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12th April 2021 - COVID-19 Visiting Update

Family visits to our care homes are treasured by residents and care teams, and we welcome the Government’s recent announcement of easing the visiting restrictions as part of the roadmap emerging from lockdown.

We know that visiting your loved one is important to you and to them - it is important to us too, and we have been excited to welcome one indoor visitor across our care homes these last few weeks, and with the latest announcement we now look forward to welcoming two named visitors indoors, albeit with a few restrictions still in place.

We have been and continue to be grateful for the way in which family members have helped us and residents to remain safe during this past year by adhering to our visiting guidelines.

 

Call the care home in advance to arrange a visit

Our care homes will maintain a telephone booking system for all visiting appointments. This includes; named indoor visitors, named bedroom visitors, pod and garden visits.

This allows each home to manage footfall; limiting the number of visitors at any one time and therefore limiting the risks of transmission. Some of our care homes may have limited visiting frequency, for example to one visit every one or two weeks. This is to enable each resident a chance to see their two named visitors. Please contact your relative’s care home directly for more information.

These measures also allow each home to ensure that all residents are given an opportunity to receive a regular visit, as we are mindful that visiting opportunities are now limited when compared to pre-COVID times, and we must ensure we adhere to social-distancing and infection control procedures.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or if you have been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 15 days, please do not attend a visit.

 

How our care home visits will work

To enable visits to go ahead, we need all visitors’ cooperation and adherence to infection control and social distancing guidance as per the following;

  • Visitors over the age of 11 must agree to have a Lateral Flow (LFD) rapid test for COVID-19 before entering an indoor visit. These tests are simple and require use of a throat and nasal swab, with results taking around 30 minutes. A team member who has been trained to undertake the test can help you or guide you through the process for testing yourself and recording your result. You will require a negative test result for your visit to continue.
  • Indoor visitors over the age of 11 will be required to wear the following provided PPE; a face mask, apron and gloves. For garden visits we ask that a mask is worn at all times.
  • Visitors will need to have their temperature taken and complete a health screening questionnaire.
  • Hand hygiene is very important so please ensure to use the carefully placed hand sanitiser before entering and upon leaving also.
  • Visitors will be able to hold hands with loved ones, although close contact is not advised (hugging and kissing).
  • Windows will be open for all indoor visits, as it important to provide good ventilation.
  • The 2-named visitors are in addition to the Essential Carer visits (Essential Carer being someone who forms part of the care and support delivery to an individual).

 

Named Visitors – Designated Visiting Area

  • These visits are for the two named visitors to visit their relative in a designated visiting area.
  • If from the same household, the 2 named visitors will be able to visit together, where visits are taking place in a designated visiting area, or they may choose to visit separately through taking turns on a pro-rata basis, e.g. one named visitor one week and then the other the following week, at a frequency decided by the care home.
  • Where a resident has the capacity to make decisions, they will decide who their named visitors will be.
  • Where a resident does not have capacity, the care home will discuss the situation with key individuals to seek an informed decision in their best interest.
  • The 2-named visitors must remain the same 2-named visitors throughout.
  • In addition to the 2-named visitors, one baby or small child under the age of 2 can also visit in a designated visiting room and will not be counted as part of the 2-named visitors.
  • People under the age of 18 and older than 2, can be counted as a second named visitor.
  • To minimise the risk of infection, children must be supervised at all times and may not leave the designated visiting area unless accompanied by an adult.

 

Named Visitors – Bedroom Visiting

  • These visits are for the 2-named visitors to visit their relative in their bedroom, in circumstances where a resident is cared for throughout the whole day.
  • Where the 2-named visitors are from the same household they will be able to visit their relative together but where the 2-named visitors are not from the same household we request that the visits take place on separate occasions.
  • If from the same household, the 2 named visitors will be able to visit together, where visits are taking place in a designated visiting area, or they may choose to visit separately through taking turns on a pro-rata basis, e.g. one named visitor one week and then the other the following week, at a frequency decided by the care home.
  • The 2-named visitors must remain the same 2-named visitors throughout.
  • In order to mitigate risk of infection, currently no one under the age of 18 will be able to undertake a bedroom visit.

