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4th April 2022 - ‘Living with COVID’ Update

We hope you are all well and enjoying welcoming in the sunshine and warmth of spring. We are writing today as the Government, as we’re sure you’re aware, have announced the next steps on ‘Living with COVID’. Our dedicated COVID-19 Support Team have had a series of important discussions around blending this advice against the backdrop of a high rate of COVID-19 infections.

We’re writing this update as we’d like to let you know what this means for you and for our care home teams. As of today:

  • We are pleased to announce that visitors to our care homes will no longer need to book their visits, and can visit the care home at any time, as they did in the days before the pandemic. You can now spend time on your visit in communal areas more freely.
  • We will still ask that visitors complete an LFD test before visiting and continue to wear a face mask. For as long as we have supplies of LFD tests at the care home, we will be happy to provide one to you, free of charge.
  • Where there is a local confirmed outbreak, only one visitor will be permitted to visit, and this person can be interchangeable as long as they take an LFD test and wear the appropriate levels of PPE.
  • At the present time, given the high prevalence of new cases of COVID-19, the care home team will continue to test twice weekly, but not as a matter of course. This will be the same for any Essential Care Givers (nominated relatives or friends who are providing personal care).
  • Residents will be tested if they experience symptoms of COVID-19 but will not be regularly tested otherwise.
  • Residents will be able to get out and about more freely and will no longer need to quarantine upon return from a high risk area, nor be required to test upon their return to the care home.
  • Where a resident does have a positive test, they will need to quarantine for 10 days, unless they test negative for 2 consecutive days, after 5 days of quarantine.
  • If an outbreak occurs the service will now be closed to visiting for 10 days rather than 14 days and of course we will inform you of this as appropriate.
  • We will be supporting each of the people living in our care homes, as well as our team members, to take up the COVID-19 booster vaccination as it becomes available, as we believe that this remains to be the best protection against the virus.

We are delighted to be moving on to this next phase and taking a step closer to normality once again. It is important to keep in mind that we are all still living with COVID-19, as we continue to follow important guidelines and risk assessments, ensuring we are doing all we can to keep everyone as safe as possible. We hope you agree that this feels like another positive step forwards.

We will be looking to review these guidelines in 4 weeks’ time, with the hope that the prevalence of COVID-19 infections decreases in line with the warmer months being on their way, and there’s every chance we will take away the need to test before visiting.

There is a lot to look forward to in the coming months, with celebrations for Easter, the Queens unofficial birthday and Jubilee, and National Tea Day, National Gardening Week and Dementia Action Week, to name just a few. As ever, we will be creating exciting menus and planning lots of activities for all to enjoy, as we look forward to inviting families and the local community to play a big part in these special events once again.

As always if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us with your queries, concerns, and comments, and we will continue to do our best to respond as quickly as we can. Each of our care homes continue to communicate updates around COVID-19 with residents' nominated family members. If you would like to receive any further information, please contact the homes directly or our Quality team on cqt@excelcareholdings.com who will be happy to help you with any queries.

Sending our very best wishes to you and your families, and we look forward to welcoming you for your next visit soon.

24th March 2022 - COVID-19 Visiting Update

The Government has released new guidance effective from Tuesday 22nd March 2022, which replaces previous guidance. The new measures described relate to visits with friends and family, as well as the rules on quarantine where there is an outbreak or following a positive test result.

The Government expect and encourage providers to facilitate visits wherever possible, and to do so in a risk-managed way to ensure the people living and working in our care remain as safe as possible. This means our care homes are still required to evidence safe and effective management of visiting at all times.

At Excelcare, we believe that visiting is an integral part of care home life. It is vitally important for maintaining the health, wellbeing and quality of life of residents. Visiting is also crucial for family and friends to maintain contact and life-long relationships with their loved ones, and to contribute to their support and care.

With the above in mind, we will continue to do all we can to facilitate visits in and out of our care homes, while keeping all parties well-informed, undertaking thorough risk assessments and learning and responding to feedback. We continue to do all we can to keep residents, visitors and team members as safe as possible.

The key changes described in this update are as follows:

  • The quarantine period for people living in care homes has been reduced from 14 days to 10 days.
  • We recognise that physical contact can help everyone’s health and wellbeing. In relation to PPE, visitors do need to continue to wear face masks, but gloves are no longer required. Proper handwashing techniques should continue to be observed.
  • The duration of visits is no longer limited, so long as safe visiting practices can be maintained.
  • Subject to a risk assessment by the local Health Protection Team (HPT), outbreak restrictions may be lifted if 10 days have passed since the onset of symptoms in the most recent case, a round of PCR recovery testing of everyone living and working in the care home is undertaken, and there are no PCR positive results. We will continue to work closely with the teams to enable visits in areas of the home that are free from outbreaks.
  • Visitors are advised against visiting the care home (for 10 days) if they have been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19, unless absolutely necessary, even if they have been fully vaccinated. Where visits do occur, visitors should have received a negative lateral flow test result earlier in the day of their visit.

