We have remained a COVID FREE home throughout this pandemic and to this day
Firstly, we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone’s support, donations, and kind words during these strange times. Our aim is to keep your loved ones and our staff safe and COVID free. As you are aware all Residents and staff have been tested with all receiving negative results.
We are currently continuing to follow the government advice.
Although the government have relaxed some areas of businesses, this does not currently include Care Homes.
The below measures are still in place:
All of the measures below have been in effect since the 13th March 2020 and until further notice.
We have stopped all but essential visits who are having to adhere to strict protocols.
Anyone who walks into the home are temperature checked with a non-touch thermometer, and if their reading is above 37.2 degrees Celsius they are refused entry including staff members.
Residents & staff are temperature checked multiple times during each day.
Essential visitors i.e. Community Nurses, etc., are asked to wear PPE and are only allowed to visit the specified area which they need access to.
The Function room has now been set up as a changing room facility for our staff, who now have to enter from this entrance and change into their uniforms, and before their shift finishes they have to change out of their uniforms and exit from there.
We have hand sanitiser stations throughout the home, and have added additional stations.
We have increased our domestic hours to keep all surfaces and areas clean and sanitised and all staff are aware of the need for stringent infection control.
We have signed up to additional companies for supplies of food and PPE to make sure we do not run out. We have sufficient supplies of PPE and food and we continuing to purchase extra so we do not run out.
We have stopped all day care for the time being – this will be reviewed.
We remain open for permanent residents pre-screened and safe admissions, they will need to have been tested negative of COVID-19 before they are admitted into Down Hall, as we are not risking the lives of our residents and workforce. However, they will be isolated in a separate wing for 7 days before they start to interact with the rest of the residents within the home.
We have upgraded our internet just before the pandemic and have devices for our residents to stay connected with their loved ones via video calling.
Delivery drivers are told to deliver all goods outside the home.
Post is delivered outside the home into a clear box we have at the entrance.
I hope you all understand the robust measures we have in place, and hopefully we can soon get back to some sense of normality. However, the virus has not gone away and due to the vulnerability of our residents we need to continue to be vigilant and follow the current measures in place.
Moving forward the current plans for visitors are as follows:
Covid-19 Visiting Guidelines– Updated 21st September 2020
We would really like to thank everyone for their ongoing support throughout the past few months after what has been, and still is to be honest, a testing time for all of us. The cards, gifts and messages of support have been invaluable in motivating our team to continue working through these challenging times.
We are proud of the fact that the Down Hall team has so far managed to keep our residents, and fellow workers free from contracting Covid19. None of us have ever experienced anything like what has affected the world and all of our lives this year. We are exceptionally grateful to our colleagues who have worked tirelessly in the last few months to provide support and care under challenging circumstances, showing commitment and dedication to their role.
It seems an age ago that we were obsessing about toilet roll and hand gel, and we have all been grateful for that bit of “normality” of the past couple of months. However, we cannot “rest on our laurels” due to the concern of rising numbers of the population testing positive including those in care homes. We will continue to follow the advice of the local PHE and review all of our managing of the situation as and when required.
Other visitors to our home
As you may be aware, the restrictions to our home have applied not just to relatives and friends, but to all non-essential visitors. This has included our internal governance, facilities contractors, etc. Please be reassured that all visitors will be briefed on the strictest infection control procedures and will be subject to many of the same control measures outlined for friends and family.
Thankfully we have been able to commence visits again, albeit in a different way of visiting for us all. There has been a lot of risk assessing carried out to try and facilitate visits in a way that is in the best interests of your loved ones and yourselves whilst also keeping within the guidance given as to remaining Covid19 safe for all who live and work here. There has also been a lot of discussion with you all at times about what seems to work and what doesn’t and how we can adapt our home environment to accommodate visitors to the home and keep everyone at the home safe. Decisions about visits and any changes to how they are facilitated also have to have the views of the staff and a resident’s individual care needs and views taken into consideration.
We are currently looking at opening up an indoor visiting area at the beginning of October, week commencing Monday the 5th. The weather and time of year is slowly decreasing the viability of external visits and we have been working on how an indoor space can be facilitated and made safe for visits. The plan is to divide off a section of the function room so that visitors can enter into a screened area to be seated at a table with a dividing screen in place.