 

Pod visits

  • In addition to the indoor visits, our pod visiting areas will continue to be available, enabling other family members to book pod visits, where they are not the named visitor.
  • Booked pod visits will enable 2 visitors to visit per session and will be subject to availability.
  • In addition to 2 visitors per session, up to two children under the age of 16, who are from the same household, may also visit in our pod-areas.

 

Garden Visits

  • With the warmer weather now upon us, and in line with government guidance, some care homes can facilitate garden visits, please book these visits as a pod-visit and then subject to weather on the day, you and relative may choose to take the visit in the garden.                   
  • These visits will enable 2 visitors to visit per session and will be subject to availability.
  • In addition to 2 visitors per session, up to two children under the age of 16, who are from the same household, may also visit in our garden-areas.

 

Visits out of care homes

The government have released new guidance on visits out of care homes. We ask that any relative wishing to take a loved one out of the home contacts the Home Manager by email, as the care home would need to put in place a robust individual risk assessment in order to keep everyone as safe as possible.

We would like to make our observations clear that the current variant, the risk of infection to your loved one and others is still very high. While in this last year, we have worked hard in partnership with all families to keep everyone as safe as possible, we really do need to be cautious with these visits out of the care home. However, ultimately this decision lies with residents and their loved ones and will be subject to risk measures.

You can learn more about visits outside of care homes by following this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/arrangements-for-visiting-out-of-the-care-home/visits-out-of-care-homes

 

Other Considerations

Prior to visiting, consider the effect that wearing PPE may have on two-way communication. For example, be prepared to speak a little more loudly and clearly, keep eye contact, do not wear anything that might conceal your face further and think about wearing clothing or your hair in a way that the resident will more likely recognise.

If at any time a care home experiences an outbreak of COVID-19, visiting will be suspended, but please be assured that all government and local health protection guidelines will be followed in this instance.

We appreciate your continued support and do hope that you understand that in prioritising the safety of residents we have to follow national guidance set out in law.

Please contact the Home Manager of your loved one’s care home by telephone or email if you have any questions concerning the above.

8th March 2021 - Update on single named visitors

We are excited to write this communication, as many of our care homes look forward to re-opening their doors for the first phase of internal visits from Tuesday 9th March 2021.

We cannot wait to welcome you back into our homes and to see residents’ faces beam with smiles, as they once again get to see you, whilst also being able to hold your hand.

In opening our doors to visiting once again, we do need to be mindful that COVID-19 has not gone away and therefore it is important that we continue to adopt a lifestyle in our care homes that reduces the risk of virus transmission.

Washing our hands regularly, use of hand sanitiser, not touching our faces, avoiding items touched by others, maintaining social distancing, use of PPE, regular testing regime of both LFD and PCR testing, along with the vaccination program – these are just some of the examples that we believe have a strong impact to mitigate the risks.

Our policies and procedures continue to be based on Government guidance and Public Health advice, we have reviewed and updated these based on the latest Government Visiting Guidance published on 4th March 2021, to enable a phased approach to safe and meaningful indoor visits.

In updating our policies, whilst based on government guidance; we have noted that the new way of visiting may seem a little restrictive, however please be assured that such necessarily cautious measures are needed in this first phase to ensure we find the right balance between infection prevention and supporting the health and wellbeing of the people living in our care homes.

