Barchester Healthcare and the UK Coronavirus outbreak

Coroanvirus

This page was last updated on 5th August. 

To read our latest communications, please click here.

The health, safety, and wellbeing of our residents, patients and staff are always our top priority and we are continuing with our robust and comprehensive contingency plans to respond to Coronavirus. Our plans are kept under regular review and are updated as and when advised by the public health authorities.

We are welcoming new residents and patients into our care homes and hospitals, so please do give your local Barchester care home or hospital a call if you are looking for care or need any further help. We want to assure you that when we are admitting new residents and patients we have clear protocols in place to ensure that it is appropriate for them to move in. We are also ensuring that any new residents and patients coming into our homes and hospitals, whether from a local hospital or the community, have been tested in advance.

In order to reassure you, this page details the latest guidance from Barchester Healthcare about the protocols that we have implemented in our homes and hospitals. This information is intended for Barchester Healthcare residents, patients, staff and any visitors to our homes and hospitals.

For comprehensive information about the coronavirus itself, please visit either the Public Health England, Public Health Wales, or Health Protection Scotland.

Our current visiting guidelines for Barchester Healthcare homes or hospitals

As always, we are closely following Government guidance, and this has not changed for allowing visiting to services, although there has been some advisory guidance given more generally in England, Wales, Scotland and States of Jersey. It remains that visitors are not permitted inside our services, apart from in some exceptional circumstances, as our priority is to maintain necessary infection control measures in our homes and hospitals during this time.

We are doing all we can to allow for outdoor and window visits as we understand how important this is to both relatives and residents. Entry is subject to following safety protocols and the General Manager or Hospital Director may postpone visits at any time without notice, should they feel necessary for the safety of all. We are also following local lockdown guidance, which unfortunately may result in visits being cancelled at short notice. 

Whilst we are delighted to be able to go some way in supporting loved ones to be reunited, we are sorry to say that this won’t be possible for everyone, but will be, for those deemed able to accept an outdoor or window visit.

As we have previously mentioned we are looking to the future when we are able to allow indoor visiting and we will be implementing a booking system to enable this to be done in a safe and manageable way.  We will update you as and when appropriate, although our preference will continue to be for outdoor or window visits wherever possible, in order to limit the risk posed at present as it is important to ensure that we keep you and your loved ones as safe as possible as we know that this virus is very contagious.

We ensure that vital medical visits are made. All visitors must follow our meet & greet protocol this includes washing hands on arrival, ensuring that no symptoms or exposure to Coronavirus have been experienced and we insist on taking a temperature before entry is permitted.

All of our homes and hospitals are set up for video calling to enable you to keep in touch more regularly and our staff are doing all they can to ensure that life in our services remains as comfortable and sociable as possible. We support our residents and patients to spend time on interactive activities, whilst practicing physical distancing.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call the home or hospital if you would like to speak to a loved one, you can also email us at coronahelpline@barchester.com  

Guidance for visiting a Barchester Healthcare home or hospital

If you are required to make an essential visit to a Barchester Healthcare home or hospital it is important that you do so safely and in a way that minimises the risk of infection to our residents, patients and staff. Therefore, before visiting and whilst on site, please follow this simple guidance:

  • If you are displaying symptoms please do not visit
  • Hand washing - It is important that you wash your hands thoroughly before you visit the care home or hospital, and on arrival as well as regularly if you enter the home or hospital. Please make sure you wash your hands for a minimum or 20 seconds, using either hot water and soap or 60% alcohol sanitiser gel. The NHS has a video guide to effective handwashing, which you can see here
  • We will also ask to take your temperature. For some visits indoors when appropriate we may provide you with personal protection equipment (PPE) that must be worn at all times. In addition, a staff member may escort you to the relevant area and back again

If you are visiting outdoors please follow all guidance issued in advance and displayed during your visit, this includes maintaining social distancing at all times.

Protecting our residents, patients, and staff

Many of you have asked us what our approach is to ensuring that our staff and residents are kept safe and well and we wanted to address some of the things that we are doing.

Our staff are all trained in infection control and are vigilant to the symptoms of COVID-19.  We have clear processes to follow is a resident, patient or member of staff show such symptoms including isolation wherever necessary in line with government advice.

