Latest information: Covid-19

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Latest information: Covid-19

As it has now been reported that the UK has passed the peak for the COVID-19 outbreak, the care and safety of our residents, relatives and staff remains our highest priority and we would like to update you on our current situation:

Residents

As our residents are all particularly vulnerable, our homes are currently closed to visitors (apart from essential health workers). Our care staff and activities co-ordinators are working hard to give time to residents to ensure that they do not feel too isolated or lonely. We continue to come up with innovative ways to keep residents active, both physically and mentally. We are using iPads to enable residents to communicate with their loved ones via online portals such as Skype, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.

Whilst all residents are safely being looked after in their rooms to ensure compliance with social distancing guidelines, it has meant that communal rooms, including the Chapel at Whitgift House and the Whitgift Almshouses, have been closed. However, the gardens remain open as the Government has encouraged one period of exercise each day. As many of our residents have limited mobility, we are viewing the gardens as the ‘local park’ so that walks can be taken and carefully managed to ensure social distancing is observed. We encourage residents to spend some time in the fresh air if they feel able to and with assistance from staff.

We are delighted that students from the John Whitgift Foundation schools have set up a ‘pen pal’ initiative and residents have been receiving letters from our year 6 and 7 students which have provided a great deal of enjoyment and fun. Read more here.

Team members

Our care staff continue to respond to the situation with great commitment and dedication. Fortunately, we have always had good staff ratios in place and so we have been able to maintain reasonable levels of staff. We do have staff who are self-isolating and so we have had to adapt our normal rota and on occasion bring in agency staff. This is improving as staff are beginning to return to work.

We are delighted by the collaborative support offered by the schools within the John Whitgift Foundation. Whitgift and Trinity are transporting staff to and from work in the schools’ mini-buses to avoid them using public transport. Whitgift has also offered staff the option to stay in its boarding house.

Infection management

We continue to work with our independent consultant, Irene, who is a clinical nurse specialist in infection prevention and control. Irene has reviewed all related policies and procedures in place to manage infection controls and is available to home managers to provide advice and support on a daily basis which has been invaluable and reassuring for us all. From the outset we have taken advice from Public Health England (PHE) and other advisory bodies to make sure that all recommended best practices are adopted in a timely manner. We have particularly focussed on handwashing, use of sanitisers and other cleaning regimes and these practices still very much continue to be a part of our normal working routine.

Supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

As with the rest of the care sector, the supply of PPE continues to be a challenge and we continue to put pressure on the Local Authority to increase supplies on a daily basis. Our usual supply chains are unable to commit to delivery dates and therefore planning ahead is virtually impossible.

Testing for Covid-19

Staff

As from 29th April the Government advised that a new national online portal has been made available to either book to attend a regional test centre or order a home testing kit. In reality, the online portal only allows for a limited number of tests per day, and so the slots are usually taken within an hour of the portal opening. The nearest test centre to us is Kingston some distance away. This is still problematic for staff who have limited transport means or who are feeling too unwell to travel.

Residents

For residents who are showing symptoms, we a liaising with our local PHE team who have advised us they will be arranging testing and providing locally tailored infection control advice.

We have been advised by PHE that they are working to roll out further testing, covering all care home staff and residents, with or without COVID-19 symptoms and we await further information.

1596 Club day care service

Our day care service, the 1596 Club, has been suspended for the short term to enable our teams to focus on providing care and support for residents in our homes.

New admissions enquiries

We are still accepting admissions, and those looking for care should contact us on 020 8256 1596 or email enquiries@whitgiftcare.co.uk

We would like to take this opportunity to reassure family and friends that we are doing everything we can to keep our residents safe, well and happy. We all find ourselves in very challenging times and we appreciate the deep concern and anxiety at this current time. We have seen so much media coverage recently about the impact Covid-19 is having within the care home sector and this is very worrying for us all. Please be assured that we are doing everything we can to manage this situation with our best endeavours.

Updated: 5 May 2020