As always, at Excelcare our first priority is putting the safety and wellbeing of the people living & working in our care homes & their family and friends, at the centre of any actions we take.

We would like to take this opportunity to reassure you that we are continuously monitoring COVID-19 pandemic guidelines released by the Government, Public Health England and CQC, (the independent regulator of health and social care) as a matter of the utmost priority. This is to ensure that we keep everyone involved with our services safe and that each of our care home team members are supported to safely continue their work in providing the highest quality care in such unprecedented times.

Robust and comprehensive contingency plans have been put in place in response to the Coronavirus outbreak in the UK. We have set up a COVID-19 Response Team to review and share up to date guidance and information to our colleagues working in each of our services. We are keeping our contingency and risk management plans under regular review and updated as advised by the Government and Public Health England.

We are still supporting people to move into our care homes, so please do give your local Excelcare care home a call if you are looking for care or need any advice or assistance.

Where we are supporting new residents from the community to move into our care homes, we have clear protocols in place. This ensures that where possible they have been COVID-19 tested; and where this is not possible, they will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19. If it is deemed appropriate for an individual to move in, they will be required to self-isolate for 14 days for their safety and the safety of others.

In line with Government guidance, any resident moving in or returning from hospital will have to be tested before being accepted into our care. We have clear protocols in place to ensure the safety of all our residents and care home teams.

Below you will find the latest updates and guidance on our services, how they are affected by COVID-19 and the steps we are taking to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those we care for and our colleagues on the frontline. You will also find a list of resources at the bottom of the page, as well as useful website links relating to COVID-19.

 

Our Care Home Visiting Guidelines

We understand that an important part of wellbeing for residents living in our care homes, is being able to socialise and see their loved ones and we know that many of you are missing this immensely.  We are pleased to announce that we have carefully undertaken our own risk review and we will be applying a phased approach that safely enables some of our care homes to facilitate outdoor booked visits. In line with Government guidance, we sought advice with The Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Public Health England that has enabled us to draw up internal COVID-19 Visiting procedures for each of our care homes. We have also developed visiting guidelines for the family and friends of the people we care for.

It remains that visitors are not permitted inside our care homes, apart from in some exceptional circumstances. This is to maintain necessary infection control measures in our care homes during the current COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Where visitors are permitted, entry is subject to strict conditions being followed and the Home Manager or Regional Director has the right to withdraw permission at any time without notice, should they feel this to be in the interests of residents and care home teams.

If you are planning to visit an Excelcare care home it is important that you do so safely and in a way that minimises the risk of infection to our residents and care home team. As part of this process, we will ask you to complete a Health Questionnaire and a Visitors Agreement;  this can be completed when arriving at the care home or before you arrive and can be sent via email.

Please click here to find out more about our current visiting guidelines.

Following the Health Secretaries announcement on the 9th July advising that people living in care homes in England will soon be allowed to have loved ones visit them inside their residence, so long as the facility has been made COVID-19 secure.

Currently, there is no national guidance on this, but please be assured that once this is received; we will review each home individually to assess the risks on a home by home basis. Our priority will remain that of keeping our residents, staff and visitors as safe as possible.

In the meantime, we will continue with the current measures in place on a home by home basis whereby some homes have now opened up their garden areas, for booked outdoor visiting sessions. In addition to this, all of our homes are still continuing to support our residents to keep in touch with their loved ones through phone; Facetime and Zoom.

 

Booking Your Visit

Based on our flowchart, if the care home has been free from any outbreak for 28 days or longer and both you and your relative or friend are well enough to undertake a visit in a designated outdoor area, then this can be arranged by booking a visit by contacting the care home directly.

 

Protecting Residents and Team Members

We would like to share with you the measures Excelcare has in place to ensure that our residents and care home teams are kept safe and well.

It is extremely important to us that our colleagues on the frontline are following the most up to date Government guidance on wearing PPE and we have been monitoring our stock levels continuously; ensuring PPE has been available for all of our team members throughout the pandemic.

Any of our colleagues who are working with residents are wearing face masks throughout their shift and wear gloves and aprons when supporting residents, for example, with their personal care.

