Information for Springfield Staff
31st March 2020
Dear Springfield Colleague,
In the coming weeks we will have many difficult decisions to make and will face many uncertainties, I have never in my long career experienced such unprecedented times. The Government and country appear to be doing everything they possibly can in order to work together to get through this.
There are many acts of kindness taking place, shows of appreciation such as Clap for Carers/NHS, which we all found extremely touching and heart-warming. On Friday, I as many other managers and teams did, brought in items which were left in staff rooms for people to take as needed. It was a lovely sight to see the tables overflowing in the three homes I visited, thank you all very much, a very nice touch.
The COVID 19 pandemic raises particular challenges for nursing and care homes, our residents, relatives and you, my colleagues.
The homes have in place business continuity plans and supplementary documentation which will go a long way to address many of the challenges we are aware of, of course we cannot plan for every eventuality. However there are other matters which I would like to discuss and make you aware of.
We have been issued with several recommendations to include the following, we have actioned many and work our way through the remaining.
• Operating procedures for residents suspected and confirmed with COVID 19 including infection control precautions these are now available in all homes. We have a supply of personal protective equipment and continue to receive deliveries weekly. You can help maintain our supplies by only wearing the items when it is deemed appropriate. Please if you are not sure contact Ellie Billany, your home manager or Angela Randle.
• Staff (key) in residential communities will be trained to check the temperatures of residents using a tympanic thermometer . Additional equipment is now in the homes, many staff have been trained and we continue working with others.
• Where possible staff will be trained to measure other vital signs including blood pressure, heart rate, pulse and respiratory rate. This will help to triage and prioritise the support required for residents according to need in order to reduce a degree of pressure from NHS departments.
• Our residents are very often frail and we will need to take this into consideration when making decisions should they become ill with COVID-19
• We are reviewing how we will support people who have a level of cognitive impairment. We cannot and will not restrain residents. There are certain interventions which we can help and support with, Ellie, Kristie and I are on hand to guide and assist. Kindness, compassion and dignity will always be our starting point.
• Work will continue with our healthcare professionals to review advanced care plans, we will need to consider how COVID19 may cause residents to become clinically very unwell. During our discussions, consideration will be given as to whether hospital admission would be considered a benefit or not in these circumstances.
• If palliative or conservative care within our home is deemed more appropriate we will support everyone through this, the resident, relatives and you.
• Review of documentation taking place daily.
• We have been asked to remain open to new admissions as much as possible, this helps to reduce the great pressures that acute hospitals will be under. We have guidance which mitigates many risks, a person who has recovered from COVID-19 should be immune. It is also more likely a person being discharged from the hospital will have been tested should they have displayed any symptoms. We will continue to review all guidance on a daily basis.
• We will use PPE if we are not confident the resident is not free of coronavirus – this could be in the case of a new resident who has not been tested. The resident would self-isolate for 7 days and we would wear PPE.
• Discussions and plans are taking place with GPs and local pharmacists to have an adequate stock of medications in the home for people. We appreciate certain medications may be difficult to obtain, we may have to review, change, alter or discontinue medications. This piece of work has commenced in all homes.
• The GPs will start to have difficult and very sensitive conversations with people who are deemed to be at higher risk from coronavirus.
Please could I ask that you observe, as far as possible, physical distancing when going about your daily routines at home and in the workplace. I have included an additional sheet with this letter explaining some of the measures we have taken to make this easier for you during your working hours.
We have increased the number of colleagues who can assist you with your mental wellbeing and can offer help and support if at any time you want a chat or you feel a little over whelmed with any aspect of this unfolding situation.
At the present time you can, as usual, obtain a sandwich at a reduced cost during kitchen hours, please order in the usual way. I have requested additional supplies, drinks, bread, butter and biscuits are made available in the staff rooms, for you to enjoy, day and night to reduce the trips you have to make to the shops. In the coming weeks we will offer sandwiches/snacks free of charge if you are having to work extra or are one of our volunteers to stay over.
During the coming week home managers, if they have not already, will be holding staff meetings to maintain business as usual but also to discuss the current and prospective positions in relation to the coronavirus pandemic.
I have been with the Springfield family for over 3 years now and we have faced a fair few challenges together. I do know the times ahead will test us all. Please try not to worry, please allow me and others to do that for you.
Continue to do exactly what you do best, support your peers, look after the people in our care and each other. We in turn, will support you, if you need help, assistance, need a chat, are struggling financially or we can help with anything please talk to HR, your home manager or give me a call.
I remain enormously grateful for the dedication, high standards and care you continue to give at this time and will continue to deliver in the coming weeks. If I can help you in any way, please can I ask that you make the first step and contact me, I am always available.
