Covid-19 – our response
Almost 2 years on since the beginning of the pandemic, and Coronavirus continues to be a threat to the elderly and those with underlying health issues. A lot has changed since Spring 2020, and the care industry particularly faced a very steep learning curve whilst trying to protect the most vulnerable.
At the start of 2020, as the pandemic began to unfold, testing was not readily available with no support around getting our clients, family and carers tested. The virus also took a toll on our office-based staff as they tried to work through logistical headaches, keep up to date with the latest guidance as well as providing emotional support for colleagues and families. Live-in care specifically was not covered by legislation and there were many grey areas, as well as the legislation changing frequently. We interpreted and followed the government advice and managed to keep those in our care safe. We are very proud that during this time we:
- Minimised risk by keeping carers in situ.
- Sourced and maintained appropriate levels of PPE for our carers.
- Never left a client without care.
- Took on clients with COVID where other providers and care homes would not.
- Frequent communication to carers and clients.
- Worked closely with the Suffolk County Council Adult Safeguarding Lead.
- Put policies and procedures in place to ensure the safety of clients and staff.
“I required care during the Coronavirus Pandemic for my elderly father as I work full time in healthcare. Setting the care up was easy and swift, even with the restrictions. There is regular review of the care needs and provision and most of all my father, though initially very sceptical, is enjoying the help and company.”
Tragically, care homes were disproportionately affected by Covid-19. People living in care homes were at higher risk of contracting and dying from Coronavirus than people of a similar age living in the community as well as having had to endure heart-breaking restrictions. Care home residents were isolated in their rooms to avoid the high-risk spread of infection, unable to see family or friends for months during the height of the pandemic.
When we were able to start testing, it was a huge relief! Our biggest fear had been that we knew that 1 in 3 of us could be infected but not have symptoms which from our perspective, as carers, made fighting the virus doubly hard. Testing helped us to make sure that we could keep everyone safe:
- All of our staff take a daily lateral flow test – carers and office staff when working in the office.
- We send out lateral flow testing kits to our clients, so we know that when our colleagues see them to provide care, both are virus free and to enable quick testing as and when needed.
- We provided all our staff with extensive guidance and training on the testing programme along with stringent PPE procedures.
- To enable a continued flow of carers to support our clients, we set up our own lateral flow testing centre. Our carers on training do two lateral flow tests each week on-site.
- All visitors to Christies Care must have a negative lateral flow test before entering the building.
We also put in place a wellbeing and support programme for everyone at Christies Care. From early on we could see the potential damage the continual pressure of the pandemic was putting on the wellbeing of all our team. We wanted to make sure that we were not only keeping our team physically as safe as we could, but that we looked after their mental wellbeing too.
“Considering the difficulties caused by Coronavirus and travel restrictions, I have been extremely impressed by the ability of Christies Care to send me well qualified and delightfully pleasant people to us as carers.”
Vaccination (in conjunction with testing and use of PPE) is one of the best tools to keep everyone safe, and we have been pro-actively encouraging all staff to get double vaccinated and take up the booster jab. We have also helped facilitate this for our clients too. .
Read details from the Better Care at Home report published by the Live in Care Hub to understand more about how Christies Care home care services offer you or your loved one higher standards for safety and quality of life.