Should your loved one display symptoms or test positive to Coronavirus, we would call and discuss the situation with you personally.

Keeping our residents physically and mentally active

We are very aware that an important part of living in a care home or hospital is being able to socialise and enjoy physical, mental and spiritual activity that is vital for overall wellbeing, and we are delighted that our weekly activity plans going to our homes and hospitals, have great new ways of keeping everyone active, including a number of virtual activities whilst ensuring that the group activities are smaller, adhering to physical distancing advice, and that cleanliness routines are implemented. Our residents and patients are thoroughly enjoying this.

Our staff

Many of you have written to us to thank our amazing staff who are working tirelessly to ensure you and your loved ones are kept safe.  Thank you so much for doing this, it means such a lot to them and we are ensuring that these comments, whether on social media, through our helpline or to management, are fed back. We are proud to say that we are surrounded by a professional, skilled, dedicated, and compassionate team who are willing to put the care of our residents and patients first. We have been truly humbled by seeing everyone work together using their expertise, and positive attitude to do the right thing. If you have had a great experience please do leave a review on carehome.co.uk or Google, you can also email us at feedback@barchester.com, we share all of your lovely comments with our team members.

Human kindness has never been so important, and our spirits have been lifted by hearing and seeing the hard work and professionalism that is happening every day.  Thank you so much for all your kind words, it means a lot to all of us, and please be assured this gets shared with our great teams.

Monitoring Standards of Care

As we take a cautious and phased approach to managing COVID-19, we are allowing limited numbers of internal teams into our services for example our Regional Directors, Quality Improvement and Hospitality team members.  There are very stringent protocols for these members of staff to follow, including fortnightly testing for COVID-19, and infection control protocols.  We believe that this is the right approach for ensuring that the care we provide is to the highest standard, whilst balancing the safety of our residents, patients and staff.  We will be monitoring the situation carefully.  The regulators are also starting to undertake inspections in our homes and hospitals.  We have continued to have resident meetings as usual and we are having virtual relatives meetings where possible.

People living with Dementia 

As you can probably appreciate this is most difficult for our residents living with dementia, and we have implemented guidance from our Director of Dementia Care, who has been virtually supporting our well trained teams in the homes and hospitals, to implement the  guidance on how to help our residents and patients with such things as handwashing, for example.  It is all about the little things to calm and keep distress levels down.  For example whilst much of the country has been singing happy birthday whilst washing their hands we know this will confuse our residents living with dementia, and so know to sing a song familiar to them to encourage them.  

Personal Protective Equipment

Please be assured that, we continue to have a robust supply chain of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) in place, and our staff are using this in accordance with the public health authority guidance. All of our staff will now be wearing face masks as a minimum and we remain confident in our supplies of this and all of our services have what they need.

Testing

Testing continues to be a big focus for us, and we have been testing all of our staff weekly and our residents every 28 days in England.  We had to temporarily pause our testing programme for homes in England last week due to availability of testing kits.  As you know we have been at the forefront of testing, as we believe this is the best way to keep our residents, patients and staff as safe as possible, and this is not where we would want to be. We are working with the Department of Health and Social Care to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. In the meantime we are ensuring that any new residents coming into our homes and hospitals, whether from a local hospital or the community, have been tested, and new staff members use the Government website to ensure they are tested and we ask that they provide written confirmation of the results before starting work with us.  In the meantime we are prioritising the ongoing testing of our existing staff.  All of our homes in Wales and Jersey have been tested through the testing programmes, and testing is ongoing in Scotland in partnership with local Health Boards. 

We are delighted to hear this week that the Government announced a new testing programme which will enable test results to be available more quickly.  We are not aware when this will be implemented, but will ensure that we do all we can to, again, be at the forefront of this.  As we have previously said we recognise the benefit of a robust testing programme in order to understand where our risk is, even when our residents, patients and staff are asymptomatic, and will do all we can to be involved in this as soon as possible.

Keeping up-to-date with the latest news

With developments happening continually we are keen to keep in touch with you as best we can.  If you haven’t received information by email or text message from us, and you would like to, please could you visit www.barchester.com/update which is a secure platform, and input your details so we can ensure our database has your latest information. We may send out updates via email and text message going forward.

If you have any questions or queries please do get in touch on coronahelpline@barchester.com.

 

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