Information for Service Users & Families (Springfield Care Villages)

30th March 2020

Dear relative or friend of Springfield Healthcare,

I am writing to you following my recent communications in respect of coronavirus to offer you my latest update. I will communicate as often as is necessary, consistently to maintain transparency.

I would like to thank everyone for their understanding and support at this very difficult time. We all understand the enormity of the situation and the sacrifices you as family members and Springfield colleagues are making. We have had so many lovely messages of support, compliments and acts of kindness shown to my colleagues who appreciate this greatly, at times your support has been overwhelming and I would personally like to thank you for this.

There are many activities taking place, it is a lovely sight to see all the rainbows in the windows at some of our care homes, clap for Carers/NHS again very touching scenes throughout the country. I see evidence of innovative activities, staff going the extra mile and the joy the video calls are bringing to families. I have now received the mobile phones which will increase the amount of communication from the homes.

On a day to day basis we continue business as usual although we have had several staff members in each home going off to self- isolate for a variety of reasons we continue to have sufficient staff. We are moving staff around in the homes colleagues are moving between jobs to ensure the smooth running of the homes and continuity of care. Many precautions are in place to maintain safety and reduce any identified risks.

This week we are checking care plans, in particular advanced care plans. Many of you will have contributed when loved ones were admitted, many residents are able to be part of the process and discussions and to make their own wishes known. However on occasions we are able to consult relatives who have been identified by the person or other relatives who for example have power of attorney (For health). We are always mindful of the principles of the Mental Capacity Act and Best Interest decisions.

Our GPs have started checking medications, reviewing and looking if we have sufficient stock due to the uncertainties over the coming weeks.

GPs will also need to discuss with residents and families, as appropriate, care planning for when people become unwell or may be unable to fight off the virus. We all want to make sure that people’s spiritual needs and wishes, the things they want and do not want to happen are respected. These are difficult and sensitive conversations to have but they are important ones, important considerations to think about.

We will at all times offer kindness and compassion and the very best care possible. Please try not to worry. I am extremely grateful for the dedication and care colleagues continue to offer in this period of shielding our residents.

If you have any further questions or would like to speak to a member of the team, please in the first instance, could I direct you to the manager of the home or Angela Randle Head of Kindness, Care and Quality. Visit www.springfieldhealthcare.com/coronavirus-updates/ for latest updates.

Warm regards,

Cyd Akrill M.B.E
Chief Nursing Office

24th March 2020

Dear relative or friend of Springfield Healthcare,

I am writing to you, following my recent communication in respect of coronavirus and would like to offer you our latest update.

In my last communication I advised if we had any suspected cases of COVID-19 or if we received different advice from the Government I would have to review the plan which was in place at the time and we may have to consider stopping visits altogether.

I must balance many different opinions, thoughts and requests. I would like to be as honest and transparent as I can when I say I have found this decision a very difficult one to make. I have looked and considered all options open to me and I have discussed this with the Directors within Springfield Healthcare.

This is not a decision I have taken lightly but one made with the well-being and safety of residents, visitors and colleagues in mind. It is my belief that we need to take what will be seen as drastic action in response to the unprecedented position we are currently facing in the country.

Over the weekend the Government issued new guidance to 1.5 million of the most vulnerable people and informed them to self -isolate for at least 12 weeks. The NHS will contact people over 70 years of age and those with serious health conditions in the next few days.

Robert Jenrick, Communities Secretary said the Government had to shield the most vulnerable to save their lives.
As residents in our care homes are extremely vulnerable to the coronavirus and fall within the criteria as deemed by the Government, we have taken the difficult decision to temporarily suspend all visits from relatives and friends, unless in the most exceptional circumstances. We believe that by reducing all but vital visitors to our homes this will help protect the health and safety of residents.

We appreciate we have people in our care who are very poorly and may be nearing the end of their life, we will continue to balance the risk to them, other residents in the home and the need to have loved ones close. People who are nearing the end of their life will always be our priority as will their relatives and I know you will agree with this approach.

We want to reassure you that, whilst we are doing our best to keep life as normal as possible for residents, our intention is to follow advice from Public Health England and the Government to determine when visits will return to normal. The Government have advised the measures in place will be for up to 12 weeks.

We will continue to support residents to keep in touch with loved ones via other methods, such as phone and video calls, letters or emails in the short term.

The teams and I are aware of our responsibilities and will persevere throughout these difficult and challenging times.

I would like to thank you all very much for your understanding and support of the homes and my colleagues who will without doubt meet the challenges they face in the coming weeks.

If you have any further questions or would like to speak to a member of the team, please in the first instance, could I direct you to the manager of the home or Angela Randle Head of Kindness, Care and Quality.