The following guidelines remain in place with no changes for visits taking place inside our care homes:

  • People living in care homes are welcome to have named visitors indoors (including their Essential Care Giver if they have one) under specific conditions designed to help prevent COVID-19 transmission as much as possible.
  • With prior agreement of the Care Home Manager, visitors who are parents will also be able to visit with children and babies (children are expected to remain with their parents/supervisor at all times).
  • Visits should take place in a room most practical and comfortable for the resident (for example, residents with dementia may be more comfortable in their own room with familiar belongings)
  • We ask that visitors continue to arrange their visits in advance with the care home, as this helps to safely manage the number of people attending at any one time, to ensure we are supporting safe visiting practices considering the size and layout of the care home
  • Visitors must produce a negative test using a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test before every visit, must wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow all other infection control measures (which the care home will guide them on) during visits.
  • We will continue to support all care home residents to nominate an essential care giver. Essential care givers need to follow additional testing arrangements.
  • Our care homes continue to offer a range of visiting options to visitors, including face-to-face, POD visits, video calls and window waves.
  • Visitors should not enter the care home if they are feeling unwell, even if they have tested negative for COVID-19 and are fully vaccinated and have received their booster. Transmissible viruses such as flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and norovirus can be just as dangerous to care home residents as COVID-19. If visitors have any symptoms that suggest other transmissible viruses and infections, such as cough, high temperature, diarrhoea or vomiting, they should avoid the care home until at least 5 days after they feel better.

The following guidelines remain in place for visits taking place outside our care homes:

  • Residents who go on a normal visit out of the care home will no longer need to quarantine on return, regardless of their vaccination status.
  • Based on a risk assessment, residents may need to quarantine when returning from a high-risk visit out, for example a large event, or an emergency hospital admission.

Within Excelcare our mission throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been to keep people as safe as possible, and this remains our focus for everyone. We will continue to do all that we can to mitigate the risk of outbreaks within our care homes.

In the event of an outbreak, we will work with the Local Infection Prevention & Control (IPC) and Public Health England (PHE) leads. Subject to a risk assessment by the local Health Protection Team (HPT), the following outbreak control measures may be in place for up to 14 days following the last positive case:

  • It is likely that visiting would be stopped or curtailed – dependent on the level of the outbreak, local case numbers and other risk factors determined by the local leads in conjunction with the home.
  • Based on risk assessments, quarantine periods and testing requirements for residents may change for those who are identified as close contacts, have been on a high-risk visit out, or have had an emergency visit to hospital.
  • Residents who test positive need to quarantine for a maximum of 10 days, and this can be further reduced in line with the general population, with two consecutive negative LFDs from day 5 and 6.
  • Essential care givers will continue to be able to visit, even during periods of outbreak affecting the care home.

** Please note where homes are closed through local Health Protection Teams – it is not within the gift of the home to alter these closure dates – should there be ongoing positive cases the local Health Protection Teams may take further closure action – we will continue to keep you as up to date during these type of closures **

Vaccination remains to be one of our best defences to combat infection. The COVID-19 vaccine significantly reduces the transmission of infection, particularly after 2 or more doses. It is strongly recommended that residents and visitors receive 2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, plus their booster, especially in light of the emergence of the Omicron variant. The data shows that booster doses are required to provide higher levels of protection against symptomatic infection. If eligible, visitors should also get their flu jab when it is offered to them.

We continue to support with many innovative methods to keep people in touch with loved ones; you can arrange a video call and for people who can’t visit, residents continue to enjoy receiving handwritten notes and handmade gifts, which have helped to keep people in touch with each other and brought lots of joy to the people in the homes.

Please note that we 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.

Each of our care homes continue to communicate updates around COVID-19 with residents' nominated family members. If you would like to receive any further information, please contact the homes directly or our Quality team on cqt@excelcareholdings.com who will be happy to help you with any queries.

Kindly note that these new arrangements are subject to local IPC/PHE and local rates of COVID-19 including any surge testing. Any further relevant National guidance from the Government and Public Health England (PHE) when issued will override the guidance set out here.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your ongoing support.

4th February 2022 - COVID-19 Update

The Government has released some of the new guidance effective from Monday 31st January 2022, which replaces previous guidance as we intimated in our update over the weekend. The new measures described relate to visits with friends and family, as well as the rules on quarantine following a positive COVID-19 test.

Whilst there are no nationally set direct restrictions on visiting in care homes, the Government expect and encourage providers to facilitate visits wherever possible, and to do so in a risk-managed way to ensure the people living and working in our cares remain as safe as possible. This means care homes will need to demonstrate safe and effective management of visiting at all times.