Additional levels of PPE including face visors, goggles, gowns, overshoes are available in all of our care homes and are used when the comprehensive risk assessments that are in place indicate that they are required. Our frontline employees have each received full training on the use of PPE, and additional infection control training has also been completed. This training has been refreshed and delivered throughout the duration of the pandemic.

In cases where anyone we support has developed any of the ‘soft signs’ that may indicate COVID-19, for example a temperature, cough, or a loss of taste or smell, isolation procedures have been put into place immediately. Anyone moving into our care homes are being tested prior to admission and full isolation is commenced for a minimum of 14 days, or until the Home Manager is satisfied that it can be safely stopped.

Each of our care homes have undertaken thorough risk assessments in key areas and identified any people who need to be more shielded at the current time; for their safety, each of these individuals has been supported to remain largely in their own rooms. People who come back from hospital or move in with a COVID-19 positive result are required to isolate for 14 days. Any new resident moving into the home, must also isolate for 14 days – this follows PHE guidelines and helps us reduce the risk of infection in the homes.

Throughout our services, there has been a focus on social distancing; where needed, some care homes have moved chairs or brought in additional dining tables to create more space in communal areas. Our offices have also been realigned to enable everyone to socially distance and hand sanitising stations have been set up throughout all Excelcare locations for use by both employees and residents.

Care and nursing team members have been closely monitoring the wellbeing of all residents and any variations in their health has been promptly escalated for further investigation. Our colleagues work closely with GPs, District Nurses, local hospitals and the out of hours services to ensures that they are able to access support and advice 24 hours a day. We also make full use of technology that enables advice to be sought without increasing the number of professional visitors who are travelling to our care homes; virtual GP rounds are now common practice.

 

Testing and Confirmation of Cases

Each of our homes are working with their local authority partners and Public Health England for continued COVID-19 testing for both residents and team members.

We have had and continue to have residents in some of our care homes who have confirmed cases of COVID-19 and very sadly we have had residents that have passed away from this terrible virus.  Each of these deaths is a very sad event for all of us and we send our sincerest condolences to any families and friends.

We recognise how important it is, particularly when you cannot visit, to ensure that you are aware of the situation regarding COVID-19 in the care home where your loved one lives and we are doing our best to ensure that you are kept informed.  Should a care home be impacted by COVID-19 you will be contacted and informed as soon as possible. In such communications, we will outline what we are doing to keep residents as safe and well as possible. If we need to contact you about your loved one, we will call to discuss their situation with the resident’s next of kin directly.

 

Our High Standard of Care

We are ensuring that the care that we give is maintained to the high standard that we all expect. As you may know, our internal Quality and Governance Teams have not been inspecting our care homes and neither have the care regulators, in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 infection.

We have in place a robust quality assurance system involving completion of detailed Care and Governance Audits that we are asking our Head Office; Regional and Care Home Teams to complete. This includes infection control and a range of other key care measures, including a clear reporting process, with oversight by Senior Management Teams. 

In addition, we are in frequent communication with the Care Quality Commission (the Care Regulator) and other external agencies to advise them of the steps we are taking.  Alongside this we are continuing to hold frequent socially distanced resident meetings, to ensure that the people who live in each of our care homes are heard, their suggestions listened to and that they are able to tell us how they are feeling, if they are able.

 

Lifestyle and Wellbeing of Residents

We are very aware that an important part of living in a care home is being able to socialise and enjoy physical, mental, spiritual and cultural activity that is vital for overall health and wellbeing. 

As we have limited external visits, some of the activities that usually happen through external provision are not taking place, including outings. Instead, each of our care homes has a revised weekly activity plan in place. This includes new ways of keeping everyone active, including a number of virtual activities and entertainment sessions, whilst ensuring that the group activities are smaller, adhering to physical distancing advice and that cleanliness routines are implemented.

Our team members who specialise in Lifestyle and Wellbeing have been vigilant to ensure that nobody feels isolated, by working hard to provide additional 1 to 1 support to people who have remained in their rooms.

 

Connecting Through Technology

Each of our 33 care homes have been provided with new technology including tablets and dedicated mobile phones, making it easier for friends and relatives of the people living in the homes to continue socialising with their loved ones by phone, video calls and online messaging. We have produced accessible guidance on the use of tablets and technology to keep the people living in our care homes connected with their loved ones and to ensure they are kept occupied and entertained during this difficult time.