Warm regards,
Cyd Akrill M.B.E
Chief Nursing Officer

17th March 2020

Dear relative or friend of Springfield Healthcare,

I am writing to you, following my recent communication in respect of the coronavirus and would like to offer you a weekly update.
Going forward we will continue to update you weekly via letter or email in addition we are creating a website dedicated specifically for the purpose of all coronavirus linked information. Please if possible would you kindly inform the manager or receptionist in each home of your preferred method of contact.

You will be aware that the UK has now entered the next phase of their contingency plan which is one of Delay, to try and delay the spread of the virus to enable the country to cope. There are many conflicting pieces of information and advice at the moment, information which changes daily and often lacks detail. By receiving the most relevant and up to date information from the Government, Chief Medical Officer and the Public Health Authorities we, as a senior team, look at the risk, discuss all information, ascertain the risk and agree a plan.  The Director’s and Board are updated on a regular basis and I discuss the topics daily with the Chief Operating Officer. I appreciate that on occasions we see many specialist and experts, offering conflicting advice, we want to offer reassurance and by giving clear information and direction we reduce some of your anxieties.

We have now stopped all events in the homes which involve movement through resident communities, and are increasing community based activities
We have cancelled all non- emergency contractors and have asked each home manager to liaise directly with their local areas to discuss monitoring or regulatory visits are kept to a minimum to encourage social distancing. The Care Quality Commission have now stopped all inspections in the homes and have reduced the amount of information they request and deadlines to take the pressure off providers over the coming weeks.

There will be many businesses who will have to close for set durations, this will put pressure on them financially and inevitably they will have to make their staff redundant. We are more than happy, subject to the appropriate checks, satisfactory DBS and them being of the right calibre, to employ more colleagues during this period.

We are also training non – care staff in order to meet the shortfall in numbers we are expecting over the coming months.

The teams and I are well aware of our responsibilities and will persevere throughout these difficult and challenging times.

I made the request last week to relatives and friends to ask you not to visit to allow us time to establish a robust contingency plan, identify safer routes in and out of the home and communicate to all as appropriate. I would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding, the decrease in visiting has been invaluable. The time has afforded the teams the opportunity to offer certain residents more support, extra personal support for staff and prepare the in depth plans required.

We have now identified routes in each home which reduce the time spent travelling through a community and minimises the risk to residents.
We will try whenever possible to facilitate some visits either in a residents own room or identified safe area.
Please can I ask you to discuss with the manager of the home prior to visiting to ensure we can facilitate the visit.

Obviously at the moment making the arrangements for visits is taking more time than usual therefore we will need to limit visits and ask for your full cooperation in this matter. Time is precious at the moment, in the coming weeks we will have a reduced workforce and residents who will have increased needs.

We appreciate we have people in our care who are very poorly and may be nearing the end of their life, we will continue to balance the risk to them, other residents in the home and the need to have loved ones close. People who are nearing the end of their life will always be our priority as will their relatives and I know you will agree with this approach.

All visitors will be asked to wash their hands prior to entering the home to visit their loved ones.  We prefer hand washing as opposed to using hand sanitiser, therefore you will be directed to the nearest facilities.

Every person who visits increases the risk to themselves and more importantly the people in our care.
If and when we have any suspected cases or differing advice from the Government we will review the current plan in place. I do expect in the coming weeks we may need to have a complete ban for as short a period of time as needed.

The risk at the present time remains moderate, this unfortunately will change, we will adjust accordingly to meet the demands placed on the homes and colleagues working in them.  We must track the activity in other countries and be prepared as per our ongoing contingency plan. Please be assured that we are closely following and complying with the Public Health Authorities to keep residents and colleagues safe.

I would like to thank you all very much for your understanding and support of the homes and my colleagues who will without doubt meet the challenges they face in the coming weeks.

If you have any further questions or would like to speak to a member of the team, please in the first instance, could I direct you to the manager of the home or Angela Randle Head of Kindness, Care and Quality.

Warm regards,

Cyd Akrill M.B.E
Chief Nursing Officer

 
13th March 2020

Dear relative or friend of Springfield Healthcare,

I am writing to you, following my recent letters, to offer further information and updates in respect of the coronavirus.

You will be aware the government have moved to the next phase of their plan -the delay phase which basically means we must try to balance the spread of the virus to reduce the impact on the healthcare system so they can better manage.

We continue to take many steps in order to minimise the risks to the people who live in our homes.

All events, which involved movement through resident communities and non -essential visits for example by contractors have been cancelled or postponed.

Our regulators and other authorities have been notified, we continue to monitor advice from the Public Health Authorities and Government websites.