Some key factors to the new way of visiting in line with Government guidance dated 4th of March 2021 are:

  • There will be one single named visitor for each individual resident.
  • The vaccination status of the visitor or the resident will not make a difference to the visit taking place or to the continued use of PPE. Despite the uptake of the vaccination, for now, PPE will need to be worn. As an extra measure of safety, we will also be completing an LFD test on the resident on the morning of the visit, and that test result also needs to be negative for the visit to proceed.
  • The nominated visitor will also undergo Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing at each visit, as well as the completion of health screening including having your temperature taken.
  • The LFD test does not guarantee that you do not have COVID-19, so we still need to make sure visits take place in a safe way, such as ensuring you are wearing the provided PPE correctly and by following the strict infection control measures in place.
  • Visitors should keep physical contact to a minimum, as any contact increases the risk of transmission. There should not be close physical contact such as hugging; however, you will be allowed to hold hands with your loved one.
  • The indoor visit will take place in a designated area, unless a resident is normally cared for in their bedroom, then the visit will take place in the resident’s room.
  • The visiting area must be well-ventilated, and a member of our staff team will clean the area before and after each visit. Please note you must refrain from eating and drinking during the visit.
  • For us to manage these visits, you will be required to book your visiting session in advance.
  • The duration of the indoor visit will be limited, this may vary per care home and will be confirmed to residents’ next of kin by the care home manager.
  • Indoor nominated visits will initially take place once every 2 weeks. This helps us to give all residents a chance to see their single named family member or friend.
  • Prior to your visit, consider the effect that wearing PPE will have on two-way communication. For example, be prepared to speak a little more loudly and clearly, keep eye contact, do not wear anything that might conceal your face further and think about wearing clothing or your hair in a way that your loved one will more likely recognise.
  • Outdoor visits, window visits, visits using a screen and palliative care visits will also be continuing, in addition to the indoor visiting sessions.
  • Do not visit if you are currently self-isolating, have tested positive or experienced symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
  • In the event of an outbreak, we will immediately stop all visiting, this is in line with Government guidance to protect our residents, relatives, and staff. These restrictions will continue until the outbreak is confirmed over, which will be at least 28 days after the last laboratory confirmed case whether this be in a resident or team member.

We are not experts in Coronavirus and whilst we recognise that this new way of visiting is not how you previously visited your loved one (prior to COVID-19), we assure you that we are following all the Government guidance and by taking these precautionary measures, we hope to mitigate the risks and keep everyone as safe as we can.

Our rainbow of hope is most definitely beginning to shine brighter and together we will bring sunshine through our first and welcomed phase of indoor visiting, which is a step forward in these unprecedented times.

Thank you for all your continued support and kindness.

13th January 2021 - Update on vaccinations

At Excelcare, we are excited that vaccines are being made available to people in vulnerable categories across the country. We are also delighted that these vaccines are being made available to frontline workers, in order to stem the tide of transmission.

As you know from our updates, the media & health updates, Vaccines will help curb the impact of Covid 19 on people’s health, however, all other measures to mitigate the risk of transmission, still need to be taken.

The NHS has confirmed, that throughout January they will be working hard to ensure care home residents receive vaccinations, and that they are confident that they will have administered at least the first dose to all care homes in the country by the end of this month.

As the NHS have vaccines available, our homes will be informed when they will come out to offer Vaccines to our residents.

This may happen at very short notice, so it’s important that we have all the correct details on file for your loved one around consent to Vaccination.

As a next of kin, your local care home will inform you as soon as we have been given a date and, in the meantime, will be in touch around consent and the best interests decision framework regarding Vaccination.

Vaccines to prevent the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are perhaps the best hope for us to return to our lives before the pandemic. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following infection control guidance will offer the best protection against the spread of COVID-19. It is estimated that for every 20 vaccinations undertaken, at least 1 life will be saved! We have attached a fact sheet of frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and how the rollout may affect your relative as well as our home.

Should you have any further questions relating to our approach to COVID-19, the rollout of vaccinations or our care home visiting arrangements, please do not hesitate to contact me. or get in touch with our dedicated COVID-19 support team at covid19helpline@excelcareholdings.com.

Thank you once again for your continued understanding and support.

