GUIDANCE ON VISITING OUR CARE HOMES DURING COVID-19

We shall be providing regular updates and guidance about visits to all our care homes on this page during the outbreak of COVID-19. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this difficult time.

Latest Guidance on COVID 19 for Meallmore  Residents, Colleagues and Visitors

22 May 2020

Mary Preston, Operations Director, provides an update for all relatives and friends of our residents

The impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic on care homes continues to be the focus of huge media interest and we’ve recently featured in widespread coverage concerning cases at one of our care homes. Disappointingly, some of this coverage chose to focus on sensationalising the number of cases and attempting to criticise our communication with relatives, with little respect for the residents, families and staff concerned.

We want to reassure everyone that Meallmore is open, honest and transparent in its communications. We are in regular contact with relatives and will advise them if COVID-19 is suspected or confirmed at any of our homes. While we cannot share information widely about all residents, due to confidentiality, we can assure families that they are kept fully informed with regard to their relative’s care and support. We will maintain full contact with the families of any resident with Coronavirus, providing regular updates, answering questions, and being as informative as possible.

Coronavirus is affecting everyone and we have had residents and staff with confirmed positive cases. Very sadly we have had residents who have died, and we have provided the comfort and dignity they deserve and where possible arranged for a family member to be with them. Our deepest sympathy and condolences go out to all those who have sadly lost loved ones and are grieving at this time.

We have also had cases of residents and staff who have fully recovered from Coronavirus. Our teams are taking all measures possible to minimise the outbreak of COVID-19, which is clearly evidenced in the number of homes where we have no suspected or actual cases. We are exceptionally proud of our amazing teams who provide the highest standards of care and we thank them from the bottom of our heart for their extremely hard work and commitment.

We appreciate it is still a worrying time for everyone. We continue to follow rigorous infection control procedures at all of our homes, in line with the latest Health Protection Scotland guidance. We have all the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) required, and testing is now available to us, which will help to further minimise cases. While this is an extremely serious virus, we are committed to providing every bit of care and attention we can to avoid cases or to aid recovery. Our care home managers are also available to talk to if relatives and staff have any questions or concerns.

The Scottish Government has recently published plans for the current lockdown restrictions to be relaxed, which we are currently reviewing. We understand how important it is for loved ones to regain contact with each other and we look forward to welcoming relatives back into our homes on a phased basis as and when guidance permits.

 

15 April 2020:

A message from our Operations Director, Mary Preston, to Relatives

I want to thank you all for your amazing support of our dedicated staff teams who are working with such care and compassion in all our homes.

The country has started to recognise the wonderful achievements of care homes where staff go “above and beyond” to ensure your family members are well cared for and to provide companionship to compensate in a small way for the visits they miss from you.

We fully appreciate anxiety levels are running high because of coronavirus which, along with the media focus on shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and increased deaths which are not included in national numbers, is very worrying for you.

I can absolutely assure you that our homes do have PPE, cleaning supplies and food supplies. We are fortunate to have colleagues who have redirected their efforts on a full-time basis to source products that have become scarce and a leadership team that are focused on the wellbeing of our residents and staff as their priority.

Our head of quality – Hazel Barrett – is diligent in sourcing and interpreting guidance which is changing frequently and getting this in a clear format to our direct care staff so they are protected and are protecting our residents as much as possible.

We have sadly had residents who have been confirmed with Covid-19 and have died; we have some who have symptoms and are being treated as Covid-19 but have not been tested and we have some amazing stories of residents who have recovered and are improving day by day. All precautions are being taken to protect residents and staff in these situations and our homes are keeping relatives updated on individual cases.

We also have some staff with symptoms who are self-isolating, we have some staff who have tested positive and many who are testing negative, a staff member has been hospitalised but I am so pleased to advise is now home and recovering well. We cannot ignore the impact of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic as it is affecting all of us.

My heart goes out to all relatives who are unable to be with loved ones at a real time of need and I can assure you our staff approach each shift with the real intention of being as good a substitute for you as they can. They work hard to keep you in conversations and to communicate with you as much as possible.

When one of our residents deteriorates, which can happen very quickly, we strive to support one family member to be present; this comes with risk and whilst we do it as safely as possible using PPE and following health guidance we do advise the relative to self-isolate following the visit.

Our big strength is in all pulling together. Thanks to everyone who continues to provide “random acts of kindness” for our residents and staff; some great examples include singing and pipers playing in the car park, Easter egg and chocolate treats being delivered, safety visors made by school and local clubs to add to our stock for the staff, donations of tablets to keep in touch with loved one and so many more. Thank you they are all appreciated.

Government has finally changed its guidance so that our staff can now be treated in the same way as other workers and those who are shielding for various reasons can now be furloughed. We are happy that the pressure from the care sector has worked. We are also recognising our great staff who can work with a financial incentive but fully appreciate money is not the driver for them – providing amazing care for our residents is.

We are unsure when restrictions will be lifted and we know there will be more sadness and tears before we return to normal, whatever that may be; but we do know that we have such inspiring colleagues who care.

