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Relatives Update – 31st October

Dear Family Member or Friend,

I am writing to you following the news that we are about to enter a second national lockdown as of Thursday 5thNovember 2020, the expected duration will be until 2nd December 2020.  Due to the significant rise in infection rates per head of the population, action has to be taken to maintain the safety of the most vulnerable people, save lives and to protect the healthcare system

The Government is taking the following action:

  1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for specific purposes.
  2. Preventing gathering with people you do not live with, except for specific purposes.
  3. Closing certain businesses and venues.

To read the full guidance please refer to the government website.

These new measures have been carefully judged to achieve the maximum reduction in growth in the number of cases, preventing the NHS from being overwhelmed, whilst ensuring that schools, colleges and universities stay open and that as many people as possible continue to work.

Until Thursday 5 November, the relevant Local Covid Alert Level measures will continue to apply in the area where you live and the areas that our homes are based. Complying with the new measures will help limit the spread of coronavirus, reduce the impact on the NHS and save lives. The lockdown restrictions will be underpinned by law which will make clear what you must and must not do from 5 November.

If you are over 60 or clinically vulnerable, you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus and therefore you should be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise your contacts with others.

Guidance on care/nursing home visits will be published ahead of Thursday but for now the existing guidance will be followed.   I do expect that we will only be permitted to offer compassionate or in exceptional cases essential visits.  Currently, due to the prevalence of C-19 being at very high levels in the wider community, and this being one of the most contributing factors in our risk assessment, we continue to adhere very strictly to the guidance, law and advice – difficult though this is.

The increase in cases around the country is alarming and our regular testing cycle has also picked up a small number of positive cases in two of our homes, relatives will have been contacted if your loved one is affected. As we move to the winter months, Coronavirus shows no sign of abating and we must live with it as best we can. I understand how very difficult this is for you to see an increase in restrictions, I also see and hear the disappointment for residents, relatives and my colleagues.   To offer you some reassurance, my colleagues and I are better prepared for the second wave,  as is the NHS, however the amount of staff we have to go around must be carefully managed to ensure we, as numbers rise, have the right balance and skill mix .

You and my colleagues all deserve a little compassion at the moment, a higher level and degree of understanding, these are exceptionally difficult times for all. The negative impact on people’s mental health is not always seen immediately but we are seeing an increase in society in general which is of concern. I want to protect and care for everyone in any way I can, just as we will help support and assist you please can I ask you to dig deep and extend a hand to my colleagues, we are all in this together. I am always available to talk to anyone for any reason, I have and will continue to offer support to relatives.

We will be informing you of the dates for the virtual resident and relative meetings for each home this coming week, I know many people appreciated the first round of virtual meetings and we are keen to increase the meetings in the lead up to Christmas.

All visits will be in line with the latest infection prevention and control guidance which will include provision relating to the use of social distancing procedures, hand hygiene and PPE.

Other day to day events and activities, subject to robust planning, will still be taking place to keep residents occupied and make their time as enjoyable as possible.  We have again increased the hours and people in each home to support all keeping in touch visits which I hope will improve the experience for everyone and still permit a full range of activities and more individual one to one sessions to be facilitated. You can see lots about what activities are taking place daily by following our Facebook pages and this is also a place where you can express any thanks or support to staff by commenting positively and kindly.  This kind of gesture makes a huge difference to staff who are bravely continuing to fulfil their professional obligations and take care of our residents emotionally too.

We will continue to keep you updated with the developments and changes in our homes and advise you of all information as quickly and clearly as possible. Most people in our homes have more than one relative and we can’t reach them all by email or letter, so please do forward the communication onto friends and family who would like to see the update as well.

I would as always like to thank you again for your understanding and co-operation.  These difficult and challenging times do impact on us all, but our priority is to maintain the safety of the people in our care.

If you require any further help or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact the individual home manager for the home your relative resides in or Angela Randle Head of Kindness, Care and Quality.

My warmest regards,

Cyd Akrill M.B.E.

Chief Nursing Officer