23rd December 2020 - Update on visiting care homes

Following the government Conference which took place on 23rd December; further areas of England will go into a Tier 4 lockdown from Boxing Day (26th December).

When addressing visitations to care homes located in areas up to and including Tier 4, the government advise the following –

Visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows.

Therefore, all booked screened visits will go ahead as previously advised, across all Excelcare homes, regardless of Tier.

People are advised not to enter Tier 4 areas and travel outside of Tier 4 is not permitted, except for work purposes. We kindly ask that this guidance is followed when visiting our care homes.

The following areas are currently under Tier 4 restrictions:

• Kent
• Buckinghamshire
• Berkshire
• Surrey (excluding Waverley)
• The boroughs of Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings
• All 32 London boroughs and the city of London
• Bedford
• Central Bedfordshire
• Milton Keynes
• Luton
• Peterborough
• Hertfordshire
• Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring)

The following areas will be escalated to Tier 4 from Boxing Day (26th December) onwards:

• Sussex
• Oxfordshire
• Suffolk
• Norfolk
• Cambridgeshire
• Areas of Essex not already in tier four
• Waverley in Surrey
• Hampshire - including Portsmouth and Southampton but with the exception of the New Forest

Thank you for your continued support.

As always should 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.

Osman Ertosun
Chairman/CEO

19th December 2020 - Update on visiting care homes

Update on Visiting Care Homes – 19th December 2020

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement that areas of England will go into a Tier 4 lockdown from midnight tonight, the government have updated their website to advise the following –

Visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows.

Therefore, all booked screened visits will go ahead as previously advised earlier this week, across all Excelcare homes, regardless of Tier.

People were advised not to enter Tier 4 areas and travel outside of Tier 4 is not permitted, except for work purposes. We kindly ask that this guidance is followed when visiting our care homes.

The following areas will be under Tier 4:

  • Kent
  • Buckinghamshire
  • Berkshire
  • Surrey (excluding Waverley)
  • The boroughs of Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings
  • All 32 London boroughs and the city of London.
  • Bedford
  • Central Bedfordshire
  • Milton Keynes
  • Luton
  • Peterborough
  • Hertfordshire
  • Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring)

We await further guidance from the government on ‘outward-visits’ which were being permitted for the period of 23rd-27th December, as the latest Tier 4 lockdown may now override this due to the new variant of the virus, and the potential risk it poses.

Thank you for your continued support.

Osman Ertosun
Chairman/CEO

17th December 2020 - COVID-19 Update

Within Excelcare our number one priority remains the safety and wellbeing of everyone living and working in our care homes. We recognise the importance of visiting, especially at this time of year when friends and families would normally gather to reminisce and share gifts, love, and laughter.

We firmly believe that family and friends are fundamental to the health and wellbeing of the people who live in our care homes and we are committed to ensuring residents can enjoy visits throughout the festive season wherever possible, while complying with guidelines.

For us to deliver on this commitment we have carried out our own internal risk assessment, which took into consideration the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) roll out of the new rapid visitors’ tests to care homes, along with the current COVID-19 surge across the UK, and additionally the normal winter season risks of infections such as Influenza.  

Our risk review took on board the current level of uncertainty around the accuracy of the results of the rapid test, with a success rate of between 50 and 70 per cent. At present, data is showing that these tests are failing to correctly identify 25% of cases where no symptoms are shown, leading to a negative test result in cases where an individual should have tested positive.

As the care provider of your loved one, these figures concern us, as jointly you and our frontline team have worked very hard during the pandemic to keep everyone safe. We believe that to continue delivering safe outcomes, we need to put a delay on implementing the rapid testing across our homes.

We understand that this statement will be disappointing and wish to offer our assurances that this decision was not taken lightly but was done to minimise the risk to your loved ones. We will review the use of Rapid testing early in the new year, when we hope that the data shared by others evidences more reliable results that mitigate the risks.