My warmest regards,
Cyd Akrill MBE
Chief Nursing officer
30th March 2020
Stay At Home – Save Lives
Anyone can spread Coronavirus
The only reasons to leave home as stipulated by the government are:
– To work if you are unable to work from home – essential key worker jobs only. You may be asked for ID please check you have this for your journey.
– To shop for basic necessities or pick up medicine. Shop alone (one person per household) and only as often as you absolutely need to
– To exercise once a day alone or with a member of the same household. You are not permitted to travel for the exercise, this is not essential travel
– Do not meet friends or family
– Observe the physical distancing policy when out for any of the above
27th March 2020
Dear Friends and Colleagues
I am writing to thank you all for your efforts and to give you a message of support and warmth in this challenging situation.
For all of us these are unprecedented times. We are trying to balance our work with caring for, supporting and worrying about our partners, children and elderly relatives. Interestingly this is not wholly new for many of the people we care for, either in our care homes or by home care in their own, who were children or young adults in World War 2. I am sure that you will have found and be finding that they have both a pragmatic and philosophical approach to today’s troubles. My mother, who may not thank me for telling you is 87, says that they accepted the constraints on daily life (rationing, blackouts, air raids, child evacuation and family separation), followed instructions, found ways to enjoy themselves, pulled together and got through it. I think we can all learn from them.
Different parts of our organisation have been affected in different ways but what they have in common, and what really stands out, are the exceptionally devoted people within Springfield in the care homes, home care and elsewhere who are pulling together and doing extraordinary things to make sure that the vulnerable people we look after are kept well and safe now and through the days ahead. I have been particularly thinking today about home care workers who often deliver care alone with limited support from and interaction with colleagues.
In addition, I would like to recognise the leadership and commitment that is being shown by Graeme, Paul, Cyd, Tim, our regional team, home managers, team leaders, and all of you. In particular I have never been more grateful for the presence of Cyd Akrill whose vast knowledge, clarity, experience and passion for care is helping to guide us to deliver the best care whilst minimising the risk to our service users, residents and each other, at the same time maintaining safe practice.
These are very trying times and we are seeing the best and worst of people – including congregating when they have been asked not to and stripping the supermarkets bare like locusts. Within this desert Springfield, which means all of you, is an oasis of kindness with so many people being prepared to go above and beyond. We will get through this and I do believe that we will come out stronger.
Last night at 8pm, we opened the front door and joined millions of people around the UK to take part in Clap for Carers. It was a very powerful experience heightened by the presenter on the radio becoming audibly tearful. In that moment the country recognised, in a way not done before, the enormous debt of gratitude that we as a society owe to you and every person working in any capacity in the NHS, care homes, domiciliary care and every other care setting.
I salute you all for your incredible commitment to Springfield, and to each other, and would like both personally and on behalf of the board to thank you for all that you have done and are doing to protect the vulnerable people that we support and care for in whichever setting you are doing it.
Well done, thank you and please keep up your fantastic work.
Chairman – Springfield Healthcare
26th March 2020
I’d like to write to you today to wish you all the best over the coming weeks, as we face the most challenging of times we have experienced probably in our lifetimes and definitely since World War II.
How we all pull together and do our bit for our most vulnerable residents and service users, will be key to saving as many of their lives as possible. I urge each and every one of you to dig deep and play your part as members of the Springfield family so that we can come through this together and even more united.
This invisible virus is going to test us to the limit and ask of us things we’ve never experienced before. By doing our very best, working together as one team and following the government guidelines which will undoubtedly mean sacrifices for many of us, I am confident we can care for and protect our residents and service users.
We continue to offer our support to the families of our residents and service users, as they struggle not being able to see their loved ones. It is also a worrying time for you as a family at home, and I wish you all the best as you try to balance your duty as a parent, a partner, looking after a loved one or family member and as a valued employee.
As regards to PPE equipment, we are doing all we can to source this, and we are hoping we will have positive news within the next few days.
Your efforts so far have been immense, and we will need to count on you even more over the coming number of weeks/months until we beat this virus. May I just remind you all that there may be a need to ask staff to work in different locations should severe staff shortages in domiciliary care branches or care homes occur, in order to keep our residents and service users safe. This flexibility will be crucial as and when the crisis gets into its peak, and your willingness to be flexible will be critical. Indeed, we have had examples of this in past where one part of the business supports the other to great success, and I am sure this will be the case this time.
Should any of you know of family members or friends who would like temporary employment over the next few months, please ask them to contact the appropriate branch or care home as we are recruiting now to support the business.
You should all be very proud of the work you perform, and how we beat this Coronavirus will show categorically the value of our Health and Social Care sector and you as the vital components of the sector, as well as the Springfield family.
Thank you and best wishes
23rd March 2020
Firstly thank you all for the tremendous work that you are continuing to carry out under immensely difficult circumstances. More than ever the work you do is being recognised by all in society as “key” and we are, as always, incredibly grateful for the care that you give.
