we deem that there is a high risk of Covid-19 transmission are kept apart from our existing residents for a period of 14 days.
- Admissions are no longer required to isolate in their rooms as long as certain criteria are met, including having no known exposure to Covid-19 in the fortnight prior to admission, having daily testing upon admission, and having a negative test prior to admission.
- 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 face-to-face tours of our facilities for the prospective resident plus a family member, in accordance with our IPC requirements, and subject to being fully vaccinated (from 11th November 2021). Virtual tours via, for example, web call are still being offered.
- This tour will be supported by LFD testing and PPE will need to be worn.
- 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. Or cohort together with small groups of people with the same isolation dates.
- During the initial period, it will be possible for Essential Care Givers ( all admissions) or Nominated Visitors (low risk admissions) to visit the newly admitted resident.
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.
- Since 17th May we have had 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 since 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 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.
- 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.
- We are disposing of waste in line with government guidance and in accordance with our waste disposal companies.
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.
- 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. .
6. 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.
7. What are you doing around vaccination?
- Virtually all of our residents have been vaccinated with 2 doses and a booster by the home’s GP or affiliated nursing colleagues.
- According to the Mandatory Vaccination of Care Home Staff legislation, all people entering our care homes in a professional capacity since 11th September 2021, are fully vaccinated or officially exempt.
- 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 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.