In the meantime, all of our homes have in place a safe screened visiting area and we have put in place additional staffing to enable each home to accommodate more visiting sessions over the festive period. We have also put in place our own risk measures above the current outbreak guidelines, in the hope that we will be able to continue to offer safe visiting sessions throughout this period.

Each of the three Tier Systems currently in use in the UK allow for care home visiting, so under the current system, visits taking place in safe visiting spaces will not be affected should the status of your area change.

Our homes will also continue to offer window waves, video calls and of course our team will support your loved ones with the reading and writing of Christmas cards and letters.

Visits in exceptional circumstances such as end of life will always be supported and enabled. Our care homes will ensure that the right visiting arrangements are in place for each resident, facilitating end of life visiting as much as possible and appropriate with an individual’s situation, but made as safely as possible including the appropriate infection prevention control measures.

This year has sadly been dominated by the Coronavirus disease and as the weather turns colder, we will experience higher cases but with your continued support, we will do all we can to keep everyone as safe as possible.

On behalf of everyone within the Excelcare-family, we wish you season’s greetings and we look forward to a brighter new year.

Osman Ertosun
Chairman/CEO


As always, at Excelcare our first priority is putting the safety and wellbeing of the people living and working in our care homes and 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.

Click on the categories below to find out more about 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.


Protect-Icon.jpg  Protecting residents and team members

We would like to share with you the measures Excelcare has in place to ensure that 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 and 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 is being 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 move in 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. 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 re-designed their lounge & dining spaces and created 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. We continue to ensure fresh air flow throughout our homes and in our offices as well.

Care and nursing team members have been closely monitoring the wellbeing of all residents and any changes in health & wellbeing are promptly escalated for further investigation. Our colleagues work closely with GPs, District Nurses, local hospitals and the out of hours services to ensure 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.

Home-Icon.jpg  Visiting our care homes

Visits to residents in our care homes will be supported wherever they can happen safely. The registered manager of each care home is responsible for setting the visiting policy and for considering the individual needs of each resident.

To ensure safe and comfortable visits from loved ones can be accommodated, each care home has worked closely with their Regional and Central Support teams, as well as with, families and local Health Protection Teams to find the right balance between the benefits of visiting on wellbeing and quality of life, and the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to vulnerable residents and care home teams.

Each resident is now able to nominate two named visitors who can come into the care home, providing they test negative on every visit, wear the right personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow all infection control measures that are in place.

For the first time since the start of the current lockdown, pre-booked visits can take place indoors and without screens. People may wish to hold hands but must bear in mind that any contact increases risk, and closer physical contact such as hugging must not take place. Every visit will have infection control protocols and safe social distancing in place, including a hand sanitiser station and fresh PPE before entry.

In addition to these single named visitor appointments, our COVID-secure ‘pod’ visiting areas remain available at each of our care homes, and in some care homes these visits may be moved into the garden area, weather depending. These designated ‘pod’ spaces were created in line with government guidance released in relation to visiting care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. After each visit, the areas are deep cleaned to ensure all surfaces are wiped down and disinfected.

Visits at our care homes continue to be subject to guidelines released by each care home’s local Health Protection Team, and so are subject to change on an ongoing basis. Visits will continue as specified at each care home, providing that the home is not experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19. The department of health has advised that a care home COVID-19 outbreak is declared when there are two or more care home team members, residents and/or visitors testing positive within 14 days of each other. This is to protect vulnerable residents and team members.

For those unable to visit, we also continue to support the many innovative methods to keep people in touch with their loved ones; including video calls, window-waves and small gestures such as handwritten notes and handmade gifts, which have helped to keep people in touch with each other.

For more information on visiting arrangements at our care homes, please click here to read our COVID-19 Visiting Guide.

To stay up to date with your local care home’s visiting arrangements, we recommend following them on Facebook using the links below, or contacting the care home directly for advice.