The latest advice from the government is that outside of your key work obligations and absolutely necessary trips for supplies for yourself / your household you must stay at home in order that the country can contain the coronavirus in such a way that our NHS is able to cope with the rising numbers.
We must all socially isolate in order to prevent the spread to vulnerable people, such as our residents and service users. This extends to everyone in the country.
If you have concerns about financial or practical matters please talk to your line manager or your HR advisor so that we can help you. You are not alone. We are in this together. If you don’t talk to us we cannot help.
Keep washing your hands and try not to touch your face. Be aware of actions which could transmit the virus.
If you or a member of your household experiences symptoms – a new dry and persistent cough / temperature – you must self isolate for 7 days or 14 days if you live with others. Contact your place of work as soon as possible to inform them.
We are making plans for staff having to self-isolate / being unwell – we are recruiting and training as quickly as possible. If you know anyone who may be looking for work due to a change in their circumstances please ask them to get in touch with us.
While recruitment is underway we are thankful to many of you including regular agency staff who are picking up extra shifts to help. Thank you.
The safety and wellbeing of our employees, our service users and our residents are our priority. Check the MySpringfield app or www.springfieldhealthcare.com for latest updates, links to official government websites and helpful information on how to look after yourself during this difficult period.
The Springfield family is a strong one – look after yourselves and each other – we will get through this.
Thank you again for your passion, commitment and strength at this time.
18th March 2020
I trust I find you well.
I am writing to you following yesterdays’ announcement by the Government in respect of people who are deemed to be in a higher risk group, pregnant women.
Pregnant women who can work from home should do so, this is to encourage social distancing. However if this is not possible, because you work in a public facing role or a healthcare setting, we must look to see if the role can be modified appropriately to minimise your exposure.
We await more detailed guidance from the Government about what modifications should be made for pregnant women who cannot work from home.
If I may offer you some reassurance, the Royal College of Midwives have advised this move is a precautionary one. There is currently no new evidence to suggest that pregnant women are at greater risk from coronavirus than other healthy individuals or they can pass the infection onto their baby while pregnant. Please continue with appointments, your antenatal care appointments are very important. If you are self- isolating or have any symptoms please defer your appointment and liaise with your midwife.
If I may ask you to discuss this with your manager, you will be asked to complete a risk assessment to reduce and mitigate as many risks as possible as part of your ongoing pregnancy risk assessment.
The manager will then liaise with Dawn Preece and I should there be any concerns.
My warmest regards,
Chief Nursing Officer
16th March 2020
I am writing to you to offer further information in respect of the coronavirus.
The UK remains in the Delay phase which mainly involves delaying the spread of the virus to stop a peak which will put the NHS and us under great pressure.
We are taking many steps in order to minimise the risks to the people in our care and to you.
We have stopped all events in the homes which involve movement through resident communities, this includes entertainment and training sessions.
We are making alternative arrangements for training sessions and induction programmes to try and host these away from the homes, or in dedicated areas, shortened courses and in reduced numbers. Each home will be looking at how they can continue to deliver a programme of events in the home without using external sources.
We are also encouraging visitors to reduce their visits and if any relative 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 have identified routes in and out of the home which reduce resident contact, visits will be carried out in safer areas or the residents own room.
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.
Over the coming weeks we are entering into unprecedented times and will have to make difficult but sensible decisions. Additional cleaning including touch point cleaning is taking place every few hours within the homes.
The risk at the present time is moderate. However, we must track the activity in other countries and be prepared as part of our ongoing contingency plan. As part of our contingency, we are training non care staff in the event of any staff shortages we have additional staff to assist in the homes.
Many other businesses will have to close and inevitably they will make redundancies, we will be increasing our recruitment drive in the short term. Please if you know of people who find themselves without employment ask them to contact our HR teams. Subject to satisfactory checks, DBS and them being the right person and of course kind, we will employ them for a temporary period to assist them, which in turn will assist Springfield.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
A new, persistent and continuous cough and or high temperature please visit the NHS 111 website or contact them via telephone.
If you live alone you will be asked to self -isolate for 7 days, however if you live with other people this will be 14 days.
Please be mindful of your travel arrangements over the coming weeks, check out the advice offered on the Government website. I expect there will be travel bans imposed from flights, trains and travel in general.
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.
We are facing unprecedented times but there is no doubt in my mind that we will face and overcome the challenges together. I would personally like to thank you for all you do and all you will offer in the coming weeks, we unlike other businesses are unable to “work from home”.
If at any time you wish to contact me please do not hesitate to do so, I am always available to discuss any concern or if you need help or support from a personal perspective.
Should you find you are facing any burden as a result of the coronavirus or need a chat then please pick up the phone to talk to Dawn or I.
Chief Nursing Officer
13th March 2020
To All Staff