The advice at the moment is any person who is presenting with a persistent cough and or high temperature must self-isolate. We currently have residents who are being cared for in their rooms due to symptoms of concern which I would deem mild symptoms. Unfortunately, unless people are transferred to hospital, they will not be tested routinely for covid 19 / coronavirus.

The critical care beds in our hospitals are in short supply and people will be prioritised, the most poorly people will be transferred to hospital, those presenting with mild symptoms will be cared for and monitored in the community.

As expected, and in line with many pieces of advice and evidence I must now ask you not to visit your loved ones or friends who are living in our homes. This decision has not been taken lightly but in view of advice, evidence and my knowledge, this is the right thing to do. We are in unprecedented times, this has been a very difficult decision to make but in my heart, I feel it is the correct one.

Please in the first instance if you have any queries or concerns could I ask that you speak to the manager or deputy of the home. When we have residents with symptoms who need to self-isolate, we “barrier nurse” them in line with our infection control policy. By reducing visits this also gives colleagues more time which can be devoted to the people in our care.

We appreciate we have people currently who are very poorly and may be nearing the end of their life, we will balance the risk to them, other residents in the home and the need to have their loved ones close. I am very aware how upsetting this could be, we will try to get the balance right and will always be mindful of supporting you and the people in our care.

We have identified a route in each home which does not involve, or reduces the time going through the communal areas, people who are poorly would be in their rooms and again this reduces the risk to others.

In discussion with the manager of the home we can offer an update every few days on the condition or activity of your loved one. We can look at alternative ways to keep in touch for example, phone calls, email or video calls again please discuss this with the manager who will ensure the team are aware and monitor this. I hope this offers you some reassurance. If at any time we are concerned or a person in our care becomes unwell or deteriorates we will of course inform you and arrange for you to visit.

At Springfield we are committed to residents and colleagues, these measures are to protect them and also you who are in the wider community.

We would greatly appreciate your support and cooperation during the coming weeks, we will endeavour to keep you informed on a weekly basis with all measures and updates.
If you have any further questions or would like to speak to a member of the team, please in the first instance, could I direct you to the manager of the home or Angela Randle Head of Kindness, Care and Quality.

Warm regards,

Cyd Akrill M.B.E
Chief Nursing Officer

 

11th March 2020

Dear relative or friend of Springfield Healthcare,

I am writing to you, following my recent letter, to offer further information in respect of the coronavirus.

The UK remains in the containment phase which mainly involves preventing the spread of the virus. However, I expect the government will shortly move to the next phase in the coming days, this being one of delaying the spread. We are taking many steps in order to minimise the risks to the people in our care.

Next week we will stop all events in the homes which involve movement through resident communities, this will include entertainment and training sessions. We have commenced this process and may have to escalate actions in line with advice from the Public Health Authorities.

We are making alternative arrangements for training sessions and induction programmes to host these away from the homes. Each home will be looking at how they can continue to deliver a programme of events in the home without using external sources.

We have cancelled all non- emergency contractors and have asked each home manager to liaise directly with their local areas to discuss monitoring or regulatory visits are kept to a minimum to encourage social distancing.

We are also encouraging visitors to reduce their visits and if any person has a cold, cough or temperature we will request they do not enter the home. All visitors will be asked to wash their hands prior to entering the home to visit their loved ones. We prefer hand washing as opposed to using hand sanitiser, therefore you will be directed to the nearest facilities.

Over the coming weeks we are entering into unprecedented times and will have to make difficult but sensible decisions. It is vital we have your full cooperation in this matter, I do expect we will have to stop visits to loved ones very soon, in anticipation I would like you to discuss this with the manager of the home. We appreciate we have people in our care who are very poorly and may be nearing the end of their life, we will balance the risk to them, other residents in the home and the need to have their loved ones close. I am very aware how upsetting this could be therefore we will try to get the balance right and will always be mindful of supporting you and the people in our care.

The risk at the present time remains low to moderate, this unfortunately will change, we will adjust accordingly to meet the demands placed on the homes and colleagues working in them. We must track the activity in other countries and be prepared as per our ongoing contingency plan. As part of our contingency, we are training non care staff in the event of any staff shortages we will have additional staff to assist in the homes.

We would greatly appreciate your support with all these measures. Please be assured that we are closely following and complying with the Public Health Authorities to keep residents and colleagues safe.

I would like to thank you all for your continued support of the home and my colleagues who will without doubt meet the challenges they face in the coming weeks.
If you have any further questions or would like to speak to a member of the team, please in the first instance, could I direct you to the manager of the home or Angela Randle Head of Kindness, Care and Quality.

Warm regards,

Cyd Akrill M.B.E
Chief Nursing Officer