We believe that visiting is an integral part of care home life. It is vitally important for maintaining the health, wellbeing and quality of life of residents. Visiting is also crucial for family and friends to maintain contact and life-long relationships with their loved ones, and to contribute to their support and care.

With the above in mind, we will continue to do all we can to facilitate visits in and out of our care homes, while keeping all parties well-informed, undertaking thorough risk assessments and learning and responding to feedback.

From Monday 31st January, the following guidelines will be in place for visits taking place inside our care homes: 

·      People living in care homes are welcome to have any number of named visitors indoors (including their Essential Care Giver if they have one) under specific conditions designed to help prevent COVID-19 transmission as much as possible.

•      With prior agreement of the Care Home Manager, visitors who are parents will also be able to visit with children and babies (children are expected to remain with their parents/supervisor at all times).

•      Visits should take place in a room most practical and comfortable for the resident (for example, residents with dementia may be more comfortable in their own room with familiar belongings)

•      There is no limit on the number of ‘named visitors’ that a single person can have. In theory there is no set limit on the number that can visit in one day as long as the care home is able to accommodate this. However, in practice, visits are for 2 named visitors from the same household at one time. Those 2 named visitors do not include the Essential Care Giver or any children under the age of 11.

•      Visitors should continue to make arrangements with care homes in advance of their visit. Please contact the care home by email or telephone to arrange your visit. The duration of visits will be determined by the home and their ability to ensure safe visiting practice.

•      Visitors must produce a negative test using a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test before every visit, must wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow all other infection control measures (which the care home will guide them on) during visits.

•      We recognise that physical contact can help everyone’s health and wellbeing, and as long as IPC measures are in place, such as visiting in a ventilated space, using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for the visit, and hand washing before and after holding hands – gloves are not needed for handholding with stringent adherence to hand washing protocol.

•      We will continue to support all care home residents to nominate an essential care giver, who will be able to visit the person, even if they are quarantining. Essential care givers need to follow additional testing arrangements.

Visitors should not enter the care home if they are feeling unwell, even if they have tested negative for COVID-19 and are fully vaccinated and have received their booster. Transmissible viruses such as flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and norovirus can be just as dangerous to care home residents as COVID-19. If visitors have any symptoms that suggest other transmissible viruses and infections, such as cough, high temperature, diarrhoea or vomiting, they should avoid the care home until at least 5 days after they feel better.

Visitors who are not legally required to self-isolate are advised against visiting the care home (for 14 days) if they have been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19, unless absolutely necessary, even if they have been fully vaccinated. Where visits do occur, visitors should have received a negative PCR test result prior to their visit, and a negative lateral flow test result earlier in the day of their visit.

From Monday 31st January, the following guidelines will be in place for visits taking place outside our care homes: 

•                 Residents who go on a normal visit out of the care home will no longer need to quarantine on return, regardless of their vaccination status.

•                 Based on a risk assessment, residents may need to quarantine when returning from a high-risk visit out, for example a large event, or an emergency hospital admission. The resident will need to LFD test on days 4, 5 and 6 and can end quarantine if their test result is negative and they are fully vaccinated.  If they are not vaccinated, they need to LFD test on days 6, 7 and 8 and if a negative result is obtained, they can then end quarantine.


Within Excelcare our mission throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been to keep people as safe as possible, and this remains our focus for everyone. We will continue to do all that we can to mitigate the risk of outbreaks within our care homes.

In the event of an outbreak, we will work with the Local Infection Prevention & Control (IPC) and Public Health England (PHE) leads. Subject to a risk assessment by the local Health Protection Team (HPT), the following outbreak control measures may be in place for up to 14 days following the last positive case:

•                 It is likely that visiting would be stopped or curtailed – dependent on the level of the outbreak, local case numbers and other risk factors determined by the local leads in conjunction with the home.

•                 Based on risk assessments, quarantine periods and testing requirements for residents may change for those who are identified as close contacts, have been on a high-risk visit out, or have had an emergency visit to hospital.

•                 Residents who test positive will now only need to quarantine for a maximum of 10 days instead of 14, and this can be further reduced in line with the general population, with two consecutive negative LFDs from day 5 and 6.

•                 Essential care givers will continue to be able to visit, even during periods of outbreak affecting the care home.

 

** Please note where homes are closed through local Health Protection Teams – it is not within the gift of the home to alter these closure dates – should there be ongoing positive cases the local Health Protection Teams may take further closure action – we will continue to keep you as up to date during these type of closures **

 

Vaccination is one of our best defences to combat infection. The COVID-19 vaccine significantly reduces the transmission of infection, particularly after 2 or more doses. It is strongly recommended that residents and visitors receive 2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, plus their booster, especially in light of the emergence of the Omicron variant. The data shows that booster doses are required to provide higher levels of protection against symptomatic infection. If eligible, visitors should also get their flu jab when it is offered to them.