Cambridge

Essex

London

Milton Keynes

Aliwal Manor Care Home

Abbot Care Home

Castlebar Care Home

Castlemead Court Care Home

Brook House Care Home

Ashlyn Care Home

Limetree Care Home

Dovecote Manor Care Home

Buchan House Care Home

Goldenley Care Home

Park Avenue Care Home

Neath House Care Home

Etheldred House Care Home

Lime Court Care Home

Peartree Care Home

Water Hall Care Home

Fitzwilliam House Care Home

Longfield Care Home

Queens Oak Care Home

The Willows Care Home

Glennfield Care Home

Okeley Care Home

Westport Care Home

 

Hunters Down Care Home

Sherrell House Care Home

Windmill Care Home

 

Primrose Croft Care Home

Stanley Wilson Lodge Care Home

 

 

Rheola Care Home

St Fillans Care Home

 

 

St Georges Court Care Home

Sweyne Court Care Home

 

 

 

Winifred Dell Care Home

 

 

 

Please note that we will regularly review our visiting policy and therefore welcome any feedback from your visits preferably by email, your feedback will help us to make any improvements needed.

We have emailed each resident’s next of kin with a series of guidance documents relating to indoor visiting, if you would like to receive a copy of these guidance documents, please send an email to covid19helpline@excelcareholdings.com.

Identify-Icon.jpg  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 residents in some of our care homes who have confirmed cases of COVID-19, many residents have recovered and very sadly we have had residents that have passed away as a result of the pandemic. Every one 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 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 residents in 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. Should your loved one be directly affected by COVID-19, rest assured that we will call to discuss their situation with you as next of kin or LPA directly.

Vaccine-Icon.jpg  Vaccinations

As you may know, the vaccine is now being rolled out across care homes in the UK, and some of our homes have already begun the vaccination process. This is brilliant news and while we are excited about this progress, we are still being patient and vigilant in ensuring that the safety of the residents is our top priority.

Strict approval processes mean that all approved vaccines have met strict safety standards and are our best defence against the virus. Getting vaccinated means gaining a higher level of protection from the virus and helping to protect those most vulnerable.

The care home will notify each resident’s next of kin as to when the vaccines become available. This may vary slightly between areas due to how the vaccines are made available and distributed from the local Clinical Commissioning Groups’ (CCGs) central distribution system.

The NHS have confirmed to us that throughout January they will be concentrating their efforts on care home residents being vaccinated and are confident that they will have administered at least the first dose to all care homes in the country by the end of January 2021.The Home Manager will keep residents, relatives and staff up to date on the progress of the vaccination programme and will be happy to help with any questions you may have by telephone or email.

Click here to view our fact sheet of frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine in practice and how the rollout may affect your relative as well as our services.

Care-Icon.jpg  Our high standard of care

We are ensuring that the care that we give is maintained to the high standard that we all expect. Regulators are carrying out focussed inspections in homes, around Infection Control and key areas of the Key Lines of Enquiry – Well Led and Safe, these inspections are more targeted and focussed for the time being. All inspection teams are required to be temperature checked, complete the health questionnaire, use PPE and to follow hand washing and sanitising guidelines for the duration of the inspection.
 

Quality assurance is at the heart of our commitment to delivering the highest standards of care and a quality of life to all our residents. Our internal quality governance framework helps our team at all levels to drive improvement which deliver better outcomes for those in our care.
 

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.

Guidance-Icon.jpg  Guidance for residents, families and team members

You may have seen some worrying media coverage about how some care homes in the UK have been affected during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has caused some very understandable anxiety for people whose relatives lives in a care home or for people who find themselves in need of a care home for themselves or a loved one.

We take the safety and wellbeing of the people who live and work in our care homes very seriously, and ensuring people remain as safe and supported as possible has always been our top priority; even before the pandemic.