 

The Wellbeing of our Colleagues

Over the last few weeks and months, the generosity and wealth of support from families, friends and local small businesses to the care homes has been outstanding. Our care homes have regularly received donations ranging from homemade scrubs, homemade cakes, boxes of doughnuts and chocolates  to pizzas from the local take away. These unexpected, but much appreciated gifts have gone a long way to lift spirits, and have also served as a reminder that the care home teams are very much appreciated and loved by local communities.

We have fantastic people working hard throughout the Excelcare Group. They are professional, skilled, dedicated and compassionate people who place individual care at the heart of what they do. We are truly proud of how everyone has worked to hard and remained so positive throughout these uncertain times, working together as a team and using their expertise, kindness and caring approaches to support the people who live in our care homes.

We would like to extend our thanks to those who have sent words of kindness and positive messages to our colleagues on the front line; this has meant a lot to them and we are ensuring that we share these comments with them to acknowledge all of their hard work.

In order to ensure that our team members have the support they need to continue their dedicated work we have been listening to understand how the impact of COVID-19 is affecting their lives and taking positive steps to help them to feel supported and reassured.

 

Rainbow Fund

The Excelcare Rainbow FundDuring this pandemic, many of our Excelcare team members have been on the frontline, supporting some of the most vulnerable in society and keeping them in good spirits. Their hard work, commitment and caring approach has not wavered and many have gone above and beyond their roles to keep people supported. In light of this, the senior management team announced an increased rate of pay for these frontline workers and set up 'The Rainbow Fund', to raise some money and provide them with a thank you gift.

Since launching the Excelcare Rainbow Fund, we have been overwhelmed with the support and donations we have received from our friends, relatives and communities that surround our care homes. Many have come with kind words and messages of support for those working in care-based roles, which have all been touching to read. The money raised will be used to gift each key worker with a token gift voucher, as a thank you for their help and support during these uncertain times.

To find out more about the Excelcare Rainbow Fund, or to make a donation, please click here.

 

Available Support for our Colleagues

As a family-run company, we consider our team members as extended family members. We are all individuals and as such we should endeavour to value the differences that make each of us unique.

During these unprecedented times, we understand that some of our colleagues may find themselves experiencing new or old concerns resurfacing due to the impact COVID-19 has on their lives. We at Excelcare are aware of the significance of living and working with the threat of COVID-19 and how this situation may impact our mental health and wellbeing by requiring us as a society to think and work differently. None of us know when this pandemic will pass or if it will ever pass enough for it to become a memory.

With this in mind, we as a group felt it important to gather information & resources to support each of our team members during these unprecedented times. We have gathered a host of information and made this available to each of our team members, to serve as a learning tool and reminder to look after themselves and each other. These wellbeing resources are sorted into five categories; Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give which follow the ‘Five Ways of Wellbeing’.

 

Excelcare’s Rainbow of Hope

While these have indeed been difficult times, we are proud that our colleagues have not only received an overwhelming amount of support from the community through many generous donations and good deeds, but have also been there to support each other and succeeded in taking something positive from their situations. To spread some joy and inspiration, we decided we needed to shout it from the rooftops. Created by the Excelcare family, our music video, ‘Rainbow of Hope’, features our colleagues from each of Excelcare’s services, passing on messages of love, encouragement and support to one another by sharing words describing their positive experiences during the pandemic.

The inspirational song used for this video was written by our very own Chief Operating Officer, Sam Manning, with our ‘Care Home Superheroes’ in mind. ‘Rainbow of Hope’ is available to purchase on Bandcamp by clicking here, with all proceeds going towards the Excelcare Rainbow Fund.

Please listen, enjoy, reflect and share with your friends and families in appreciation of all the amazing and brave roles our frontline colleagues have taken on during these unprecedented times. We hope that this video brings a smile to your face and hope for brighter days ahead.

 

 
Support and Advice

If you have any questions relating to our approach to COVID-19, or would like to request any further information, please email our dedicated team at covid19helpline@excelcareholdings.com.

To see the latest Government issued information relating to COVID-19, please click here, or to view the latest advice issued by Public Health England please click here.