We continue to support with many innovative methods to keep people in touch with loved ones; you can arrange a video call and for people who can’t visit, residents continue to enjoy receiving handwritten notes and handmade gifts, which have helped to keep people in touch with each other and brought lots of joy to the people in the homes.

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.

Each of our care homes continue to communicate updates around COVID-19 with residents' nominated family members. If you would like to receive any further information, please contact the homes directly or our Quality team on cqt@excelcareholdings.com who will be happy to help you with any queries.

Kindly note that these new arrangements are subject to local IPC/PHE and local rates of COVID-19 including any surge testing. Any further relevant National guidance from the Government and Public Health England (PHE) when issued will override the guidance set out here.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your ongoing support.

30th January 2022 - COVID-19 Update

Following the announcements made by the national press, we are looking forward to being able to welcome more than 3 named visitors into our care homes as restrictions ease once again. We are still awaiting the official guidance to be issued by the government which will confirm further details around care home visiting guidelines. We have been informed by DHSE that this will be with us next week. In the meantime we are taking all the steps we can  to ensure we are ready to implement these changes once the new guidelines are released.

Following this week’s announcement we are pleased to confirm that from Monday 31st January, we will be able to remove the restriction of 3 named visitors, and return to welcoming any number of named visitors booking visits to our homes.

Please also note that in the case of an outbreak, visits remain subject to decisions made by local Health Protection Team. For any homes that are currently closed to usual visiting due to an outbreak or are awaiting further testing rounds before being given the go ahead to re-open, the Home Manager will let you know about your particular home.

As per the current arrangements, the below guidelines will still apply when visiting care homes, some of these items may change when the new guidance is published:

  • Visits taking place in bedrooms will still be limited to a maximum of 2 visitors from one household at any one time. Only pre-school aged children will not be included in the number of visitors.
  • Visitors should make arrangements with care homes in advance of the visit. Please contact the care home by email or telephone to arrange your visit.
  • The duration of visits will be determined by the home and their ability to ensure safe visiting practice.
  • Visits should take place in a room most practical and comfortable for the resident (for example, residents with dementia may be more comfortable in their own room with familiar belongings). Visits taking place in bedrooms continue to require a COVID-19 Vaccination Pass. For unvaccinated visitors, alternative safe visiting spaces will be made available.
  • Visitors should complete a lateral flow (LFD) test and report their negative result to the home on the day of their visit.
  • Essential care givers need to follow additional testing arrangements, and essential care givers will continue to be able to visit inside the care home, even during periods of outbreak affecting the care home.
  • Subject to a risk assessment by the health protection team (HPT), outbreak controls may be in place for up to 28 days following the last positive case especially as we learn more about real-world vaccine effectiveness and disease severity of the Omicron variant.
  • Visiting will not be arranged in communal spaces (we await updated guidance which expect will change this)
  • Essential care givers continue to be welcomed to be with their loved one (so long as the person they are visiting with or they are negative of COVID-19)
  • We encourage visits to people who are on their end of life journey
  • We recognise that physical contact can help everyone’s health and wellbeing, and as long as IPC measures are in place, such as visiting in a ventilated space, using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for the visit, and hand washing before and after holding hands – gloves are not needed for handholding with stringent adherence to hand washing protocol.

These measures help us to keep the people living and working in our care homes as safe as possible, while also helping us to evidence to our regulator that we are ensuring safe management of visiting within each of our care homes.

If you have any questions, please contact the homes directly or our Quality team on cqt@excelcareholdings.com who will be happy to help you with any queries.

Thank you for your continued support, and we look forward to updating you once the official government guidelines are released.

15th December 2021 - COVID-19 Visiting Update

Summary of guidance changes published 14th December 2021:

  1. People living in care homes will be allowed THREE named visitors who can visit regularly plus an essential care giver. These visits need to be booked with the care home team in advance. Only pre-school aged children will not be included in the number of visitors.
  2. People who are fully vaccinated and have been identified as a close contact of a confirmed case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, do not need to quarantine if they receive a negative PCR test result and take daily rapid lateral flow tests until 10 days after their last exposure to the positive case.
  3. Visitors should not enter the care home if they are feeling unwell, even if they have tested negative for COVID-19 and are fully vaccinated and have received their booster. They should avoid the care home until at least 5 days after they feel better.
  4. People who live in the care home who have received at least 2 doses of the vaccine, or are exempt from vaccination, will not have to quarantine following most visits out of the care home, if they follow the correct testing regime. However, people who have not received at least 2 doses of the vaccine, and are not exempt from vaccination, should quarantine for 14 days following a visit out.
  5. Visitors are advised against visiting the care home (for 10 days) if they have been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19, unless absolutely necessary, even if they have been fully vaccinated. Where visits do occur, visitors should have received a negative PCR test result prior to their visit, and a negative lateral flow test result earlier in the day of their visit.