27 March 2020: 

Meallmore: We’re Stronger Together

Our Managing Director, Gerry Hennessey, thanks everyone who is involved with our care homes for their patience, understanding and hard work to protect our residents during Coronavirus.

First of all, I would just like to say a huge thank you to everyone for helping us to do our job in caring for each and every resident in our care homes at this difficult time.

As we all adjust to the new measures in place to protect people from COVID-19, we are very aware of the impact it has had on our residents, families and staff. Coronavirus is affecting everyone in some way, no one will be left untouched.

The health and well-being of our residents is our top priority. Maintaining contact with family and friends is extremely important so we have been facilitating lots of phone and video calls as much as possible across all our care homes. We thank all family and friends of our residents for their patience, understanding and support because we understand just how difficult it is to be apart from their loved ones, particularly during such a stressful time.

Above all I am exceptionally proud of our staff at Meallmore. Along with all the other key workers across the UK and other countries, our carers, nurses, chefs, admin, office and maintenance staff have shown solidarity in continuing our essential care services during this crisis. We can’t thank them enough for the amazing contribution they are all making to look after the people who are most vulnerable at this time.

Over the last week we have been heartened by lots of acts of kindness and words of support and gratitude for our teams. These gestures really do mean a lot to us and are very much appreciated, particularly for our staff who often need to self-isolate from members of their own family at home when they return from work.

It is times like these that our communities come together and show their support. Our homes have received generous donations of iPads, food and takeaways which have given our teams a positive boost to know that other people are thinking of them.

As we plan for the coming weeks our care home teams are asking people to keep up their community spirit by sharing pictures, drawings and photos of their favourite memories or family occasions to help spread some happiness. We will be sharing the best of these with all of you on our Facebook account.

So while we may have to be apart in person, I know that we will all unite to come through this and that we are stronger together.

20 March 2020:

Since our decision to restrict visitation on the 12th March 2020, UK government, Scottish Government and the Scottish Care Inspectorate have all supported this course of action to protect our most vulnerable.

We are confident that the decision to restrict visitation was correct and we will continue to have this measure in place until risk levels have reduced to an acceptable level. We continue to deliberate daily with regards to the imposed measures where we consider guidance from Governing bodies.

We appreciate your patience and understanding on this matter. We have asked our Homes keep you informed of your loved one’s wellbeing and where essential visitation is required/requested that this is considered carefully and facilitated where possible in line with risk management measures.

We would like to thank you for your cooperation, support and understanding during this period of grave uncertainty. We also want to highlight the amazing commitment of our management and staff across all of our homes and support teams; this is a trying and uncertain time for all of us and we are working together to provide the best care and support possible for your residents and each other during very challenging circumstances.

12 March 2020:

As a preventative measure to protect the health of all our residents and staff we are advising people not to visit our care homes unless it is essential, until further notice.

We have contacted all relatives and friends of our residents to advise them of our guidance and to inform them of how they can continue to keep in touch with loved ones during this difficult time.

In addition to family and friends, other non-essential visits suspended include hairdressers, entertainers, volunteers, and external trainers. We will ensure that essential services such as medical visits still take place as required.

We are carefully monitoring and reviewing the situation in our homes and can confirm that we currently do not have any suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 coronavirus.  We are following Health Protection Scotland/NHS Scotland latest guidance for residential settings with a clear focus on the wellbeing of our vulnerable residents and staff. This is being kept under constant review.

As we all appreciate, the spread of COVID-19 continues to escalate therefore we must take all the measures available to us to protect the vulnerable and elderly  people that we care for and minimise any potential risk.  This is in line with wider care sector guidance.

This decision has not been taken lightly as we understand how important and valuable regular visits from family and friends are for everyone. We are aware that this will be an upsetting and distressing time for families, but we hope that you understand the precautionary measures that we must take as we genuinely do have everyone’s best interests at heart. We will make our best endeavors to facilitate communication with your loved one over phone, text or video call during normal care home visiting hours during this time. Our staff are here to help to maintain communication as much as possible. If you are experiencing any problems making contact then please contact your care home manager.

In the case of an emergency, or other urgent situations, we will seek to facilitate visits which will be considered on an individual basis. We ask that family and friends discuss this with the care home manager as early as possible. Only visitors who have been screened to ensure they are not displaying symptoms will be allowed to enter our homes.

Our staff have an even more important role to play during this outbreak, and we are supporting them to follow the latest guidance and care procedures. We are working closely with our teams to monitor their own health and well-being, and we have systems in place to communicate and obtain feedback from them regularly. We will continue to review our processes to support them to deliver essential care, particularly should any of them be affected. We want to take this opportunity to thank them all for their amazing hard work, dedication and resilience.

To find the contact details of your care home please visit

www.meallmore.co.uk/our-care-homes

Relevant links:

We are closely following and complying with information from Health Protection Scotland and Scottish Government to ensure we keep our residents safe, and that our amazing management and staff continue to deliver great care to all.

You can access relevant links to guidance below:

www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19

www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

https://www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/