We have an ozone cleaning machine that will be placed in the room in between visits that will support us to keep the area sanitised, clean and ready for use. Staff will be required to enter the room wearing PPE and will only remain if needing to support the resident.
Due to the time needed to sanitise the room between visits, there will need to be a 30 minute time limit for each visit so that we can accommodate more relatives during the day. These will commence at 9.30am and the last visit will be at 4pm. We have calculated that we can accommodate a total of 5 internal visits per day. If the weather is kind to us as Autumn/Winter progresses we may be able to facilitate extra garden visits outside as per our current visiting policy.
You will be asked some health screening questions at the start of the visit, will be asked to use the sanitising gel provided and have your temperature taken. If you are showing any symptoms which could indicate coronavirus, please do not travel to the home as we will need to refuse entry. As you will be aware, these symptoms include a raised temperature, a new and persistent cough, a loss of taste and smell and a general feeling of being lethargic and unwell.
We have included some further information and guidance that we require all visitors to adhere to when here on a visit. The home understands that each resident has individual needs and that the visit needs to be arranged with those needs in mind.
• Visits are only possible in homes that are deemed “Covid Free” – namely it has been 28 days since the onset of symptoms of the last case in the home. This period represents twice the incubation period for the virus.
• Visitors are more than welcome to visit Down Hall by strictly following social distancing guidelines on a pre-booking system via the office. Please ensure that you call prior to any visit to state a date and time, preferably at least before the day of the visit i.e. 24 hours notice, so that we can arrange for the visit to take place in the safest way possible.
• Visitors will have to make a health declaration prior to the visit and have their temperature taken, this will be recorded and must be made on the day of the visit. The health declaration will include assurances that the visitor:
1. Does not have a raised temperature
2. Does not have a persistent dry cough
3. Has not experienced a recent loss of taste or smell
4. Has not experienced any recent shortness of breath
Visitors will also be asked to formally declare that they have not been in contact with anyone in the past 14 days who has been tested positive for Covid-19. If the visitor’s health status or contact history causes concern, their visit will not go ahead.
• Visitors will need to report to the main front door prior to the visit prior to being taken to the function room entrance for screening if having an internal visit.
• Internal visiting for those with EOL care needs will continue as per current policy.
• We will be allocating internal visits at the following times:
9.30am – 10am, 11am – 11.30am, 12.30pm – 1pm, 2.30pm – 3pm, 4pm – 4.30pm
• We will allocate a 30 minute maximum visiting slot to both areas of the home i.e. Oak (at front) and Ash (at back) at the times shown above. Please note, if circumstances mean that someone is running late for their allocated visit time, then we cannot extend the visit time if there is someone else due in the next time slot for that area. By doing this we can minimise the foot fall of visitors at any one time and the risk of Covid-19 transmission.
• A maximum of 2 people visiting the same person at any one time (these must currently be from the same household).
• Unfortunately no children under the age of 16 will be allowed to visit.
• Any gifts for residents must continue to come through the main entrance prior to visits for sanitisation.
• Where possible, visitors can speak/see from the residents own rooms – at 2 metres distance apart (please wear a face covering if there is a difficulty in keeping this distance i.e. hearing impairment.)
• You will be asked to wear a face mask and practice social distancing for the duration of your visits. Unfortunately, this means no kissing, hugging or holding hands at present.
• We are currently unable to offer the use of toilet facilities and/or refreshments to visitors.
• We will manage and risk assess visits on an individual basis due to the resident’s needs and understanding of the current Covid-19 guidelines.
Please note: We are monitoring closely the current Government decision making as to care home visiting due to the recent concerns of an upturn in Covid19 infections. Please be aware that any visiting arrangements may need to be changed at short notice.
The staff at the home wish you to have a positive visiting experience which we know will be of benefit to you and your relative.
However, if they have concerns that anyone is not keeping to the guidelines then they do reserve the right to express this i.e. ask visitors to stay at the required distance apart from their relative and/or wear a face mask if required.
Hopefully, it will not long before we can open our doors, however these measures will remain in place until further guidance to minimise the risk to others.
Karen Johnson – Home Manager
Deputy Manager – Sue Freeman