Further details of guidance changes are available below.

We understand the confusion and anxiety felt by families during these changes to guidance, which were initially shared with the press prior to care homes being informed. We wanted to enable families to plan and prepare for the upcoming guidance changes. Earlier this week we had been able to access the possible changes coming in line with Health Secretary Sajid Javid’s announcement on Monday 13th December, stating these changes are due to come into effect – please see the following link: https://youtu.be/CcGScyMMYqQ.

The government has now published the new guidance which includes the following important message:

People living in care homes are typically more vulnerable to severe illness as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19). While vaccination is proving very effective, we are still seeing some cases of severe illness, hospitalisation and death of care home residents who have been vaccinated. Caution is advised as we learn more about real-world vaccine effectiveness and disease severity of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The guidance then details additional measures being taken to keep people who live and work in care homes as safe as possible:

Additional measures are in place to facilitate visiting while keeping care home team members and residents safe. These include:

  • limiting the number of visitors who can visit regularly
  • infection prevention and control (IPC) measures
  • individual risk assessments
  • testing arrangements
  • isolation on return from some high-risk activities out of the home

 

The key guidelines to be aware of when visiting a care home are:

 

  • Every care home resident can nominate up to 3 visitors who will be able to enter the care home for regular visits
  • This number does not include essential care givers and preschool age children. Please note this indicates a change to previous guidance, whereby children up to the age of 18 were not included within visitor numbers.
  • Visitors should make arrangements with care homes in advance of the visit. Please contact the care home by email or telephone to arrange your visit.
  • The duration of visits will be determined by the home and their ability to ensure safe visiting practice.
  • Visits should take place in a room most practical and comfortable for the resident (for example, residents with dementia may be more comfortable in their own room with familiar belongings)
  • Visitors should complete a lateral flow (LFD) test and report their negative result to the home on the day of their visit.
  • Essential care givers need to follow additional testing arrangements, and essential care givers will continue to be able to visit inside the care home, even during periods of outbreak affecting the care home.
  • Subject to a risk assessment by the health protection team (HPT), outbreak controls may be in place for up to 28 days following the last positive case especially as we learn more about real-world vaccine effectiveness and disease severity of the Omicron variant.
  • We recognise that physical contact can help everyone’s health and wellbeing, and as long as IPC measures are in place, such as visiting in a ventilated space, using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for the visit, and hand washing before and after holding hands – gloves are not needed for handholding with stringent adherence to hand washing protocol.
  • Visitors should not enter the care home if they are feeling unwell, even if they have tested negative for COVID-19 and are fully vaccinated and have received their booster. Transmissible viruses such as flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and norovirus can be just as dangerous to care home residents as COVID-19. If visitors have any symptoms that suggest other transmissible viruses and infections, such as cough, high temperature, diarrhoea or vomiting, they should avoid the care home until at least 5 days after they feel better.
  • Visitors who are not legally required to self-isolate are advised against visiting the care home (for 10 days) if they have been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19, unless absolutely necessary, even if they have been fully vaccinated. Where visits do occur, visitors should have received a negative PCR test result prior to their visit, and a negative lateral flow test result earlier in the day of their visit.

Residents will be supported to undertake visits out of the care home as appropriate:

  • Residents who have received at least 2 doses of the vaccine, or are exempt from vaccination, will not have to quarantine following most visits out of the care home, if they follow the correct testing regime.
  • Residents who have not received at least 2 doses of the vaccine, and are not exempt from vaccination, should quarantine for 14 days following a visit out.

All residents should continue to quarantine following an emergency stay in hospital or if they test positive for COVID-19, or following a visit that has been deemed high-risk following an individual risk assessment by the care home.

Vaccination is one of our best defences to combat infection. The COVID-19 vaccine significantly reduces the transmission of infection, particularly after 2 or more doses. It is strongly recommended that residents and visitors receive 2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, plus their booster especially in light of the emergence of the Omicron variant. The data shows that booster doses are required to provide higher levels of protection against symptomatic infection. If eligible, visitors should also get their flu jab when it is offered to them.

We understand that this could be an upsetting situation both for you and your loved ones, we are also sorry to note that restrictions are being strengthened in care homes, however we will continue to do all we can to accommodate visits across our homes based on government advice and will make this Christmas as special as we can despite any restrictions in place.

