Barchester Healthcare and the UK Coronavirus outbreak

Coronavirus

This page was last updated on 20th July 2021.

To read our latest communications to residents and relatives, please click here.

The health, safety, and wellbeing of our residents, patients and staff is always our top priority and we are continuing with our robust and comprehensive response to Coronavirus. We are delighted to offer a range of visiting options and have invited those offering live entertainment and activities back into our services. 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 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 admit new residents and patients we have clear protocols in place to ensure that it is appropriate for them to move in. We’re delighted our residents and staff have been prioritised to receive the COVID-19 vaccination and the large majority have already had both of their vaccination doses. We’re making our homes as safe as possible and will do everything we can to ensure that all new residents, patients and staff are vaccinated before moving in or working in our homes and hospitals. We also ensure 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 and are negative for COVID-19.

In order to reassure you, this page details the latest guidance from Barchester Healthcare about the protocols that we have implemented. 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 EnglandPublic Health WalesHealth Protection Scotland, or Public Health Jersey.

Our current visiting guidelines for Barchester Healthcare homes or hospitals in England, Scotland, Wales and Jersey

We are pleased to say that our homes in England, Scotland, Wales and Jersey welcome visitors in line with the latest Government guidance. Whilst Government guidance is slightly different across different countries we are committed to providing a range of visiting options both indoors and outdoors and there are no longer any restrictions on who may visit indoors. Our only ask is that for indoor visits a facemask is worn, social distance is maintained as much as possible and testing takes place before entry. All visitors are able to test at home in advance of their visit and provide evidence of a negative test, or, alternatively, we can test visitors at the service, however this will be subject to a 30 minute wait time. Although our preference in all countries is that there are no more than two visitors per resident at any given time, we know how important special occasions are and we are delighted that events and dining may be possible for a larger group of individuals visiting in England, Scotland and Jersey so if you’d like to book a special lunch or tea party for a celebration please do ask and the home will do whatever they can to support. Unfortunately we are not able to offer this in our homes in Wales as it is only 2 visitors at a time allowed.

For visiting outdoors or in our designated visiting suites, there is no need for testing or facemasks to be worn. All visits must continue to be booked and planned in advance and to support this, we will continue to offer our online booking system.

In line with all of the new government guidance issued we will continue to restrict visiting to either a designated visiting area or bedrooms, therefore please support us in keeping everyone safe in going directly to your visiting area and assist us in not moving around the home. Although our preference in all countries is that there are no more than two visitors per resident at any given time, we know how important special occasions are and we are delighted that events and dining may be possible for a larger group of individuals visiting in England, Scotland and Jersey so if you’d like to book a special lunch or tea party for a celebration please do ask and the home will do whatever they can to support. Unfortunately we are not able to offer this in our homes in Wales as it is only 2 visitors at a time allowed.

Our residents can leave the service to spend time with their loved ones. We will support this as much as possible in line with government guidance as long as infection control protocols are followed, including testing and risk assessments completed. If you are unclear please do speak to the Home Manager who will be happy to explain the situation to you.

Please note that, as always, visiting must be signed off by the local director of public health or local health protection team and as such, can be paused at short notice if necessary. This may result in visits being cancelled at short notice, but rest assured we will do our best to give as much notice as possible. 

Vaccinations

We are so grateful for the vaccination programme that is allowing us all to socialise and see loved ones a little more, as well as start to enjoy again some of the things that have been missing in our lives. we are delighted that the majority of our residents and patients have been vaccinated where possible. We are continuing to support staff to ensure that they have taken the second vaccination as we know how important that is both to developing the best immunity as well as longevity of that immunity, and the engagement with staff on this continues.  As we have previously said we feel very strongly that to give our residents the most protection we must ensure our staff are vaccinated, where possible, and we continue to do everything we can to make that happen. We will be ensuring that all new residents and patients will also be vaccinated or be willing to be vaccinated before moving in. It remains to be our preference that all indoor visitors are vaccinated wherever possible but this is not mandatory.

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 ensure you comply with our meet & greet protocol upon arrival and follow this guidance:

  • Do not visit if you are currently self-isolating, have tested positive or experienced symptoms of Covid-19 in the past 14 days
  • 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
  • For 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

We continue to test both residents, patients and staff on a regular basis in line with the country specific government guidance. 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, mentally and socially 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. We have weekly activity plans created by our homes and hospitals that include a variety of activities, events and entertainment that stimulate mind, body and soul, both on an individual basis and in group settings, to allow everyone to stay connected and active. We are delighted to welcome back the community into our services, which means our volunteers and local entertainment can start to visit again with clubs, activities and singing sessions all taking place.

As well as activities in person in the home, our residents and patients have the choice to enjoy a number of virtual events to connect with local primary schools, have virtual religious services with their local churches, as well as take delight in live entertainment through live steamed performances. More recently, we have partnered with the English National Ballet, Blenheim Palace, Historic Environment Scotland as well as V&A Dundee and have a number of cultural, social and historical tourist attractions we are working with to provide a variety of live talks and events each month for the year ahead.

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. 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.

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.

Monitoring Standards of Care

We are now allowing all essential support team members into our services. There are very stringent protocols for these members of staff to follow, and resident facing support staff should have a PCR test weekly plus LFD before entry on the day or twice per week, and infection control measures in place. Support staff that are non-resident facing such as Health & Safety and Property Teams should have a LFD test taken on the day of visiting or twice per week. 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.  The regulators are also starting to undertake inspections in our homes and hospitals which we welcome.  We have continued to have resident meetings as usual and we are having relatives meetings outside where possible.

Residents and patients 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.

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 feedback@barchester.com.

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