To help you to learn more about life in our care homes during COVID-19, we have produced a series of case studies, guidance and general resources around any changes that residents and their loved ones may experience.

Wellbeing-Icon.jpg  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.

Tech-Icon.jpg  Connecting through technology

Each of our 33 care homes have Wi-Fi available and 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.

Each care home has also been gifted an interactive touch-screen activity table by Excelcare’s CEO, Osman Ertosun, helping to enhance care home activities and boost resident wellbeing. Specially designed for care homes, each table is portable allowing them to be easily moved from room to room, and provide a mixture of fun, learning, music, films, nostalgia, sensory activities and games. They can provide daily entertainment and stimulation to older people, including people who live with Dementia.

Team-Icon.jpg  The wellbeing of our colleagues

Over the last year, 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, 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. All 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 so 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.

Thank you to everyone who has written to us to thank our brilliant team for the amazing work they have put in to keep your loved ones safe in these challenging times.

We strive to ensure that all comments left through social media, emails and reviews are fed back to our teams, and each one is so greatly appreciated by all of our team members. In these tough times, it is important now more than ever to be kind and appreciative, and we are endlessly grateful for the endeavours of our teams , and it means a lot to know that you all are too.

At Excelcare, we see our partnership with residents, their loved ones and our colleagues as a family and we pride ourselves on our dedicated team members who are carefully selected, not only for their experience and skills but, just as importantly, their caring natures, passion and values which complement and match our own. Watching them endeavour to provide the highest standard of care during these unprecedented times has lifted our spirits immensely and we appreciate their hard work dearly.

If you have had a great experience, please feel welcome to leave us a review on Google, carehome.co.uk, or your local care home’s Facebook page.

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.

Support-Icon.jpg  Supporting our dedicated teams

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 and 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’.

The wellbeing and mental health of our team members is incredibly important to us. Due to restrictions on face to face training, MHFA England has launched their Mental Health First Aider course virtually and we are now offering this within the organisation to support our colleagues.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an internationally recognised training course, designed to teach people how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and provide help on a first aid basis.

The role of our Mental Health First Aiders in the workplace is to be a point of contact for employees who are experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress. This interaction could range from having an initial conversation through to supporting the person to get appropriate help. Mental Health first aiders are not trained to be therapists or psychiatrists but they can offer initial support through non-judgemental listening and guidance.

Support has also been made available to our teams through a central COVID-19 support helpline and email, monitored by our dedicated COVID-19 support team to provide reassurance and assistance should they feel overwhelmed or have any questions they would like to ask.

Rainbow-Icon.jpg  Our 'Rainbow of Hope' and the Excelcare 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 increase rate in pay for these frontline workers and set up 'The Rainbow Fund', to raise some money and provide them with a thank you gift.

With an initial target of £15,000, The Rainbow Fund was shared far and wide to gather support, with many donations from families and friends of our care homes, their communities and also Excelcare support office team members, who were keen to support their colleagues on the frontline.

In addition to our GoFundMe page, efforts were also seen from within Excelcare, with a successful raffle being held, raising £698 and Excelcare’s own Head of Financial Operations, Steve Parker, cycling 437 kilometres with his family to raise an incredible £1,195! Before long, we had surpassed our target, raising a massive £20,000 in total!

Our Chairman, Ozzie, had originally pledged to match the amount raised, but after seeing the overwhelming generosity and support from everyone who donated, he decided to treble our total so that all of Excelcare’s frontline team members could receive a gift card to thank them for their incredible work during such unprecedented times.

We are overwhelmed and incredibly grateful for the kind messages and donations received. The money raised was used to gift each team member with a gift voucher, as a thank you for their help and support during these uncertain times. Our annual Staff Appreciation Week was celebrated across the Excelcare group from August 17th-21st, and presented the perfect opportunity to combine celebrations and praise with these gift tokens as well as additional gifts to show our gratitude to our team members for their incredible efforts.

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. 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.

 

 

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.