For people unable to visit, we continue to support with many innovative methods to keep people in touch with loved ones; you can arrange a video call and for people who can’t visit, residents have enjoyed receiving handwritten notes and handmade gifts, which have helped to keep people in touch with each other and brought lots of joy to the people in the homes.

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.

Each of our care homes continue to communicate updates around COVID-19 with residents' nominated family members by telephone and email. If you would like to receive any further information, please contact the homes directly or our Quality team on cqt@excelcareholdings.com who will be happy to help you with any queries.

Kindly note that these new arrangements are subject to local IPC/PHE and local rates of COVID-19 including any surge testing. Any further relevant National guidance from the Government and Public Health England (PHE) when issued will override the guidance set out here.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your ongoing support.

2nd October 2021 - COVID-19 Visiting Update

We are excited to announce that our homes will be opening up to visits taking place in people’s rooms from Monday 4th October! We are sure you will be as thrilled as we are to hear this news as we take further steps towards normality, by making it easier for you to see your loved ones.

The Home Manager will speak with you about the home’s plan – including providing details of risk assessments being put in place for each person.

From October 4th two people from the same bubble are welcome to visit in a loved ones room at any time, without having to book, between 10am – 5pm each day, so long as you have provided your COVID-19 Vaccine Passport as evidence and have also received a negative Lateral Flow Test (LFD) prior to your visit. For people who prefer not to stay in their rooms, other arrangements will be made with you based on the individual in question.

If you are planning to visit after 5pm, you will need to give the care home some notice by telephone or email, so that we can ensure a team member is available to check your LFD test results.

Children are also welcome to visit, and each visit will be based on a risk assessment being undertaken, taking account of local transmission rates and exposure risks of COVID-19 and how the child responds to visiting in a room.

In the event of an outbreak, We will work with the Local IPC and PHE leads – it is likely that visiting would be stopped or curtailed – dependent on the level of the outbreak, local case numbers and other risk factors determined by the local leads in conjunction with the home. Typically these restrictions should continue until the outbreak is confirmed as over, which will be at least 14 days.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your ongoing support, and we look forward to welcoming you once again.


At Excelcare our priority continues to be the safety and wellbeing of the people living and working in our care homes as well as their family and friends.

We continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 guidance released by the Government, Public Health England and CQC, (the independent regulator of health and social care). 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.

Robust and comprehensive contingency plans were put in place in response to the Coronavirus outbreak in the UK. We 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. These contingency and risk management plans are kept under regular review and updated as advised by the Government and Public Health England.

We continue to support 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 to move into our care homes, we have clear protocols in place. This ensures that they are tested for COVID-19; and where the result is positive, they quarantine for 10 days for their safety and the safety of others.

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 everyone is 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 throughout this pandemic we have been monitoring our stock levels continuously, ensuring PPE has been available for all our team members.

Any team members or visiting professionals who are working with residents wear face masks, and wear gloves and aprons when providing close-contact support, for example, with personal care. Additional levels of PPE can include face visors, goggles, gowns, and overshoes and are available in all our care homes to use in conjunction with the comprehensive risk assessments that are in place.

Our teams have all received the necessary training such as on the use of PPE, and infection prevention and control. We continue to provide refresher training on an ongoing basis to ensure our team are aware of the importance of the role they play in protecting against infectious diseases.

Throughout our services, there has been a focus on social distancing; and where needed, some care homes had re-designed their lounge & dining spaces and created more space in communal areas. Our offices were also realigned to enable everyone to socially distance and hand sanitising stations were set up throughout all Excelcare locations for everyone’s use. We have learned that ventilation is important in the fight against COVID-19 and fresh air continues to flow throughout our homes and in our offices.

Care and nursing team members closely monitor 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 enabling them to access support and advice 24 hours a day. We make full use of technology to enable us to seek advice without increasing the number of professional visitors who are travelling to our care homes, and virtual GP rounds are now common practice.

Home-Icon.jpg  Visiting our care homes

This guidance reflects changes published by the Government on 24th March 2022.

The Government has released new guidance effective from Tuesday 22nd March 2022, which replaces previous guidance. The new measures described relate to visits with friends and family, as well as the rules on quarantine where there is an outbreak or following a positive test result.

The Government expect and encourage providers to facilitate visits wherever possible, and to do so in a risk-managed way to ensure the people living and working in our care remain as safe as possible. This means our care homes are still required to evidence safe and effective management of visiting at all times.

At Excelcare, we believe that visiting is an integral part of care home life. It is vitally important for maintaining the health, wellbeing and quality of life of residents. Visiting is also crucial for family and friends to maintain contact and life-long relationships with their loved ones, and to contribute to their support and care.

With the above in mind, we will continue to do all we can to facilitate visits in and out of our care homes, while keeping all parties well-informed, undertaking thorough risk assessments and learning and responding to feedback. We continue to do all we can to keep residents, visitors and team members as safe as possible.

The following guidelines are in place for visits taking place inside our care homes: 

  • People living in care homes are welcome to have any number of named visitors indoors (including their Essential Care Giver if they have one) under specific conditions designed to help prevent COVID-19 transmission as much as possible.

  • The duration of visits is no longer limited, so long as safe visiting practices can be maintained.

  • With prior agreement of the Care Home Manager, visitors who are parents will also be able to visit with children and babies (children are expected to remain with their parents/supervisor at all times).
  • Visits should take place in a room most practical and comfortable for the resident (for example, residents with dementia may be more comfortable in their own room with familiar belongings)
  • There is no limit on the number of ‘named visitors’ that a single person can have. In theory there is no set limit on the number that can visit in one day as long as the care home is able to accommodate this. However, in practice, visits are for 2 named visitors from the same household at one time. Those 2 named visitors do not include the Essential Care Giver or any children under the age of 11.
  • Visitors should continue to make arrangements with care homes in advance of their visit. Please contact the care home by email or telephone to arrange your visit. The duration of visits will be determined by the home and their ability to ensure safe visiting practice.
  • Visitors must produce a negative test using a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test before every visit, must wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow all other infection control measures (which the care home will guide them on) during visits.
  • We recognise that physical contact can help everyone’s health and wellbeing. In relation to PPE, visitors do need to continue to wear face masks, but gloves are no longer required. Proper handwashing techniques should continue to be observed.
  • Subject to a risk assessment by the local Health Protection Team (HPT), outbreak restrictions may be lifted if 10 days have passed since the onset of symptoms in the most recent case, a round of PCR recovery testing of everyone living and working in the care home is undertaken, and there are no PCR positive results. We will continue to work closely with the teams to enable visits in areas of the home that are free from outbreaks.

  • Visitors are advised against visiting the care home (for 10 days) if they have been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19, unless absolutely necessary, even if they have been fully vaccinated. Where visits do occur, visitors should have received a negative lateral flow test result earlier in the day of their visit.

  • We will continue to support all care home residents to nominate an essential care giver, who will be able to visit the person, even if they are quarantining. Essential care givers need to follow additional testing arrangements.

Visitors should not enter the care home if they are feeling unwell, even if they have tested negative for COVID-19 and are fully vaccinated and have received their booster. Transmissible viruses such as flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and norovirus can be just as dangerous to care home residents as COVID-19. If visitors have any symptoms that suggest other transmissible viruses and infections, such as cough, high temperature, diarrhoea or vomiting, they should avoid the care home until at least 5 days after they feel better.

Visitors who are not legally required to self-isolate are advised against visiting the care home (for 10 days) if they have been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19, unless absolutely necessary, even if they have been fully vaccinated. Where visits do occur, visitors should have received a negative PCR test result prior to their visit, and a negative lateral flow test result earlier in the day of their visit.

The following guidelines are in place for visits taking place outside our care homes: 

  • Residents who go on a normal visit out of the care home will no longer need to quarantine on return, regardless of their vaccination status.
  • Based on a risk assessment, residents may need to quarantine when returning from a high-risk visit out, for example a large event, or an emergency hospital admission. The resident will need to LFD test on days 4, 5 and 6 and can end quarantine if their test result is negative and they are fully vaccinated.  If they are not vaccinated, they need to LFD test on days 6, 7 and 8 and if a negative result is obtained, they can then end quarantine.

Within Excelcare our mission throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been to keep people as safe as possible, and this remains our focus for your everyone. We will continue to do all that we can to mitigate the risk of outbreaks within our care homes.

If an outbreak is suspected, a risk assessment will be carried out with the local Health Protection Team (or equivalent) to see if the clinical situation can be considered an outbreak and if outbreak management measures are needed. If  an outbreak is declared as a result of the risk assessment then measures will be taken that will include testing and may also include: 

  • temporarily stopping or reducing communal activities 
  • closure of the home to further move-ins 
  • changes to visiting: subject to individual risk assessments. Note that one visitor per resident should always be able to visit inside the care home

Outbreak restrictions will be in place for different lengths of time, depending on the characteristics of the home, the outbreak and the results of outbreak testing.

** Please note where homes are closed through local Health Protection Teams – it is not within the gift of the home to alter these closure dates – should there be ongoing positive cases the local Health Protection Teams may take further closure action – we will continue to keep you as up to date during these type of closures **

Vaccination is one of our best defences to combat infection. The COVID-19 vaccine significantly reduces the transmission of infection, particularly after 2 or more doses. It is strongly recommended that residents and visitors receive 2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, plus their booster, especially in light of the emergence of the Omicron variant. The data shows that booster doses are required to provide higher levels of protection against symptomatic infection. If eligible, visitors should also get their flu jab when it is offered to them.

We continue to support with many innovative methods to keep people in touch with loved ones; you can arrange a video call and for people who can’t visit, residents continue to enjoy receiving handwritten notes and handmade gifts, which have helped to keep people in touch with each other and brought lots of joy to the people in the homes.

For people unable to visit, we continue to support with many innovative methods to keep people in touch with loved ones; you can arrange a video call and for people who can’t visit, residents have enjoyed receiving handwritten notes and handmade gifts, which have helped to keep people in touch with each other and brought lots of joy to the people in the homes.

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

Limetree Care Home

Castlemead Court Care Home

Brook House Care Home

Ashlyn Care Home

Park Avenue Care Home

Dovecote Manor Care Home

Buchan House Care Home

Goldenley Care Home

Peartree Care Home

Neath House Care Home

Etheldred House Care Home

Lime Court Care Home

Queens Oak Care Home

Water Hall Care Home

Fitzwilliam House Care Home

Longfield Care Home

Westport Care Home

The Willows Care Home

Glennfield Care Home

Okeley Care Home

Windmill Care Home

 

Hunters Down Care Home

Sherrell House 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

 

 


We 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.

Each of our care homes continue to communicate updates around COVID-19 with residents' nominated family members by telephone and email. If you would like to receive any further information, please contact the homes directly or our Quality team on cqt@excelcareholdings.com who will be happy to help you with any queries.

Kindly note that these new arrangements are subject to local IPC/PHE and local rates of covid including any surge testing. Any further relevant National guidance from the Government and Public Health England (PHE) when issued will override the guidance set out here.

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 our care home and will always ensure that you are kept well informed. Should our care home be impacted by COVID-19, you will be contacted and informed as soon 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

In early 2021 the COVID-19 vaccine was rolled out across the UK.  We are incredibly thankful for the vaccination programme as it has allowed people to feel safer, and limitations of visiting to ease, allowing families see more of each other.

While having the vaccine has helped many people to feel safer, we remain patient and vigilant in ensuring that the safety of the people living and working in our care home is our top priority as we continue to follow government guidance on visiting during the pandemic. We understand that continuing to follow strict infection prevention and control guidelines is important.

Strict approval processes mean that all approved vaccines have met strict safety standards and these remain 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 Home Manager 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.

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

Guidance for residents, families, and team members

Many adults, including those living and working in care homes, have received both doses of the vaccine and a booster jab. However, as it is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19 even when fully vaccinated, it is recommended that everyone continues to follow infection prevention and control measures.

Even though the legal restrictions have now been lifted, the onus is still on care homes to make sure that everyone is kept safe. It is with this in mind that we continue to test, to wear PPE and to carry out a range of other infection control measures in care homes.

COVID-19 will continue to be part of our lives for the foreseeable future, and it is important to understand where and when the risk of transmission and infection is higher. There are no legal restrictions in place, but everyone is advised to:

  • have the vaccines you are offered
  • let in fresh air when indoors
  • consider wearing a face covering in public spaces
  • stay at home and avoid contact with others if you test positive
  • try to stay at home if you are feeling unwell
  • wash your hands regularly, and cover coughs and sneezes.

In addition to the measures outlined above, it continues to be sensible to:

  • always carry tissues and use them to catch a cough or sneeze, then bin the tissue, wash hands, or use a sanitiser gel
  • wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds each time with soap and water or hand sanitiser, especially when you:
    • get home or into work
    • blow your nose, sneeze, or cough
    • eat or handle food.
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

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

An important part of living in our care homes is being able to socialise and enjoy physical, mental, spiritual and cultural activity that is vital for overall health and wellbeing.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, internal activities organised by our Lifestyle Coordinators have continued to take place, however, visitors from local community groups and entertainers have been limited. As lockdown is slowly lifting and life begins to return to normal, we are taking small steps towards reintroducing entertainment into our homes. All activities will be based on careful risk assessments, all of which will adhere to social distancing guidelines, hosting outdoor entertainment, going for local walks and welcoming groups from the community once more.

Our care homes currently have a revised weekly activity plan in place. These include 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 one to one support to people who have remained in their rooms.

Tech-Icon.jpg  Connecting through technology

Each of our 32 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.

Our care home has Wi-Fi available and also utilises tablets and dedicated mobile phones daily, making it easier for friends and relatives of the people who live here 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 each person is kept occupied and entertained during this difficult time.

We also have an interactive touch-screen activity table which helps to enhance our activities and boost wellbeing. Specially designed for care homes, our activity table is portable allowing it to be easily moved from room to room, and provides a mixture of fun, learning, music, films, nostalgia, sensory activities and games. Our activity table provides daily entertainment and stimulation to the people who live here.

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.

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